Low Water Pressure can be caused by many varied plumbing conditions. Many of these conditions can be easily checked by a handy property owner but usually a licensed plumber or a plumbing contractor who specializes in subsurface work is a better bet. Low water pressure can be due to a water line problem, inside plumbing problem, or a even an issue with the water meter. There is a common sense way to approach this issue before rushing into expensive repair work that may not correct the issue.
The 5 steps to take if you have low water pressure
Check all water line valves in the house
There are typically two main control valves for the main water line. One valve before the meter and one valve after the meter. Make sure both of these valves are open. If low water pressure is only in one area of the premises check for valves for that section of the building. There may be a partially closed or broken valve for a particular plumbing fixture. Typically there is a separate valve for hot and cold water under each sink and sometimes there are sectional water valves inside the building. For more information on how to close a water main valve visit read how to open or close a water main valve.
Check size and type of inside house plumbing
If any inside house plumbing is galvanized pipe, even if it is just one fitting, that could be the sole cause of low water pressure. An easy way to test if a pipe is galvanized is with a magnet – galvanized pipe is the only magnetic water main material. Typically the inside plumbing of the main line of a one or two family house is 3/4″ or 1″. Branch lines are typically 1/2″ or 3/4″. Larger properties should be “sized out” by a professional and licensed plumber. You can check on a plumbers license status by using this sewer and water main resources page.
Check type and size of main service line
If there is low water pressure throughout a property it is easy to check on the size and type of a water main. The size of the water main is the same size as the main control valve and the size of the valve is imprinted on the valve itself. Typically a 1″ service is adequate for a one family house, and an 1 1/4″ service is required for a two family house. Larger properties should be sized out by a professional. Balkan Sewer and Water Main Service performs this service free of charge. More information about water main materials is available in other post on the website. Please note that if a water service line is made out of galvanized pipe it should be replaced by a water main contractor regardless of the size as galvanized pipe corrodes and restricts the pipe opening. Always keep in mind that repairs on a galvanized or lead water main are not permitted in New York City.
Check the water meter
Sometimes grit, dirt, or a foreign object can obstruct the inside of a water meter. To check a water meter you will need a licensed plumber because of the skill level required and because the seal on the meter will be broken. A bypass can be installed when the meter is removed and then the property should be re-checked for water pressure with the bypass installed. If the water pressure is then adequate the meter is the culprit and no water line repair work is required. Sometimes a plumber can clean the meter out and other times the water meter may have to be replaced. In either case a break seal permit will have to filed with the NYC DEP so they know to reseal the meter. A meter that is not sealed will result in a violation from the DEP.
Check on your tap connection size
A tap connection is a valve that is drilled into the City water main and is used as a connection for each properties water service line. Even if all other components of the plumbing system are properly sized out an inadequate tap connection will result in low water pressure. The minimum size tap allowed in New York City is 5/8″ and can only properly service a one family house. Many areas of Southeast Queens formerly serviced by the Jamaica Water Supply are serviced by 1/2″ taps and suffer from low water pressure. When a water main is being replaced a new tap connection adds around $300.00 to the cost of the job.
Those are the five basic steps to determine the cause of low water pressure. It is very unusual for a mechanical device to be required in the outer Boroughs of NYC to solve a water pressure problem. One of the five above issues will almost definitely be the cause. In Manhattan where buildings are much taller a pressurizing pump and water tanks are much more prevalent in order to supply adequate water pressure to high rise buildings. On rare occasions a water main break can cause low water pressure. But a leak of that sort is almost always visible.
About Joseph L. Balkan Inc.
Balkan Plumbing is the largest sewer contractor and water main contractor in NYC. Balkan provides sewer and water main service throughout the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan. We are licensed, bonded, and insured fully as a sewer contractor to perform any type of work on a water main or sewer. A family run water main and sewer contractor in continuous operation for over 50 years, our 10 year guarantee means we continue to stand by our work after the installation is completed.
We are expertly equipped, from our 48,000 square foot facility to dozens of trucks, heavy moving equipment, pneumatics, and backhoes. For all your sewer , catch basin, fire hydrant, manhole, fire sprinkler service, and any type of water line or sewer contractor work contact Balkan Plumbing today, the most trusted water main contractor and sewer contractor in NYC.
Joseph L. Balkan Inc.
130-01 Jamaica Avenue Richmond Hill, NY 11418
Phone: (718) 849-0900 | Espanol (718) 849-0900 | Fax: (718) 849-9570