We all know the feeling. You’ve had a hard days work, it’s 40 degrees outside and all you want is a good solid shower to freshen up.
So how disappointing is it when you step into that inner sanctuary that should be an Amazon rainforest only to find it’s like a garden hose in the middle of an outback summer?
It might not just be the sad trickle in the shower either, there are other signs your water pressure is low.
Toilet cisterns hold around 7 or so litres of water and should take less than two minutes to fill, and a standard bath holds around 80 litres of water and shouldn’t take longer than 5 minutes to fill.
In certain situations, this may be a considered choice (you’re being kind to the environment and saving water, or watching a tight budget) but if you don’t fall into either of these buckets and you’re experiencing one or more of the above, read on.
What causes low water pressure?
Low water pressure is normally a result of more than one plumbing fixture being used at the same time, so while your water pressure may actually be sufficient, you’ll definitely notice a drop in flow when the shower is running at the same as the washing machine.
Other reasons for low water pressure can be as simple as high demand in the neighbourhood at a particular point of the day, a water leak on your property, or it could be due to a more serious issue like a plumbing blockage, in which case we recommend calling your local plumber straight away to avoid a larger issue.
The more common factors are:
It’s not you, it’s … the restrictor – unbeknownst to you, you’ve got a water restrictor installed on your shower (or other plumbing fixture). This is especially common in rental properties and designed to assist the landlord in reducing the cost of water consumption but it is also a legal requirement of plumbing manufacturers to automatically build them into shower roses. It’s important to note that while there is no such thing as a shower head that will increase your water pressure, certain shower heads can increase the force of your water, which in turn gives you a better shower.
It’s time to replace your hot water heater – this might sound like an odd one, but try a hot-cold test. Make sure no-one is using water, run the hot and cold water (in the area where you are experiencing low pressure). If only the hot water is flowing at a reduced rate, the problem is likely your water heater that needs some care.
Water filters – filters installed on the domestic water supply to protect the quality of the water can also lower the flow. We think we’re pretty lucky with the quality of water in Sydney (check out Peter’s video below on this) but if you’re really not sure of the quality of the water in your area, then the tradeoff may just be lower water pressure.
So what pressure is good pressure?
Sydney Water aims to ensure that the water they supply to your property is a minimum of 15 metres head of pressure, at the point of connection to their system. This equals a flow of 18 litres of water a minute at the garden tap.
If you suspect that this is not the case there are quite a few ways to test the water pressure at home yourself, the easiest of which is by following the simple check put together by Sydney Water using your garden tap and a timer.
How to fix low water pressure in your home
Check in with Sydney Water first to make sure there is no apparent reason why your water pressure is low (particularly if this is a new event). If they confirm it’s all OK at their end, it’s time to engage a professional plumber.
Depending on the issue there are options available to help increase water pressure and Lime Plumbing can provide you with the most cost-effective and efficient solution for your home.
Learn more about Lime Plumbing.