Taking a shower with low water pressure can be frustrating. Not only is it hard to get the shampoo out of your hair, but it can also be a sign that you have a more serious plumbing issue — like a blockage or water leak. While low water pressure is common in older homes and Plumbers have also encountered it while in newer homes.
Low Water Pressure in Old Minneapolis – St. Paul Homes
Older Minneapolis and St. Paul homes (built in the 1930s and before) often suffer from reduced flow rates that are wrongly perceived as poor pressure. Many homes built before 1900 have half-inch taps and half-inch lead service lines. Later on, 5/8-inch taps and 5/8- or ¾-inch galvanized steel pipes became popular. ¾-inch pipes and ¾-inch copper service lines weren’t common until the 1950s and 1960s.
The service line is owned and maintained by the property owner. It is the responsibility of the property owner to maintain and keep it in good working order. The accumulation of minerals on the interior of lead and galvanized service line pipes over time cause the diameter to be reduced and increases corrosion. This causes a reduction in flow. The service line pipe is older, the more mineral deposits it will have, and the less water it will deliver.
There are a few different reasons that you may have low water pressure at home, but here are a few of the most common and what you can do to fix the problem.
Where do you have low pressure?
First, you need to figure out if every plumbing fixture in your home has low water pressure or if the situation is isolated. Run all of the faucets and showers in your home to determine if it is one problem or multiple problems. Take note of what fixtures are affected.
If it’s a single fixture…
If the problem is only at a single faucet or showerhead, you will first want to check to see if the fixture is clogged. Take it off, remove it, and replace any parts that need to be replaced.
If it’s throughout your home…
If you are experiencing low water pressure throughout your entire home, check the water meter outside of your home. Be sure that the valves are turned fully on. You should also make sure that your main supply valve is turned fully on.
If you are still experiencing low water pressure or you are running into any other plumbing problems in your home, call Dean’s! At Dean’s Home Services, our licensed Minneapolis Plumbers have experience evaluating and repairing low water pressure issues.
How to Fix Low Water Pressure
For most older homes with reduced flow, there are only two solutions: Learn to live with the problem, or replace the service line and tap. The first is not very convenient and the second is very costly. In cases where the customer does not wish to spend the money to replace the service line, switching to water-conserving fixtures (such as low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators) may help.
The best approach is a complete replacement of the tap, service, and meter (if necessary) all the way from the main in the street to the residence. It’s also important to check the buildup in the plumbing inside the house. A licensed, bonded plumber or contractor should do both types of replacement.
If the house has an inside meter, the owner will need to move it to a meter pit when replacing the service line. Although that also may add to the cost of the repair, it eliminates the inconvenience of having someone available to provide access to the meter for repair, maintenance and periodic checks on the meter.