What causes low water pressure?

Pressure – No matter what the pressure is on the water authority mains network in the highway, the plumbing arrangement for the water pipes in your home may substantially reduce that pressure by the time it gets to your taps. 

Flow – Along with pressure, your water pipes may also be restricting the flow of water to your taps. In other words, the maximum amount of water your pipes can carry will be affected by:

  • The size of the pipes (diameter)
  • Corrosion in the pipes and the appliances
  • The demand for water in your property at any one time
  • Any leaks you may have on your supply

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Boilers

While conventional boilers run on as little as 0.5 Bar, combination boilers generally need more for them to function effectively. The pressure your boiler needs may be above the target the local water authority aims to supply in their water mains (1 Bar measured at the boundary of your property).

Any reduction in this pressure will be due to plumbing issues on your water pipes remembering that water pressure is not constant and that demand, especially during busy morning and evening periods, will reduce water pressure in the water mains network.

To remedy this situation, you may want to look at increasing the size of your water supply pipe or renewing the existing corroded pipework

Shared Pipes

For some properties, the problem is caused by sharing a supply pipe from the water main. This can be a problem if the supply is too small, in poor condition (for example, leaking or old), or if properties sharing a supply use water at the same time

If so, you may want to look at installing a separate independent service pipe from your property to the water main or, at a joint cost, renewing / increasing the size of the shared supply pipe.

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Your Home

Some pressure problems can be caused by faulty, damaged or leaking pipes and fittings.

Corrosion – Old pipes often become corroded, restricting the water flow.

Stop Tap – A partly closed stop tap inside your home could be the cause of some water-pressure problems.

Leaks – Leaks from pipes or fittings will reduce the water pressure, listen for hissing sounds or look for damp patches.

Location

Pressure will be affected by the height of a property in relation to the local area around it. If you property is at the top of a hill, you may receive lower pressure than properties that are at the bottom of the hill, especially during busy times of the day such as morning or early evening and during the summer.

The local Water Authority will aim to supply a water pressure of 1 Bar at the boundary to your property, however you might want to consider installing a water accumulator. This is a relatively new device that holds water in a vessel during those periods when demand to your property is low and releases that water as you need it at busy times.

Heating Applications

The plumbing layout in your property may affect the pressure at which water is supplied to your taps. It may also affect your shower. Many new showers will need a minimum level of flow and pressure to work effectively. Some will need to be supplied directly from the mains (not from a tank in the loft). In older showers, limescale may build up and cause poor flow at the showerhead.

Always clean your showerhead every three months to prevent limescale building up. If you cannot remove the limescale, try replacing the showerhead and hose attached to it with new ones. If you are planning to fit a new shower or heating system, make sure you check that your planned system can work efficiently at the pressure of 1 Bar. Any reduction to this pressure is likely to be due to plumping problems with your water pipes

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