Does your toilet take forever to stop running, your showerhead barely put out any water, or your washing machine take hours to fill up? Low water pressure can cause a lot of frustration on a daily basis. If you are troubled by low water pressure in your home, there are some things you can do on your own to remedy the problem and save a call to the plumber.
Low water pressure can be caused by a number of issues in the home’s plumbing. Start by checking if the low water pressure is affecting the whole house or if it is isolated to one fixture. If it is isolated, you can focus on the affected fixture. We'll walk you through how to handle issues with the most common household fixtures.
Keep in mind that the tools listed here might not be required to check your water pressure or handle the steps suggested, but it's great to have them on hand, just in case.
Watch Now: How to Increase Your Low Shower Pressure
Equipment / Tools
- Vinegar (for cleaning)
- Replacement showerhead (if necessary)
- Replacement aerators (if necessary)
- Replacement fill valve (if necessary)
Replacing or Cleaning the Showerhead
If a showerhead has low pressure but there is plenty of water coming out of the tub spout, the showerhead might be clogged with hard water deposits. This can be resolved by replacing or cleaning the showerhead.
Remove the Showerhead
Unscrew the showerhead, using pliers if necessary.
Test the Water Pressure
Turn on the water and watch the pressure. If you have good pressure coming out of the pipe, the problem is the showerhead itself.
Clean the Showerhead
Clean the showerhead well with a vinegar and water solution. Work on cleaning all screens and filters in the showerhead.
Test It Again
Reattach the showerhead and turn on the water. If the water pressure is restored, you're done. If not, it's time to replace the showerhead.
Checking the Bathroom or Kitchen Faucet
There could be numerous reasons a faucet has a problem with low water pressure. We've included instructions here that work for either kitchen or bathroom faucets.
Check the Aerator
Remove the aerator from the sink faucet, using pliers if necessary.
Test the Water Pressure
Turn on the water. If the water coming out of the pipe has strong pressure, the issue is the aerator.
Clean or Replace the Aerator
Clean the aerator thoroughly with a vinegar and water solution. Reattach it to the sink faucet and turn on the water. If the pressure isn't good, it's time to replace the aerator.
Check the Faucet Itself
If cleaning or changing the aerator doesn't fix the problem, the issue is deeper in the faucet or lines leading to it. To narrow down the problem, shut off the water at the angle stops. Disconnect the flex lines from the faucet and point them into a bucket.
Test and Troubleshoot
Turn on the water to test the pressure coming into the faucet. If the pressure is great, the problem is with the faucet itself. You might need to replace it.
If the pressure is low, the problem is in the lines leading to the faucet. In that case, it might be time to call a professional plumber to figure out the problem.
Replacing a Toilet Valve
Toilets that are slow to fill are a common issue. Simply replacing the fill valve on the toilet will often take care of the problem.
Shut off the Water
To check if the problem is at the fill valve, shut off the water to the toilet by turning off the angle stop.
Test the Lines
Disconnect the upper part of the flex line at the toilet, and point it into a bucket. Turn the water back on to check the water pressure going into the fill valve. If the water pressure is good, the problem is with the fill valve.
Clean or Replace the Fill Valve
Though you can clean a fill valve by opening it up and pouring warm water and vinegar through it, replacing the fill valve is the best option.
Troubleshooting the Washing Machine
If the washing machine is filling slowly, start your troubleshooting by cleaning the hard water deposits off the screens in the washing machine and the water supply hoses.
Shut Off the Water and Disconnect the Hoses
Turn off the water by turning both shutoff valves on the washer. Carefully disconnect the hoses, using pliers if necessary. Have a bucket handy in case of drips.
Clean the Filters
There should be screens just inside the hoses, as well as screens in the inlets where the hoses go into the machine. Clean these screens carefully with a mixture of vinegar and water.
Flush the Hoses
Before putting the hoses back on the washing machine, point them into a bucket and turn on the flow of water. Flush the hoses to make sure you're getting good pressure from this point.
Clean Other Screens
If you're not getting good water pressure, turn the water off again and disconnect the hoses at the other end, where they connect to the water pipes. There might be another screen to clean. If there is, clean it well.
Test the Water Pressure
Reattach all hoses and tighten with pliers. Turn the water back on. If the water pressure is still low, the problem is deeper in the pipes. It's time to call a professional to help you fix the issue.