Low water pressure is a common problem in apartment buildings. It can make your daily chores like washing clothes, doing the dishes, and taking a shower more frustrating than they should be.
As a landlord, you need to keep your building in tip-top shape and one of the easiest ways to do that is by staying on top of plumbing issues. This includes tackling water pressure problems that your tenants may be reporting to you.
Check the Shutoff Valve
If you are having problems with low water pressure, it may be due to a shut off valve that is not fully open. If this is the case, there are a few things you can do to turn it back up and get your apartment running smoothly again.
A water shut-off valve is a main control that turns off the water supply to your pipes and appliances. These can be located under or behind fixtures and appliances throughout your home, including sinks, toilets and showers. They can be very useful in preventing water damage during repair or when you’re away for an extended period of time and need to turn off your water.
Most shut off valves are round, either a “wheel” or “gate” design with a handle that you can turn clockwise to close it. These are the easiest to operate but can still be challenging if you’re not familiar with your particular model and can be dangerous if you accidentally turn them off incorrectly.
Often, these are the first thing you should check when you have a leak or when you need to turn off your entire plumbing system for an emergency. Then, you can call a plumber or your water company to get the issue fixed.
The main water shut off valve for your home is usually located inside, near the main city supply pipe that enters the house through a foundation wall. If your home is in a hot climate, it may also be outside of the building in a utility box.
In a cool climate, however, the water shut off valve is usually indoors in the utility room. If you have recently had repairs done to your plumbing system, there is a good chance that the water shut off valve was not fully opened when the work was done.
If this is the case, you can remove the supply line from the old shut off valve and replace it with a new one. After you have the new valve in place, reattach the supply line to your main water line and make sure it’s snug before turning the shut off valve back on.
Check the Pressure Regulator
If your water pressure is suddenly low, it could be due to a problem with the regulator. This device is typically found near the main water valve to your home, and it works to lower the high water pressure that comes into your apartment.
The water regulator helps to keep the water pressure within a safe level and prevents damage to pipes and other plumbing fixtures. It can also save you money by preventing costly repairs and replacements.
Most homes have a pressure regulator on their main water line that’s located right next to the main shutoff valve. Most come set for 50 psi, but you can adjust them up or down by turning the screw on top.
Many homeowners have their regulators adjusted to provide them with higher water pressure, but this can wreak havoc on your pipes and other systems in the home. Increasing the water pressure in your apartment can cause a number of problems, including accelerated wear and tear on older pipes, which can result in expensive repair bills and repiping.
If you haven’t changed your water pressure settings lately, it’s probably time to do so. Start by turning the adjustment screw clockwise, gradually increasing the amount of water pressure that enters your home. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, you can hire a plumber to do it for you.
A plumber can install a new pressure regulator for you, as well as cut and reconnect the main pipelines into your plumbing system. They can also calibrate the regulator and install a pressure gauge to help you track your home’s water pressure.
The water regulator is a critical part of your home’s plumbing system and should be checked periodically to make sure it’s still functioning properly. Having your regulator replaced before it fails can save you hundreds of dollars in costly plumbing repairs.
The water regulator is a bell-shaped device that’s usually located on the main inlet pipe into your home’s plumbing system. Most regulators have a gauge to show you how much pressure is exiting the device.
Check for Leaks
Leaks are not only a nuisance, but they can also lead to serious damage. This is why it’s important to detect leaks early so that they can be repaired.
If you think your water pressure might be low, check to see if there are any leaks around your home. You can do this by checking your water meter or by looking at your faucet’s pressure gauge.
A leaky pipe can cause a dramatic drop in water pressure. This can happen in a single area of your apartment, or it can even affect the whole building. Thankfully, you can get your leaky pipes fixed by a plumber.
Before you begin to try to fix the problem, you should first locate your water meter and check for leaks. This can be done by opening the cover of your meter and checking the flow indicator. This is usually a small triangular shaped dial or a silver wheel that rotates when there is water flowing through the meter. If the flow indicator is moving, this means you have a leak and should call a plumber right away.
Next, shut off your water and find out if the leak is inside or outside your house. You can do this by locating your home’s main shut off valve and turning it off. This is typically located directly behind your outdoor faucet, or below it.
You can also use your water meter to determine the location of the leak by activating the shut off valve, checking the meter, and writing down the numbers you see. After 1 or 2 hours, recheck the meter to see if the numbers changed.
If the meter shows no changes, it indicates that there is no leak outside of your home. If the meter does change, it is likely that the leak is in the buried line between your meter and the house.
It is a good idea to take a water reading before retiring at night and reading it again in the morning. This way, you can be sure that there are no consistent leaks in your home and you will be able to avoid a high water bill. This method can be especially helpful if you are worried about your water usage. It will also allow you to identify any sudden increases in your water consumption that you may not have noticed previously.
Contact Your Water Company
If your apartment has low water pressure and you aren’t able to turn it up yourself, there are a few things you can do. One is to contact your water company and ask for help. They can run a test to see if the pressure coming into your home is adequate, or they can install a booster pump, which will increase the amount of water flowing from the city’s main line.
Another option is to adjust your pressure-reducing valve. Most come set at 50 psi, but you can reduce the pressure as needed by turning the screw on top of it. It’s important to make sure the supply line is not clogged before you do this, so if your water pressure is low, call the company to see if the issue is caused by a clog or blockage.
Flow rate can also play a role in low water pressure, especially if your appliances are using up more of the available water than is being supplied to you. This is especially true if you have multiple showers and sinks in your house. When this happens, the water has to divide between each of the fixtures.
A shared pipeline can also be a factor in reduced water pressure. This is often the case if you live in a building with many units that share the same pipe.
When this is the case, it is important to monitor your usage and try to reduce demand when possible. This may require adjusting your bath and kitchen time, or making some minor changes to your washing machine cycle.
Leaks in the pipes can cause a decrease in water pressure in a particular area of your apartment, or throughout the entire complex. If you can find the leak, it’s best to get it repaired as soon as possible.
The problem with leaks is that they are difficult to spot, so you need to take special care to check for them regularly. If you have metal plumbing, you should also take a look at the joints and seams to see if they’re leaking.