Water main valves must be open all the way to let water flow at the proper pressure into your home. There is a valve with either a round faucet type handle (gate valve) or a straight lever (ball valve). The round type should be opened by rotating it counterclockwise as far as it will go. The lever type should be exactly parallel to the water pipe to be fully open.
If your interior water valve is fully open but your pressure is still low, call an NYC licensed Master Plumber to investigate why you’re experiencing low pressure. This may include a pressure test on the water line entering your home. The Licensed Plumber should also obtain city records to determine the size of the pipe in the roadway as well as the connection to the city main. An undersized connection may not provide adequate volume and pressure into your home.
Leaks in the Water Service Line
Another one of the reasons for low water pressure could be leaks. If your water service line that leads from the tap on the city water supply to your home is leaking, you’re losing pressure. Leaks and cracks in the water service line can also admit sediment that will clog the line and slow the movement of water through the pipe. You’ll usually notice this type of problem when water seeps up and pools in the yard, on the sidewalk, or in the street in front of your home. Call an experienced plumber licensed for underground work to assess the problem.
The Pressure Regulator Is Failing
Some homes use a pressure regulator to ensure water is delivered at the right pressure into the home. A faulty pressure regulator can cause a sudden gusher or drop in pressure throughout the house. Homeowners can check the regulator with a water pressure gauge on an outside faucet. Home water pressure should be around 50 pounds per square inch (PSI). If the outside pressure gauge has a significantly higher or lower reading than the pressure regulator, you have a problem. Replacing a regulator requires shutting off the main water supply outside the home, and the work should be done by an experienced plumber.
Open Fire Hydrants or City Work
If the fire department recently responded to a fire in your neighborhood, or someone with a permit to do so opened fire hydrants for kids to play in, your pressure could be affected temporarily. Additionally, the city will give notice if it must shut off water to your street to perform maintenance work, and should tell you when to expect it to come back on.
Using too Many Appliances Simultaneously
One of the more obvious reasons for low water pressure is multiple, simultaneous uses. If the clothes and dishwashers are both running while two people are taking showers, and someone else is using a hose to wash the car, your pressure may decline. Try to stagger your water usage throughout the day to maintain water pressure for each independent use. If you are forced to live with an increase in water usage due to additional people living in the house or additional plumbing fixtures added, it is suggested to increase the size of your water main and tap connection on the city main.
Corrosion in Old Pipes
Old galvanized and lead pipes are subject to corrosion. If you still have these kinds of pipes in your home, or if you aren’t sure, contact a licensed plumber to assess your piping and re-pipe your home if necessary. These kinds of pipes can leach dangerous metals into your water supply, and they cannot legally be repaired in New York City—they must be replaced.
Harris Water Main and Sewer can assess problems with exterior piping and connections to your New York City home, including broken water main repair.