7 Common Causes of Sudden Water Pressure Changes

“My home’s water pressure virtually disappeared over the course of one night. We went to bed and the next morning, when I got in the shower, the water barely came out. We checked the other sinks, showers, and toilets in the home and found that they all had low pressure.” – A homeowner in Chester County, October 2019

   Water pressure issues exist in two forms, high water pressure, and low water pressure. High water pressure reduces efficiency, applies extra stress on appliances and pipes, increases usage, and costs homeowners more money. Low water pressure reduces efficiency and inconveniences life. Both high and low water pressure issues signal a potential plumbing problem, some severe, others easily remediable.

  1. Clogged Fixtures – Over time your fixtures collect excess dirt, minerals, and other particles that sneak in through the water. The excess builds up in the aerator screen, blocking the full flow of the water and reducing the pressure. Try cleaning out the fixture or replacing it before calling a plumber. Often localized pressure failure occurs because of clogged fixtures.
  2. Pressure Regulator Failure – A water pressure regulator controls the flow of water into your home. When a pressure regulator fails, water flows uncontrolled into your home. This failure results in a water pressure change. In the instance of the quoted homeowner, their pressure regulator failed due to age and resulted in low water pressure throughout the home.
  3. Water Valve Shutoff – Sometimes an accidental bump of the shutoff valve causes low water pressure. The shutoff valve stops the flow of the water in case of emergencies. If accidentally turned, the valve partially decreases the water flow and reduces the pressure.
  4. Cracked Pipes – If your pipes crack, this reduces water pressure and threatens to damage other parts of the home. Cracked pipes occur with age or external circumstances. Pipes are more prone to crack in the winter time. When water freezes, it expands, putting pressure on the pipes. Too much pressure cracks the pipes and water leaks from the crack. If this occurs, shut off your water supply immediately and contact a professional.
  5. Hot water heater failure – If your cold water comes out fine but you notice a lack of pressure with your hot water, check your hot water heater. Hot water heaters fail because of several reasons such as age or lack of maintenance. Symptoms of hot water heater failure can be found here at our previous blog post on hot water heater failure.
  6. Insufficient Supply – If you added on more water consuming fixtures to your home like another bathroom or another sink, you may consume more water than your supply line delivers.
  7. Clogged pipes – Over time, water pipes can clog due to mineral build up.

   If you notice abnormal changes in your water pressure, first check for clogged fixtures or see if the water valve shutoff accidentally was turned. Determine whether it is a localized failure or if the entire home’s fixtures water pressure decreased. Check the hot and cold-water pressure separately to determine if the hot water heater needs checked. If you notice any water in abnormal places, shut off the water supply. After completing this checklist, contact a plumber for assistance. Tim Dean Plumbing offers 24/7 plumbing emergency services to solve your water pressure issues.