What is poor water pressure and how do we fix this problem?
Water pressure can present itself in a number of way, one being poor pressure at the tap, the other being water pressure dropping when other taps are turned on.
If you have experienced these events continue reading as we touch on some ways in which we can use to pin point the pressure problem and offer solutions towards remedying these concerns.
You will need a gauge and a couple of shifter so you can investigate.
A gauge from Bunnings would be adequate. https://www.bunnings.com.au/holman-pressure-gauge_p3120293
Let’s begin, firstly you need to;
Check to see how much water pressure the Local council guarantees you.
Every council has a pressure that they try and maintain for their customers. Click on the link below to view the Gold Coast council information to get a sense of the pressures we are talking about. Taking this into account, how does your pressure compare to the pressure at your home? Over my years as a plumber, I have seen pressures range from 300kpa right up to 1100 kpa.
Check the water pressure at the water meter and compare with your local council promise.
If you check the water pressure and it is above 500 kpa, your home will need to have a pressure limiting device installed to limit the pressure to 500 kpa, to be compliant and to protect your water system, including your appliances. If you don’t install a plv and have a big water leak, your insurance company may not pay up because of the non plumbing compliance. Excessive pressure can also increase you chances of water hammer and noisey water pipes.
If the water meter is too hard to access, it is ok to take a pressure reading from the nearest tap.
Test water pressure drop rate around the house.
What we are looking for here is noticeable differences in pressure when we turn more than one outlet in the house.
This time put the gauge on the furthest tap outlet from the meter and make note of the pressure as you turn different outlets on in the house.
After you have done 3 or more outlet tests, try running 2-3 outlets at a time and note the pressure changes.
Ideally you are wanting to see water pressure with very little pressure fluctuations at all. If you are however seeing significant signs of pressure lose, keep taking readings for the whole house to see if any area affects the pressure more than others and then call a plumber to help fix the problem.,
Water pipe material
We are wanting to check how new the pipe work to your home is.
If you have galvanised pipe in your home or old copper, there is a very good chance that these are contributing to your poor pressure.
Galvanised pipe is notorious for corroding with the internal pipe size getting smaller and smaller through the years. The old copper was some much smaller back in the day than now and has since increased in size to meet todays ever changing demands.
Water pipe size
- Whether you have a mansion or a 1 bedtimes unit, a 20mm cold water line and 15mm hot line are pretty much the standard 2 sizes for plumbing in Queensland.
- If however you have a fairly big home with 2-3 or more showers that are sometimes used at the same time and you are experiencing poor pressure when these showers are on, there is a good chance that these standard pipe sizes have been used to plumb your home.
- See below on how to improve this.
- If there is a leak then the pipes are not holding pressure therefore can not produce pressure.
- To find out if you have a leak,
- > turn all the taps off in and outside your home
- > put your gauge on to the tap near the water meter
- > turn the tap on until the gauge is fully pressurised.,
- > turn off the water meter
- > View the water pressure for 5 mins. If you have no pressure drop, then your water line is water tight and good to use. If the pressure drops, you have a leak that needs fixing.
Leaking council main
- If your water pressure is normally good but then one day it goes poor, either you have a leak or the water provider does, or is doing working on the line.
- Call you provider and inform them of the new pressure problems. Only call if you are sure the problem is before your service begins.
New energy efficient fixtures installed on the property
- A lot of the new fixtures today have water restrictors installed as part of water efficiently standards. So if you install a new fixture and notice a pressure change, it does not automatically mean that there is something wrong, but more likely a design change is affecting the pressure.
Ways to improve your water pressure
- Increase pipe Size
- If you are planning on building a new house, share your water pressure concerns with your plumber.
- There are a few things your plumber could do to improve your water pressure.
- > run a bigger than normal pipe size from the water meter to the house and then continue this pipe size up until the first bathroom, only reducing after the tee piece is connected.
- > increase your hot water unit pipe size. A normal house has 15mm pipe which is susceptible to pressure drop. Ask if you can install 20mm pipe, this will nearly double the volume of hot water available to you.
- Pipe Material
- If you have galvanised pipe lines replace with either copper or a pex piping system.
- Both system have their benefits, read my blog article on pex pipe versus copper, it may help you decide which one best suits your situation.
- Water Filters
- Water filters are a constant source of poor water pressure.
- Water filters from the word go affect the water pressure and only get worse as the filters do their job. If not properly maintained water filters can pretty much block up and cause serious pressure problems.
- Firstly make sure your filter is suitable for your situation and then ensure it is checked and changed periodically.
- If for some reason your water supply quality is pretty poor and you are having to change out filters regularly to prevent poor pressure, then you need to consider installing a pre filter filter. This basically is a low maintenance filter used to capture most of the particulars before the primary filter thus extending the life of your primary filter.
- Visit the link below to get a sense of what this looks like. This option is cheap to purchase and install and is not to overly ambitious for a diy project.
- A lot of taps contain strainers, aerators and water restrictors all of which affect water pressure and flow rates.
- The biggest advise here is to start a periodic cleaning schedule of these filters.
- The aerator/ strainer is at the outlet end of your tap spout. You will need a shifter or spanned to loosen this off. Once loose, remove and wash out any grit, dirt inside and return to the tap. You should notice an instant improvement in pressure if grit/ dirt was present.
- I have know aerators to be fully blocked and allowing no water through so it pays to be vigilant. If you are unsure about doing this call a plumber to do it for you.
If you have any questions please visit Yatesplumbingandgas.com.au and send a message or call Dan on 0437827502.