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PLUMBING • DRAINS • COOLING • WATER QUALITY

Thursday, 08 January 2015 15:57

Solving Hot Water Pressure Problems

Low hot water pressure can worsen over time as sediment, rust and mineral deposits accumulate in pipes and inside the water heater. Galvanized pipes are especially prone to clogging over time.

Another common source of low hot water pressure is faucet aerators that have a buildup of mineral deposits. To remove mineral build up from aerators and shower heads, remove them from the fixture and soak them overnight in vinegar.

Finally, the water heater itself may be clogged or simply worn out. Accumulated sediment in the water heater tank can reduce heating efficiency over time. Check you water heater owner's manual for instructions on flushing the water heater tank. If the water heater is more than 10 years old it's probably more cost effective to replace it rather than repair it, since a new water heater will offer higher efficiency.

Have plumbing questions? Call ABC Plumbing and Air Conditioning. We're here to help.

The causes of low water pressure in the home are many, and the cure can range from simple point source fixes to more complex water supply upgrades. The following are some helpful tips to diagnose and fix some of the most common causes of reduced water flow in the home.

Low water pressure

Obstructed Faucet Aerators

Hard water and debris can cause faucet aerators to become dirty and clogged over time, eventually restricting the flow of water. By regularly removing and cleaning the faucet aerator screens you can keep the water flowing freely. Vinegar can be used to dissolve mineral deposits on faucet aerators and shower heads. Simply submerge them overnight to dissolve the mineral deposits.

Low-Flow Shower Heads

If your shower head has a low-flow fixture in place, try swapping it out with a regular shower head fixture to increase the flow of water. Inexpensive, high-pressure shower heads are also available that can make your shower flow better.

Check the Water Supply Valves

If the water supply valve in your home has recently been shut off, it may not have been returned to the fully opened position. Check to ensure it is fully opened.

Advanced Solutions For Low Water Pressure

If you've checked the techniques above to increase your home's water pressure without success, ABC Southwest can help with more problematic water pressure problems.

One solution is a residential water pressure booster. A water pressure booster is a supplementary water pump that works with your home's existing water supply to increase water pressure.

Water Leaks

ABC Southwest can also help find more serious sources of low water pressure. If you have a water pipe that is leaking, it will affect the water pressure in your house significantly– and increase your water bill. Try turning off the water supply both inside and outside your home, then check your water meter. Check the water meter once more a couple hours later to determine if the water usage has increased. If so, you probably have a leak that needs to be located and repaired.

Water Supply Main Pipe

Another option is to increase the size of the main pipe supplying water to your house. See if you can determine what type of water pipes you have in the home and running to your water meter. Pipe size is an important factor in the amount of water pressure you'll get in your home. The larger the pipes, the more the water pressure, so you may want to consider increasing the size of the main pipe servicing your house.

Have questions about low water pressure in your home? Call ABC Southwest Air Conditioning and Plumbing, we're here to help.
Hot Water Expansion Tank

Because water expands when heated, excess pressure inside a water heater tank needs to escape. In the past, the pressure would force water in the tank to drain back out into the water supply where it came from.

Today, the water main is designed to prevent the backwards flow of water, known as backflow, by means of a check valve. The check valve prevents waste water from inside the home from returning to the water supply where it could contaminate the supply of fresh water.

How a Water Heater expansion Tank Works

A water heater expansion tank is another small tank that is attached to the water supply pipe of the water heater. The expansion tank is designed to handle the thermal expansion of water as it heats up in the water heater, preventing excessive water pressure.

If water pressure gets to high it can damage valves in plumbing fixtures, joints in supply pipes and the water heater itself. Expanding water from the water heater flows into the expansion tank, relieving water pressure in the system.

What if my water heater doesn't have an expansion tank?

Most homes that have a check valve on the water main do not have an expansion tank, since it wasn't required until recently. This may or may not cause excessive pressure buildup, depending on the specific design of the plumbing in the house.

If you are noticing that washers in plumbing fixtures are deteriorating rapidly, or water is dripping from the relief valve on the water heater, it may be wise to add an expansion tank. It can be low cost insurance against more costly damage to your home's plumbing system.

Have questions about water heater expansion tanks or other plumbing systems? Call ABC Southwest Air Conditioning and Plumbing, we're here to help.1

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