Understanding Low Water Pressure and How it Affects You

low water pressure problems in Toronto home
Posted on May 24, 2014 · Posted in Home Plumbing

One of the primary complaints of homeowners in Toronto is low water pressure. This usually means that at least one of the faucets in the home is delivering water in a slower trickle that you feel it should. Although it’s more of an inconvenience than a crisis, low pressure can be an indication of a more serious problem that requires attention sooner rather than later.

Causes

Low water pressure in a Toronto home can be caused by a number of problems, including:

  • Rusted or blocked water inlet piping
  • Damaged, leaky supply pipes
  • Partially-closed main shut-off valve
  • Defective pressure relief valve
  • Low water flow from the City supply

If you feel your water pressure seems low but are unsure about whether it’s a problem, test the pressure using a measuring gauge that you can buy from most hardware stores.

Values

Testing for low water pressure only makes sense if you know what you are looking for. On average, the pressure from a home’s water supply should range between 50 pounds per square inch (psi) to 70 psi. This is because most plumbing fixtures you can get for residential use can handle pressure up to a maximum of 80 psi, and anything beyond that could damage them. If the pressure is lower than 50 psi, however, you will probably get frustrated waiting for sufficient water to be delivered.

On-Premise Solutions

The solution to your low water pressure depends largely on the cause of the issue.

Start by checking all your valves to determine whether they are set and working correctly. For piping-related problems, your best bet to resolve them is to replace the offending sections of pipe. That can be expensive, however, so it’s ideal to get a professional inspection first and evaluate what needs to be done.

In some cases, a simple clean-out of your supply pipes could be enough to get the flow running again, while in other cases you might need to excavate to reach damaged pipes. If this happens, the earlier you can arrest the problem the better, before small water leaks create havoc with your foundations. Finding the issues associated with a water installation is a long process, so  you shouldn’t wait to do so.

City Water-Flow Solutions

If the problem lies with the City of Toronto’s water delivery, it may be slightly more challenging to find a resolution. Your first option remains to replace your own pipes (upgrading your water service), because wider-diameter piping will deliver the water faster regardless of how slowly it’s coming in. This is because the larger diameter will help maintain the dynamic water pressure in the home. This means the amount of pressure your system maintains even when plumbing fixtures are being used. It won’t have an impact on your static water pressure, which is the amount of water in the system when you aren’t using any of the fixtures in the home.

Alternatively, you can contact the City’s water affairs department and request a visit from the local inspector. He can determine whether your supply flow is normal for your area, or he can commission an investigation of the water sources supplying your home if he feels it’s needed. After all, you pay enough for Toronto’s water services, don’t you?

Whatever the reason for low water pressure, it’s important to understand what the cause is and resolve it if necessary.

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