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Low Water Pressure

DIY Questions and Answer October 10, 2013 Sonia

Q: I seem to have low water pressure in an upstairs faucet. How can I fix this?

A: If the water performance is a problem only at one faucet, then it is more likely a “low flow” problem than a “low pressure” problem. Pressure is the amount of force that pushes the water through your pipes and is measured in pounds per square inch (psi).  Flow is the amount of water that passes through an outlet such as a faucet and is measured in gallons per minute (gpm). You can check the home’s water pressure by screwing a pressure gauge onto the hose bib located closest to your water main. Turn on the bib, and if it reads between 55-75 psi, you don’t have a pressure problem. You should also check to see if you have a pressure regulator (PRV). If you have a PRV and the pressure is too low, you can try to adjust the PRV. If the pressure is okay, then you likely have some sort of blockage restricting the water flow to the faucet. The problem could be in the pipe, but is usually as simple as a clogged faucet aerator. Calcium and/or rust from the water heater or galvanized pipe can build up in the aerators and reduce flow to the fixture. In this case, remove the aerator, clean it and reinstall.