How to Increase Water Pressure

Three Methods:Increasing Pressure at One FaucetFixing a Recent Low Pressure ProblemAddressing a History of Low Pressure

Increasing your water pressure often seems like a daunting chore. There are many causes of low water pressure, and many surprisingly simple remedies that you can perform yourself. Here are some steps to guide you as you learn how to increase water pressure.

Method 1
Increasing Pressure at One Faucet

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    Clean the aerator. Unscrew the aerator at the end of the faucet with a pair of pliers. Disassemble the aerator, making a note of how it fits together. Rinse off dirt or sediment, then run the faucet for a couple minutes to dislodge sediment in the pipe. If the aerator parts still look dirty, soak them in an equal mix of white vinegar and water for three hours.[1]
    • To avoid scratches, wrap cloth around the aerator before removing.
    • You can clean showerheads with the same process.
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    Disassemble the faucet. If the faucet still has low pressure, unscrew the stem retainer nut and pull the stem straight up. You may need to remove a retaining collar first.
    • When dealing with a single-handled tub faucet, you will encounter a screw on each side, under the large chrome piece. Assure that these are both fully tightened before removing the stem.
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    Repair the facet. Check for problems based on what you see:
    • If you see a washer and/or spring at the base of the stem, remove them carefully with a screwdriver. Rinse off sediment, or replace them if broken.
    • If you see a more complex mechanism, check this article for instructions.
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    Flush out the faucet. After repairing anything that seems amiss, reassemble the faucet. Block the faucet with a cup and turn the water on and off a few times. This should flush out anything causing the clog.

Method 2
Fixing a Recent Low Pressure Problem

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    Address problems with hot water supply. If only your hot water taps have low pressure, look for a problem at your water heater. Here are the most common problems:[2]
    • Sediment clogging the water heater or the hot water supply line. flush the tank, then hire a plumber if that doesn't work. To prevent this happening again, replace the anode rod regularly and consider Installing a water softener.
    • Hot water supply pipes that are too small. In most cases the pipe leading from your water heater should have at least a ¾" (19mm) diameter.
    • Leaks in the valves or the tank itself. Only attempt to repair these yourself if the leak is minor and you have experience with plumbing projects.[3]
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    Check for leaky pipes. Leaks are a common cause of low pressure. Conduct a quick check for damp spots beneath pipes, especially at the main supply line. Fix any leaky pipes you encounter.
    • The supply line typically enters the house from the side in mild climates, or from the basement floor in cold climates.
    • Small damp spots may be caused by condensation. Put down a couple paper towel and come back tomorrow to is
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    Test your toilet for leaks. A leaky toilet mechanism fails to block the flow from the tank to the bowl. Put a few drops of food coloring in the tank, and come back after an hour or two without flushing the toilet. If the food coloring has entered the bowl, your toilet needs a repair. Typically, all it needs is a new flapper or another cheap and easy fix.[4]
    • If you can hear your toilet running constantly, that's definitely a drain on your pressure. Learn how to fix it.
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    Check the water meter to rule out leaks. If you still haven't found any leaks, it's time to check your water meter to confirm or deny their existence. Shut off all water in the house, then read the meter. There are two ways to check for leaks using the meter:
    • If the small triangular or disk-shaped dial on the meter is spinning, water is still flowing. Assuming everything is shut off properly, you have a leak.
    • Write down the reading, wait a couple hours without using any water, then check again. If you get a different reading, you have a leak.
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    Confirm the shut off valve is completely open. Look for the master shutoff valve near your water meter. If it's been knocked to a partially closed position, turn it back to fully open. This is rarely the problem, but it only takes a few minutes to test.
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    Inspect the Pressure Reducing Valve. Homes on low ground often have a PRV installed where the line enters the building. This valve, usually shaped like a bell, reduces the supply of water to a safe pressure for your building. On a typical model, you can turn the screw or knob at the top of the PRV clockwise to increase water pressure.[5] It's best to turn this only a couple times, keeping track of the number of turns. Going too far can damage your plumbing.[6]
    • If adjusting the PRV doesn't make any difference, shut off the water supply and disassemble the valve. You may need to replace a part or the entire valve, or just clean the parts.[7] Finding manufacturer instructions is recommended.
    • Not all homes have a PRV, especially if the city water supply is low pressure or the building is on high ground.
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    Test your water softener. If your home has a water softener installed, try setting it to "bypass." If the pressure improves, have someone inspect your softener for issues.[8]

Method 3
Addressing a History of Low Pressure

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    Replace old supply pipes. Locate the main supply line at the side of your house, or in the basement if you live in a cold climate. If your supply pipe is silver and magnetic, with threaded fittings, it's galvanized steel. Old galvanized pipes often clog with mineral buildup or corrosion, slowing water flow. Replacing these with copper or plastic pipes may solve your problem.
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    Check pipe size. A small pipe can cause problems if it can't meet your water needs. As a rule of thumb, the supply pipe diameter should be at least ¾" (19mm), or 1" (25mm) if it serves a 3+ bathroom home, while ½" (13 mm) pipes should only serve one or two fixtures.[9] A plumber can give you a more specific recommendation based on your water use.
    • PEX pipes have especially thick walls, and therefore a smaller inner diameter. If you're replacing a metal pipe with PEX, use a larger size than the original.[10]
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    Address poor city supply with a water pressure booster. If you've always had this problem, phone your water supply company and ask for your neighborhood's "static water pressure."[11] If the answer is below 30 psi (2.1 bar / 21 meters of head), the city supply could be the problem.[12] Purchase and install a water pressure booster to address this, or continue tot he next step.
    • Warning: If you have corroded or clogged pipes, boosting water pressure could damage or break them.[13]
    • Higher supply pressures may still be inadequate for a multi-story house or a house on a hill. 60 psi (4.1 bar / 42 meters of head) should be plenty even in these situations.[14]
    • If your water supply comes from a well or gravity flow system, leave pressure adjustments to a professional.[15][16]
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    Test the supply pressure yourself. Find a pressure gauge that attaches to a hose bib from a hardware store. Make sure nothing in your home is using the water supply, including ice makers and running toilets. Attach the gauge to the hose bib to read the pressure.[17]
    • If the pressure is lower than the water service claimed, it may be an issue with the water main. Talk to your water service and/or the local water municipality to find out whether you can get them to repair it.
    • If you can't get the service to repair it, install a water pressure booster.
    • Water pressure fluctuates along with demand. Try again at a different time of day to get a more accurate sense of the range.


  • While tinkering, turn on a lawn sprinkler for an easy way to see changes in water pressure.


  • Ensure that quality plumbing supplies are used and that work is well done and fully tested. A permit is probably required. Leaks (immediate, or after corrosion) due to poor quality materials or badly done work can lead to water damage and mold, mildew and fungus exposure. Work done without permits may block sale of your home until problems are corrected.

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Categories: Plumbing Drains Waste and Vents