Q&A / 

Low Water Pressure in House

clogged faucet aerator

Mineral deposits and grit in your faucet aerators might be the only reason you have dismal water pressure. Copyright 2022 Tim Carter

Low Water Pressure in House - How to Fix it For $5 or Less

Christine lives in Sylvania, Ohio. She reads this weekly column and shared the following, “In the newspaper today you said you’re addressing topics that can save homeowners money. In my community many have water pressure issues, myself included.” She then gave me a full report about her particular water-pressure issues.

As often happens a reader shares the key that unlocks the mystery without me having to ask any questions. Christine said, “…and have had issues in different parts of the house while other faucets are fine.”

Bingo. There’s your smoking gun.

Does this describe what’s going on in your home? If so, I’ve got such great news for you. Within a few hours you can restore the full flow of water in all your  faucets. You can do this yourself using a simple tool and some simple chemicals you may already have. You may spend less than a dollar to restore your water pressure.

Do You Need Me to Call You to Help?

I've been a master plumber since 1981 and solve plumbing problems of all types each week on the phone. I talk to homeowners just like you. Go here to set up a call. Note you have choices and I even offer a transcribed call so you don't have to take notes!

First allow me to explain Christine’s clue. I often think it’s hard for some people to understand water pressure in homes because the water lines are hidden from view. It’s not hard for you to understand how tree leaves get water because you can see with ease the tree trunk, the branches, and eventually the tiny twigs that extend to each leaf.

Think what happens if you were to cut a 1-inch-wide band of the tree bark from around the entire circumference of the trunk. Since the live-giving sap travels up from the roots to the leaves just under the bark, the tree would soon die as you’ve cut off the pressure completely. But what happens if you do the same thing to just one major branch? Just the leaves on the branch die and the rest of the tree is fine.

You may have poor pressure in one or more faucets simply because of a localized issue at that faucet, not an issue within your main water line. In fact, I had the same thing happen here at my own home over the past few months. Go here and see if you have these problems with water pressure.

Living in a rural area, I have my own well. I also have a water-conditioning system that has a whole-system pre-filter. The filter helps protect the filtration media that treat my water. The 5-micron paper filter needs to be changed every three to four months for optimal performance. Believe it or not, I forgot to change the filter.

Low Water Pressure Can Happen Slowly

The first sign of trouble was iron staining as the filter had become clogged with tiny iron deposits and now some was getting past the filter. Then I slowly started to notice that the flow of water from my kitchen faucet was less than satisfactory.

But when I’d go to use my laundry sink to fill the bucket to wash my truck, I’d not see any water flow issues. Keep in mind, the laundry tub faucet doesn’t have an aerator. Aerators are huge money makers for plumbers. Aerators are put on the ends of kitchen and bath faucets to tame the flow of water. If you’ve not looked at one up close, you should because they’re primarily miniature filters.

I removed my kitchen faucet aerator and lo and behold there were visible pieces of grit sitting on top of the top screen. Who knows what smaller things could be deeper inside? I also saw severe iron staining and felt that iron deposits could have started to restrict the flow within the aerator.

I opened my refrigerator, got out my bag of oxalic acid, heated up four ounces of water in a small glass container, dumped in a teaspoon of oxalic acid powder, stirred it, and dropped in the aerator into the solution. I then walked away for 30 minutes.

oxalic acid 2 pound bag

This is a re-sealable bag of oxalic acid crystals. Go HERE to get it delivered to your home NOW.

When I came back, the aerator looked like new. I rinsed it and then started phase two of the cleaning process. I wanted to make sure I removed any and all hard-water deposits. I threw out the oxalic acid solution outdoors on some crabgrass, rinsed the container and put in four ounces of white vinegar. I heated it up in the microwave for one minute so the chemical reaction would occur faster.

If you recall your high school chemistry class, you know that white vinegar is a weak form of acid and that hard water deposits are alkaline. The weak acid dissolves the deposits. I dropped the aerator into the hot white vinegar and let it soak for several hours.

Once I put the aerator back on the faucet, the flow was back to normal. If you don’t want to go through this multi-step cleaning process, you can often just install a new aerator. Take your existing one to a neighborhood hardware store and they should offer a suitable replacement.

What can I help you with? What issues around your home worry you? What do you want me to discuss in my upcoming columns? Go here and tell me.

Column 1478


One Response to Low Water Pressure in House

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *