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12 Most Common Causes of Low Water Pressure in Home

a close up of a sink

Low water pressure is a common home plumbing issue that can affect faucets and sinks as well as dishwashers, showerheads, toilets, and any other plumbing fixture. Several factors can contribute to problems with water pressure in homes. Here is a look at some of these common causes of low water pressure in homes and possible solutions.

So, What Should Be the Water Pressure in the House in Virginia?

The typical water pressure in houses typically ranges between 40 and 100 pounds per square inch (psi). This average water pressure in a house ensures adequate water flow for everyday tasks like showering, washing dishes, and watering plants. If the water pressure is too low, it can result in sluggish flow from fixtures or other plumbing issues, making tasks take longer to complete.

Debris Buildup in Pipes

What causes low water pressure include pipe blockages. Debris buildup, including dirt, sand, hardened oil and grease, food remnants, or foreign objects, could obstruct pipes. If these contaminants accumulate due to fractures in the water main, they can lead to blockages. Mineral buildup clogs pipes over time and causes low water pressure in the house, as there’s less space for water to travel through.


Corrosion occurs when oxidation builds up inside pipe walls, narrowing the pathway for water flow. This issue, similar to mineral buildup, often affects older galvanized steel pipes. Corroded pipe eventually develops holes until it fails completely.

Water Meter Valve

A closed or partially open valve can cause low water pressure in the house. If you’ve recently had plumbing work done and noticed a drop in water pressure, make sure to inspect if the water meter valve is completely open. One of the two main shutoff valves connected to your home water supply is usually owned by your local water supplier.

Water Shutoff Valve

The water shutoff valve is what controls the flow of water into your home. To achieve full water pressure, ensure the valve is fully open. Partially opened valves can lead to low water pressure issues. Reopening the main water shutoff can resolve the problem.

How you proceed to open it depends on the type of valve; if it is a lever-type valve, move the handle until it is in line with the water pipe. To open a wheel-type valve, turn the wheel counterclockwise until it is tight. Then, turn it a quarter turn clockwise, which prevents the valve from getting stuck or springing a leak.

Broken Pressure Regulator

The pressure regulator is designed to maintain constant water pressure in plumbing systems that have one installed. It is usually set by the manufacturer to around 45-60 psi, so adjustments to the average water pressure in a house aren’t usually necessary. If you’re experiencing low water pressure, you can attempt to adjust the regulator. However, if the regulator is defective, it will likely need repair or replacement, a task best handled by a licensed plumber.

Plumbing Leaks

Plumbing leaks can lead to various issues in your home. Low water pressure is one of them because some of the water in your plumbing system is not getting to where it should. Water might get redirected or flow out of the pipe. If you suspect or spot a leak, contact us for professional plumbing services in Northern Virginia right away. Cardinal Plumbing provides emergency services and can quickly address the problem to avoid further damage.

Water Supplier Issues

If your water provider is experiencing water pressure issues, it could lead to low water pressure. Unfortunately, problems with the supplier’s water system are beyond your control and can’t be resolved at home. If you notice that your neighbors are also experiencing low water pressure, it’s a good idea to reach out to your water supply company to inquire about any ongoing issues and when they anticipate resolving them.

Water Softener Issues

If your home has a water softener system, issues with this equipment can lead to why water pressure in a house is low. Water softeners remove minerals such as calcium and magnesium from the water, which can help prevent scale buildup in pipes and fixtures. However, if this is not functioning correctly, it may not effectively treat the water, leading to mineral buildup and reduced water pressure. Regular maintenance or water softener installation can help prevent this issue.

Faulty Pressure Tank

If your home relies on a well system with a pressure tank, a faulty pressure tank can cause low water pressure. The pressure tank maintains consistent water pressure by storing water under pressure. A malfunctioning tank may fail to maintain adequate pressure, resulting in reduced water flow. Contact us so that we can inspect the pressure tank and replace it if necessary to restore proper water pressure.

Clogged Aerators

A common cause of why water pressure in houses is low at individual fixtures, such as faucets and showerheads, is clogged aerators. Aerators are small attachments located at the tips of faucets that regulate the flow of water and mix it with air to reduce splashing. Mineral deposits and debris can build up in the aerator over time, blocking the flow of water. Cleaning or replacing the aerator can often restore normal home water pressure.

Low Water Pressure after Plumbing Repair

In some cases, low water pressure may be caused by pipes that are too small in diameter to accommodate the required flow rate, especially after plumbing repair. This can occur during initial construction or renovations if pipes are not sized correctly for the water demand of the property. One solution to low water pressure after plumbing repair is upgrading to larger diameter pipes can improve water flow, alleviate pressure issues, and ensure proper water pressure.

Undersized Branch Lines

Branch lines being too small can significantly impact water pressure in a home. These smaller pipes, which distribute water to various fixtures throughout the house, may struggle to accommodate the required flow rate, especially during periods of high demand. As a result, water pressure at individual fixtures can be compromised. Upgrading these branch lines to larger diameters can alleviate the problem and restore adequate water pressure throughout the home.

How To Deal with These Reasons for Low Water Pressure at Home

Dealing with low water pressure at home involves identifying the underlying causes and taking appropriate actions. Here’s how to address common reasons for low water pressure:

Low Water Pressure

  • Identify the Cause: Determine what causes low water pressure and if it is due to clogged aerators, pipe corrosion, water softener problems, or other factors.
  • Clean or Replace Aerators: If the water pressure is low at individual fixtures like faucets and showerheads, clean or replace the aerators to remove mineral deposits and debris that may be obstructing the flow.
  • Inspect Pipes for Corrosion: Check plumbing pipes, especially older metal ones, for signs of corrosion. If corrosion is present, consider replacing the affected pipes to restore proper water flow.
  • Service Water Softener: If you have a water softener system, ensure it’s functioning correctly. Regular maintenance and servicing can prevent mineral buildup and deal with water pressure issues.
  • Address Water Heater Issues: Flush the water heater regularly to remove sediment buildup, which can restrict water flow and lead to low pressure. Consider installing a water softener or filtration system to reduce sediment entering the water heater.
  • Upgrade to Larger Pipes: If low water pressure persists due to improperly sized pipes, consider upgrading to larger diameter pipes to accommodate the required flow rate. Professional plumbing services can help assess your plumbing system and recommend appropriate pipe sizes.
  • Consult Professionals: If you’re unsure about the cause of water pressure issues or how to address them, seek the expertise of professional plumbers. A plumber can pinpoint the cause of your low water pressure and fix it to get your water flowing normally again.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my water pressure low at my house?

Low water pressure all of a sudden can be caused by various factors, such as a sudden increase in demand from other users in your area, a pipe burst or leak in the water main, a malfunctioning pressure regulator, or sediment buildup in pipes. Identifying the specific cause may require inspection by a professional plumber.

How to increase the water pressure in your home right away?

Several methods can increase water pressure in your home. First, check for leaks in pipes or fixtures and repair them promptly. Then, ensure that the shutoff valve near your water meter is fully open. Installing a water pressure booster pump or adjusting the pressure regulator may also help increase water pressure. However, it’s essential to consult a licensed plumber for proper assessment and implementation.

Can I change the typical water pressure in the house on my own?

Typically, the water pressure in a house is regulated by the municipal water supply and is not easily adjustable by homeowners. Attempting to adjust the water pressure without proper knowledge and equipment can damage plumbing fixtures or even cause water leaks. If you believe your water pressure needs adjustment, it’s best to consult a professional plumber who can assess the situation and make the necessary adjustments safely.

We’ll Fix Common Causes of Low Water Pressure in your Home

Common Causes of Low Water Pressure

Get in touch immediately if there are water pressure issues in your home. We will send a licensed plumber out right away. Cardinal Plumbing Heating & Air is open and serving customers during the coronavirus pandemic, providing no contact service, using sanitizer, and practicing social distancing. We have maintenance plans and special offers for our plumbing services. Experienced plumbers are available to address your concerns and answer all your questions.

To request same-day service, book online or call 703-705-9773 to reach our Alexandria, Sterling, Herndon, Ashburn, or Gainesville offices.

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