One of the most annoying things that can happen while you’re showering or doing your dishes is having a water pressure drop. Water pressure is quite an important factor, and something you should not compromise on.
If water pressure starts strong then weakens, this could be an indicator of many other issues. In order to fix your water pressure, it is crucial to get to the bottom of the problem and find the root issue.
However, the trickiest part isn’t fixing the issue – it is detecting the cause. Keep on reading to find out how to do both!
Why water pressure starts high then drops
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As we’ve explained, it is relatively easy to fix the issue and get the water pressure to a normal intensity as long as you detect the issue accurately.
The problem could be in your own plumbing, but sometimes it happens due to a malfunction in the municipality water supply. Here are the systems regulating your water pressure that could be the underlying cause of a water pressure drop:
- stop valves: in case you haven’t properly closed the shutoff valves under your sink, this could be the reason behind your low water pressure. These valves are what control the water pressure of your faucets.
- main valve: just like the stop valves, if the main valve isn’t properly closed, this will definitely affect your water pressure in the entire house. Make sure to check the main shut-off valve (which is the main valve for the entire water supply in the house).
- water pressure reducing valve (PRV): this water pressure regulator is the main factor determining the water pressure, often installed near the main valve. It is best to have a professional set up this valve as it is very important.
- municipal water supply: if you’re connected to this kind of supply, this is a factor you have no immediate control over. However, in case you suspect that this is the issue, you should definitely contact your local agency.
How to fix water pressure that starts high and then drops
Now that we’ve covered all the potential sources of this problem, let’s talk about the specific issues that could be affecting the water pressure.
For the water pressure to be at an optimal level, it is necessary for the piping to function properly. If this is not the case, there could even be leaks, which is a rather alarming issue for many reasons.
In case your water pressure starts strong then drops, it is possible that there could be a crack or a similar kind of malfunction on the pipes which allows the air to come in. If the air enters the pipe, it will form bubbles which will cause a sudden drop in the pressure.
These bubbles, however, won’t directly affect the water flow, as the water will still reach the faucet. The real problem is in the water pressure since it will lower significantly when there is air in the pipe. This is why the pressure may be high at first but then stop suddenly.
The air inside the pipe actually forms a barrier which makes it impossible for the water flow to be as intense as it should be. If this is the case, the sound of the water flowing once you let the water run will be different and distorted.
Also, you may notice that your pipes have corroded, or they have bigger holes that cause serious leaks. These are more serious issues that often require professional assistance, as the piping system can be quite complicated.
Here are the steps to fix faulty piping:
- Check the pipes in order to detect any defects, holes, or corrosion.
- You’ll be able to locate the leaking pipe if you hear a water spraying sound, or you simply see a water stain on the wall. Bigger leaks are quite easy to spot as there will probably be some water drips and stains on the wall.
- Of course, if the pipe isn’t leaking and the problem is not as obvious, you’ll have to grab a flashlight and inspect the pipes for any issues.
- In case you’ve located a faulty pipe, you want to shut off the main valve connected to that pipe.
- You’ll need to evaluate the severity of the damage, since bigger holes, leaks, and bad cases of corrosion will probably require professional assistance and maybe even new pipes.
- In case the issue isn’t as drastic, you want to grab a pipe repair clamp kit which will come with detailed instructions. Usually, you’ll place a rubber sleeve on top of the damaged spot on the pipe and bolt the clamp over the sleeve to secure it.
- If you notice that the leak is located near the pipe joint, you want to use epoxy putty to fill it in.
- The solutions we’ve mentioned could be considered “quick fixes” since they’re not as permanent as the materials professionals use. In case of bigger defects on your pipes, make sure to contact a professional!
A Clog in the Pipe
Another reason why the water pressure starts strong then weakens could be a clog in the pipe. The biggest problem is clogs that form in the spot where the pipe is connected to the main water supply, as it significantly disrupts the water flow.
In case the water pressure drops after a few minutes and it doesn’t come back at all, you’re probably dealing with a big clog. On the other hand, if the pressure decreases but the water flow doesn’t stop completely, the clog isn’t as big, but it should still be removed.
There are numerous factors that can create these clogs, including the water content, especially the minerals. Once the water from the main water supply line reaches this clog, if the pipe isn’t clogged completely, the pressure will drop.
Here are the steps to fix a clog in the pipe:
- It is necessary to detect whether there is a bigger issue, such as a faulty fixture, which definitely calls for professional assistance and you shouldn’t bother accessing this problem on your own.
- In case there is just a clog in the pipes, it is necessary to detach the pipe in question and use a pipe cleaning solution that will remove the clog. You will probably also need to manually remove the clog by using a brush or a similar tool.
- After removing the clog and thoroughly cleaning the pipe, put it back into the initial position and test the water flow and pressure.
- However, if the pipe is completely clogged and the solution cannot help, it may be necessary to replace the pipe. Trying to aggressively remove a complete clog often results in pipe damage, so it is easier to purchase a new one.
- Both the removal and the process of installing a new pipe are something we’d recommend hiring a plumber for since you want it to be perfectly executed.
- Another hack you could try if the pipe isn’t completely clogged and you think it could be cleaned is attaching an air hose line to the faucet connected to the clogged pipe. However, keep in mind that this is usually something a professional should do.
In case your shower loses pressure after a few minutes, it could be that the problem is in defective valves. It could be that the valves are old and rusty and you need to replace them, or there is another factor affecting them.
As we’ve mentioned before, one of the first things you should do if the water pressure is bad is to check whether the valves (both the main and the stop valves) are properly closed. If they’re not, this could definitely cause the water pressure to drop.
The main role of the valves is to determine the amount of water that runs through the pipe into your faucet, so it is clear that they’re a very important factor. Faulty, especially old valves, could loosen up over time and seriously affect the water pressure.
Here are the steps to fix defective valves:
- Check both the stop valves and the main valve and make sure they’re adjusted properly. They should be properly closed, but also the water supply should be turned on.
- Sometimes, when doing some repairs or projects around the house, you’re required to shut off the main valve. Not opening it completely may cause low water pressure, as well as low water pressure when using two faucets.
- In case the valves are damaged or simply old and rusty, it is recommended to hire a plumber to replace them with new ones.
Pressure Regulator Issue
As the name itself implies, the pressure regulator dictates the water pressure in your home. If there is some kind of defect on it, or it’s not functioning properly, you may notice that the water pressure drops when the toilet flushes, or when you’re using two faucets at once.
Since the pressure regulator can be quite sensitive and complicated, we advise you to hire a professional to check it, repair any damage, and adjust it properly.
Can low water pressure be fixed?
Yes, the water pressure is something you can manage and control by taking care of all the important components. First, it is necessary to check the piping, as well as valves and the pressure regulator to check for any defects, leaks, clogs, or similar issues.
If anything needs to be replaced, there is a big clog or the pressure regulator is the issue, we do recommend you call a professional. This way you won’t resort to any quick fixes and shortcuts that won’t last long.
On the other hand, small defects, partial clogs, and similar issues can be dealt with without a professional, as we’ve explained in our detailed guides.
In case none of the components seem to be an issue, contact your neighbors and check if they’re experiencing intermittent water pressure, as well. If so, this could be a municipal water supply issue that requires action on their part.