Updated On

May 19, 2023

Why You Can Trust Us

Today’s Homeowner exists to help you maintain or improve your home safely and effectively. We uphold strict editorial standards and carefully vet the advice and resources referenced in our articles. Click below to learn more about our review process and how we earn money.

Learn More

    There are few things more infuriating than low water pressure in your home. It can make showers unsatisfying, washing dishes more difficult and time-consuming, and prevent you from using multiple fixtures simultaneously. What’s worse, finding the source of a low water pressure issue can be challenging and lead to needlessly spending money on fixes if misdiagnosed.

    In this guide, we’ll explain why proper water pressure is so important, some things that can lead to low water pressure, and three tips for increasing water pressure and fixing the problem for good.

    Compare Quotes From Professional Plumbers

    Enter your zip code

    Why Is Water Pressure Important? (It’s for more than just showering)

    When most homeowners complain about low water pressure, they usually refer to a poor shower experience. Low pressure in a shower can make bathing take longer and lead to soap or shampoo remaining on your body afterward, which makes your shower unsatisfying. However, low pressure can be a problem for most fixtures in your home. We’ll cover some fixtures that can suffer from low pressure below.

    • Bathtub: Filling up your bathtub can take far longer if you’re experiencing low water pressure. Depending on the severity, you could wait several times longer before you can step in and start bathing.
    • Dishwasher and clothes washer: Your dishwasher and washing machine fill partially with water before cleaning. This can be prolonged if you’re dealing with low water pressure.
    • Kitchen sink: Washing dishes can take significantly longer with low water pressure, not to mention you’ll have to do a lot more manual scrubbing to remove any stuck-on food.
    • Sprinkler system: In-ground sprinkler systems require high pressure to water your lawn adequately and evenly. Low water pressure could lead to insufficient watering, leaving you with dead grass, depending on rain conditions and temperatures.
    • Multiple fixtures at once: Perhaps the most annoying thing about low water pressure is the inability to use more than one fixture at the same time. You might find yourself waiting for an hour or more for the laundry to finish before you can shower or asking family members to stop using water so you can do the dishes.

    What Can Affect Your Home’s Water Pressure?

    There are a few things that can harm the water pressure in your home, which can make diagnosing the problem challenging. Below are the most common culprits for low water pressure in homes.

    • Mineral buildup: Minerals in your water — mostly calcium and magnesium — can build up inside your pipes, reducing the flow rate to your fixtures and appliances. This is a challenging issue to diagnose and may require a plumber’s help.
    • Old or broken fixtures: If you have pressure problems with just one plumbing fixture in your home, it could be the fixture itself. Try replacing the faucet, shower head, or whatever fixture is giving you trouble to see if the problem goes away.
    • Plumbing leaks: If you have leaks in your water supply lines, they could cause natural drops in pressure to your fixtures. Leaks can form from corrosion or deterioration inside your water pipes, which are more common in older homes. If you shut off all fixtures and still see your water meter spinning, you might have a leak somewhere.
    • Pressure-reducing valve: Some homes have a pressure-reducing valve attached to or near the water main to prevent water pressure from getting too high. You might need to adjust this valve if it’s set too low.
    • Water delivery issues: The low-pressure problem may stem from your municipal water provider. Water pressure naturally dips if water travels long distances or uphill to your home. If your neighbors also have low pressure, this is likely the problem.
    • Well pump: If you’re instead connected to a private well, then the performance of your well pump might be the reason for your pressure issue. This could be the problem if you’re on a well and have low pressure throughout your entire home and not just with one fixture.

    3 Ways to Fix Common Causes of Low Water Pressure Around Your Home

    Depending on the underlying cause of your low water pressure, three relatively easy DIY solutions can help. We’ll include a quick look at these options in the table below and then go into more detail in the following sections.

    MethodEffectivenessEaseAverage CostTools and Materials Needed
    Adjust Pressure Reducing ValveModerateVery easy$0None
    Repair Any Pinhole LeaksModerateEasy$15 – $150+Pipe repair kit
    Replace Your Damaged FixtureHighFairly easy$50 – $200+New fixture, plumber’s wrench, Teflon tape, caulk

    Adjust Your Pressure Reducing Valve

    • Effectiveness: Moderate
    • Ease: Very easy
    • Average cost: $0
    • Tools & materials needed: Water pressure tester

    One of the easiest ways to solve a low water pressure issue is to adjust your pressure-reducing valve. Some homes have these valves installed on or near the water meter, where your water supply enters your home. The valve aims to reduce pressure in areas that might be too high, potentially increasing the risk of pipe breaks and pinhole leaks.

    If you have a pressure-reducing valve or notice that your water main isn’t entirely open, you can follow the steps below to solve the problem quickly.

    • Step 1 — Locate the valve: First, you’ll need to find the valve in your home. If you have a basement or crawlspace, chances are your water supply enters through the foundation wall at some point. You should see a pipe coming in connected to your water main, which has a reading on it. The valve is usually located near the main, and the valve you’re looking for might be on the main itself. If you don’t have a basement or crawlspace, the water main probably comes up through your slab. Check along the front side of your house near any major plumbing fixtures, like your kitchen sink.
    • Step 2 — Open the valve: If you locate the valve and find that it’s not opened all the way, go ahead and open it. For the valve to be fully opened, the handle usually needs to be in line with the pipe to which it’s attached.
    • Step 3 — Test your water pressure: Once you open the valve, check your water pressure using a pressure tester. You can purchase one from a home improvement store if you don’t have one. The point of a pressure-reducing valve is to ensure your pressure doesn’t get too high. Adjust and test until your pressure reads between 60 and 70 psi (pounds per square inch).
    Pressure Reducing Valve
    Credit: PXFuel

    Repair Any Pinhole Leaks

    • Effectiveness: Moderate
    • Ease: Easy
    • Average cost: $15 – $150+
    • Tools & materials needed: Pipe repair kit

    If you suspect or confirm that plumbing leaks are your issue and believe they’re minor, you can repair them yourself using a pipe repair kit. Before we explain how to use these kits, it’s important to know that this is not a permanent fix. It can hold up for years without any issues, but eventually, you will need a plumber to repair the leak for good. Additionally, this fix is only recommended for pinhole leaks. Larger leaks require the attention of a professional plumber in most cases.

    If you’re comfortable with a temporary fix, follow the steps below.

    • Step 1 — Locate the pinhole leak: Your first step will be locating the plumbing leak. This can be a challenging process, and you might need to rely on wet sheetrock, mold growth behind your walls, or discoloration on visible pipes to indicate where the leak is.
    • Step 2 — Shut off the water and drain the affected pipe: Before you work on any plumbing pipe, you should shut off the water and drain the pipe. To do this, turn off the water main in your home. Next, turn on faucets that are below the level of the leak. For example, if your identified leak is on the second floor, open the faucets on the first floor until they stop letting out water. This will cause the water in your system to drain, emptying the leaking pipe and relieving water pressure inside.
    • Step 3 — Apply the pipe patch: Next, apply the pipe patch over the pinhole leak. You’ll need to follow the manufacturer’s directions, as every kit is slightly different. Those that involve patches usually require you to roughen the surface with coarse sandpaper, clean the copper, apply the patch or repair putty, and wait for it to set, according to the directions.
    • Step 4 — Turn the water back on and check again for leaks: Finally, close the fixtures you opened previously and slowly turn the water back on. We recommend having someone check for any remaining leaks as you turn the water main back on and keeping an eye on the area for a few days before sealing up the wall opening.

    If you need additional guidance, the video below shows how a pipe repair kit can be used:

    Replace Your Damaged Fixture

    • Effectiveness: High
    • Ease: Fairly easy
    • Average cost: $50 – $200+
    • Tools & materials needed: New fixture, plumber’s wrench, Teflon tape, caulk

    If you notice that you only have low pressure with one fixture — or certain ones — in your home, your issue might be old, damaged, or clogged fixtures. Luckily, replacing a single fixture is a relatively easy DIY home improvement project. You can follow the steps below to fix the issue.

    • Step 1 — Identify the problem fixture: It’s usually obvious which fixture or fixtures in your home are experiencing low pressure, as they give you a problem. If you live in an older home, you might want to check all the fixtures to see if others need replacement.
    • Step 2 — Shut off the water to the fixture: If you identify a sink faucet with low pressure, you can shut off the water to the faucet by turning off the speedy valve underneath the sink. If your problem is with a shower head, you might need to turn your water main off to prevent water from getting to the fixture. Always test to make sure the water is off before removing the fixture.
    • Step 3 — Remove the old fixture: Once you’re sure the water is off, you can remove the old fixture. For a sink faucet, you’ll usually have to score the caulk around the base, unscrew the braided supply hoses from underneath, and unscrew the mounting nuts from the underside of the countertop. You should be able to lift the old fixture to remove it completely. You can finish by scraping any excess caulk off the countertop. For a shower head, you can usually cut the caulk around the base, remove the base cap, and then unscrew the shower head.
    • Step 4 — Install the new fixture using Teflon tape: Now that you have the old fixture out, you can install the new one by taking the above steps in reverse. For a sink faucet, first screw on the mounting nuts to hold the fixture in place. Next, wrap the speedy valve threads with Teflon tape, and then screw on the braided supply hoses to the new fixture. Make sure to tighten the supply hoses without over-tightening. You might also want to consider replacing the hose altogether to prevent leaks. Wrap the threads with Teflon tape for a shower head, then screw on the new shower head.
    • Step 5 — Check for leaks and proper functionality: Next, you can slowly turn the speedy valve or water main back on and check for water leaks around the connections. We recommend leaving the fixture for a few minutes and then using a paper towel to check for moisture around the joints. Turn on the fixture to ensure it’s working properly.
    • Step 6 — Apply caulk to seal around the fixture if necessary: Finally, reapply caulk around either the base of the faucet or the base cap of the shower head. Let the caulk dry according to the manufacturer’s directions.

    Compare Quotes From Professional Plumbers

    Enter your zip code

    What Is the Optimal Water Pressure for Homes?

    Anything between 30 and 80 psi is considered normal for a standard home, although 30 is considered annoyingly low by many homeowners. Since low water pressure can be a bother and high water pressure can cause damage to your pipes, maintaining a psi between 60 and 70 is usually considered ideal.

    Remember, though, that water pressure can vary naturally based on your living conditions and location. We’ll include a brief list of factors that can contribute to good water pressure in different situations.

    • Rural areas: If you live in a less-populated area but are still connected to a municipal water system, chances are your water travels long distances to get to your home. If that’s the case, your pressure is naturally going to be lower. In many rural areas, a water pressure between 30 and 50 is considered good, while under 30 psi is low.
    • Homes at an elevation: If you live high above sea level, the decrease in atmospheric pressure will cause a decrease in water pressure in your pipes. In homes well above sea level, a lower psi between 30 and 50 might be considered good, much like in a rural area. Similarly, this lower psi may be the best possible if your home is above your water source. If your public water needs to travel uphill to your home, a lower pressure will be considered normal.
    • Apartment buildings: For similar reasons, water pressure in apartment buildings can vary quite a bit, even among units in a single building. Units higher up will usually see lower pressures due to the force of gravity affecting the flow through the supply pipes. Psi ratings in the 30s and 40s aren’t uncommon on those upper floors. Some building owners will increase overall pressure to get sufficient pressure on the top floors. This can lead to above-average pressure on the lower floors, sometimes reaching that 80 psi mark or slightly higher.
    • Home age: Older pipes are more prone to corrosion, which means a higher chance of leaks forming, especially under high pressure. If you have an older home with an aging plumbing system, you might want to consider adjusting your pressure-reducing valve to get your pressure down to between 40 and 60 psi. This will relieve some pressure inside your pipes and help reduce the risk of plumbing damage.

    Check Your Home’s Water Pressure and Flow Rate

    Ignoring your home’s water pressure and flow rate can lead to some major plumbing problems. Low pressure is more of a nuisance than anything else, but undiagnosed high pressure or high flow rate can lead to serious issues with your plumbing system, including an increased risk of leaks, damage to appliances, and more.

    Water pressure in your system is the force the water exerts against the insides of your plumbing pipes. Flow rate is the rate at which water flows through your system or a fixture. The two are directly correlated but not always linearly. Some things — like pipe diameter and system age — that change how pressure affects flow rate. Generally speaking, though, the higher your water pressure, the higher your flow rate will be.

    Below, we’ll detail the steps to conduct a pressure test to make sure the pressure is within the normal range.

    • Step 1 — Purchase a pressure gauge: First, you’ll need to buy a pressure gauge specifically made for testing the water pressure in your home. You can typically find these in your local home improvement store or on Amazon.
    • Step 2 — Connect your gauge to a hose bib: Given the connection on the pressure gauge, it’s easiest to hook it up to an outdoor hose bib or outdoor faucet. Make sure the water running to your hose is off, then unscrew it and screw on the pressure gauge.
    • Step 3 — Turn on the hose bib: Next, you’ll need to turn the hose bib on by opening the valve. Before you do, though, make sure all other fixtures in your home are off. Otherwise, you won’t get an accurate reading.
    • Step 4 — Take the reading: Once the needle settles, you’ll have your home water pressure reading. Ideally, it will be between 50 and 60 psi, but anywhere between 30 and 80 psi is considered normal.

    Testing flow rate is a little different and more involved. We’ll explain how to test your flow rate in the steps below.

    • Step 1 — Get a 1-gallon bucket: A 1-gallon bucket is the most accurate way to get a flow rate reading. These are available from hardware stores or online retailers.
    • Step 2 — Fill the bucket in your tub: Next, place the bucket under the faucet in your tub, and get ready to start a timer. At the same time, turn the water on all the way—cold water is best, as hot water needs to travel first through your water heater—and start the timer.
    • Step 3 — Record your time: When the bucket is entirely full, stop the timer and turn the water off. Your recorded time is how long it takes for a single gallon to flow out of your faucet.
    • Step 4 — Do some math: Divide 60 by the recorded number you get in seconds. For example, if the bucket filled in 15 seconds, then 60 divided by 15 would be four, meaning your flow rate is four gallons of water per minute. Ideally, your flow rate will be between six and 12 gallons per minute.

    3 Options to Upgrade Your Plumbing System for Higher Water Pressure

    If your water pressure or flow rate is suboptimal, you can make a few upgrades to your plumbing system to improve it. We’ll list three of the best options below. Just remember that these should all be done by a professional and shouldn’t be DIY projects.

    Install a Pressure Booster

    • Effectiveness: High
    • Ease: Easy
    • Average cost: $800 – $1,200
    • Tools & Materials Needed: Recommended for professionals only

    A pressure booster is a pump that forces water from your main water supply through your plumbing system, artificially increasing your water pressure and flow rate. This can be a suitable option if the water pressure from your supply is decent, but you’re still noticing low pressure throughout your home.

    Since installing a booster involves fully draining your plumbing system, cutting into your main line, and installing an in-line water pressure booster pump, we recommend hiring a professional for this installation.

    Increase Your Pipe Diameter

    • Effectiveness: High
    • Ease: Very difficult
    • Average cost: $5,000 – $15,000+
    • Tools & Materials Needed: Recommended for professionals only

    Past households didn’t have the same water demands as modern ones, so if you have multiple people living in your home and the water pressure isn’t enough to keep up with use, installing larger pipes throughout your home can fix the problem permanently.

    Modernizing your home in this way means draining your plumbing system, accessing the pipes behind your walls, cutting them out, and replacing them. We strongly recommend not taking this project on yourself, as it is very involved and time-consuming, and the risk of leaking from a DIY replacement is high.

    Additionally, a certified plumber should be able to determine which specific pipes should be replaced to maximize the positive effect on your overall water pressure and keep costs down.

    Install a Water Softener

    • Effectiveness: Moderate
    • Ease: Moderate
    • Average cost: $1,000 – $5,000
    • Tools & Materials Needed: Recommended for professionals only

    If your low water pressure stems from mineral deposits in your pipes, then installing a water softener can somewhat reverse the problem and prevent it from worsening in the future. A water softener uses resin beads to pull minerals out of your hard water and replaces them with salt. The result is softened water that won’t leave calcium, magnesium, or other minerals or sediment on the inner walls of your pipes to decrease the flow rate.

    Water softeners require cutting into your plumbing — usually your main line — mounting the softener and checking levels to ensure proper functionality. This is another upgrade we recommend having a professional do. Thankfully, a water softener will continue to prevent mineral buildup and consequential low water pressure.

    When Is It Time to Call a Plumber for Water Pressure Issues?

    Some of the things that can cause water pressure problems can be dealt with safely without calling in a certified plumber. These include things like patching minor pinhole leaks, adjusting water pressure regulators, and replacing fixtures that are damaged or clogged. However, we strongly recommend calling in a professional if the required fix is more involved. Generally speaking, if you need to cut into your plumbing pipes for any reason, we suggest hiring a professional.

    Not only can plumbing issues demand expertise to deal with properly, but failing to hire a plumber when you should could cause issues with any homeowner’s insurance claim you need to make for damages. If you’re in doubt about your ability to handle the project, it’s well worth the investment to have a professional plumber come in and help.

    Compare Quotes From Professional Plumbers

    Enter your zip code

    We get a lot of questions about low home water pressure, as it’s quite a common problem. We’ll provide answers to some of the questions we see most often below.

    FAQs About Increasing Water Pressure Around the Home

    How can I increase the water pressure of my shower head?

    Low water pressure in your shower head could be caused by mineral buildup in the head itself. The easiest fix is to replace the fixture, which involves the following steps:

    • Step 1: Shut the water off to your shower, which usually needs to be done at the water main.
    • Step 2: Use a utility knife to score any caulk attaching the shower head base to the tub surround. Then, use a plumber’s wrench to unscrew the old shower head.
    • Step 3: Remove any Teflon tape from the connection, wrap the threads with new Teflon tape, and then screw on the new shower head.
    • Step 4: Slowly turn the water back on and check for leaks.
    • Step 5: Re-caulk around the shower head base and let dry before using your shower.

    How can I increase the water pressure of my garden hose?

    Boosting water pressure to a garden hose is usually pretty simple. Provided you know the pressure in the rest of your house is good, you can follow the steps below to fix your problem:

    • Step 1: The simplest solution is to check for dirt buildup inside your hose attachment. Remove the hose from the bib, check the inside of the hose, remove any gunk, and replace to check the pressure. It’s worth checking the hose for kinks as well, as this is a common reason for low pressure in garden hoses.
    • Step 2: If that’s not the issue, head inside and make sure the shut-off valve for your hose bib is all the way open. This water valve should be shut during the winter, so you might not have opened it all the way leading into the spring. The valve handle should be perfectly in line with the pipe.
    • Step 3: Next, you can buy a shorter hose. Just like water getting delivered to your home, water traveling over long distances through a hose will naturally drop in pressure. A shorter hose could solve your issue.
    • Step 4: Finally, you can try buying a high-pressure hose attachment. These work by restricting the flow rate of your water to increase pressure artificially.

    How can I increase the water pressure of my kitchen or bathroom faucet?

    There are a few solutions for low water pressure in a sink faucet:

    • Step 1: First, we recommend checking to see if your aerator is the problem. The aerator is a small screw-on cap through which the water flows from the bottom of the faucet, and a clog can easily form due to mineral buildup, especially if you have hard water. If you unscrew it and find that the pressure issue is resolved, then you can simply buy a new aerator and screw it in.
    • Step 2: Next, we suggest replacing the supply lines under your sink. This should cost you around $10 to $20, so it’s a relatively cheap solution if it does fix the problem. Simply shut the water at your speedy valve, unscrew the supply lines, and replace them with new braided hoses. You should tighten them with a wrench, but make sure not to over-tighten.
    • Step 3: Next, we suggest checking for leaks. Even seemingly minor leaks under the sink in question can lead to a local drop in water pressure. You can check for moisture or water under your sink, and mold growth in or around the vanity or kitchen cabinet could be a sign of a leak. We suggest calling in a plumber to fix any leaks.

    Editorial Contributors
    Dan Simms

    Dan Simms


    Dan Simms worked in real estate management for five years before using his experience to help property owners maintain their own homes. He got his master’s degree in English Literature and Creative Writing, and he now enjoys sharing his knowledge about homeownership and DIY projects with others on Today’s Homeowner. When he’s not writing, he’s usually outdoors with his wife and his dog, enjoying mountain biking, skiing, and hiking.

    Learn More

    Roxanne Downer


    Roxanne Downer is a commerce editor at Today’s Homeowner, where she tackles everything from foundation repair to solar panel installation. She brings more than 15 years of writing and editing experience to bear in her meticulous approach to ensuring accurate, up-to-date, and engaging content. She’s previously edited for outlets including MSN, Architectural Digest, and Better Homes & Gardens. An alumna of the University of Pennsylvania, Roxanne is now an Oklahoma homeowner, DIY enthusiast, and the proud parent of a playful pug.

    Learn More