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Question DetailsAsked on 5/7/2011

Loss of water pressure

The water pressure in my home seems to be slowly decreasing over the past year. My home is 9 years old and we are on city water. What can cause this loss in pressure?

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1 Answer


Could be that increased area demand or aging utility equipment has resulted in lower general water pressure - though normally during very "OFF" hours like late at night/very early morning your pressure would be back to normal if the pressure drop is due to increased area demand.

Many utilities with older piping are also reducing line pressures to reduce leakage from old pipes - you could call or eMail your utility and see if that is the case. Their engineering department should also be able to tell you what the line pressure is (roughly) in your locale - compare that with a reading from a $10 water pressure gage you can thread onto a hose bib (hose faucet) to determine your house pressure.

Could also be your area is pulling from a different part of the water system, so your static line pressure has been decreased.

If you have outdoor faucets that come off "before" a pressure regulator (on the street side of the regulator), check there and also on a "house-side" faucet - connecting the gage to a hose-threaded faucet like laundry tub, sometimes under sinks, or water heater drain valve to see if your indoor pressure is way below outdoors. (In many houses all your hose bibs will come off the "indoor" pressure side, so you will not be able to measure outdoor line pressure in that case.)

If indoor pressure is lower than "outdoor", you can change the pressure with the regulator (in most cases) if not so old it is frozen up - see instructions for your brand, but ALMOST always turning the knob/level counterclockwise increases the pressure. [Note - if you turn it to DECREASE the pressure, the pressure in the pipes will not actually change until you run some water to relieve the pressure already in the pipes]. Increases should occcur immediately upon adjustment - you will hear a bit of water run through the regulator as you do so. Generally, 35-60 psi is considered suitable pressure (most regulators are factory-set at 50 or 60 psi). Over about 60 spi and certainly over 70-80 psi is getting into the danger zone where you can start getting leaking faucets and pipe joints and possibly blowouts of weakened pipes or appliances - lot less likely on your age house, but generally there is no good reason to run over about 60 psi - and if you do, some of your appliances may be over-pressured because most are only arated to 60 psi.

Lots of manufacturer (like Watts) websites have how-to-adjust instructions (should be a metal tag on yours with make and model number), also Youtube videos.

Typical pressure regulator looks like below, and is almost always located just inside the house near where the water pipe enters the house -

Note - if you have a boiler, it may have a separate regulator for it - you should check the pressure at the drain valve also (after shutting off and letting it cool down to below about 130-140 degrees) to be sure that appliance is not being overpressured too - its operating pressure is typically MUCH lower - 10-30 psi commonly. Many have a built-in gage - tap it to be sure it is not stuck, and drain a gallon or few of the cooled-off water out of the boiler (you should do this every year anyway to remove sediment) to be sure the pressure gage on the appliance reflects a significant change in pressure (typically half or so) as you are draining it.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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