Under Pressure

Nothing in life is constant, and that includes water pressure.

Various things may cause low water pressure in your home, and some of these factors will be outside of your control. For example, properties with a shared mains supply experience low pressure more often than others. Beyond this, in the early morning and evening there is more demand on the water mains network, and the pressure may be lower. If you’re having problems with pressure during these times, it may be worth adjusting your schedule so that your household showers and washes up outside of these peak times. Of course, for many people this is simply not possible due to work and family commitments. Because of this, it is also important to bear in mind how the plumbing of your water pipes can affect your water pressure and flow. Part of what we do at Hedgehog Plumbing is to advise on your ideas for your bathroom, kitchen, or any other room that requires new pipework. We always strive to make things not only work, but work well. In the case of water pipes, this means ensuring that they are fitted to provide the best pressure and flow possible for the desired layout of your property.

The water pressure from the mains is usually the same for all the properties on a given street. However, flow is another factor to consider. Flow and pressure are easily confused, but are separate aspects of your water supply. Some houses have a low flow with a high pressure, or a good flow with a low pressure. Your water pipes may be restricting the maximum amount of water that can flow to your property. Factors such as corrosion in the pipes, the length of the supply pipe, a leak in the supply pipe, dents or kinks in the supply pipe, and the diameter of the supply pipe may all affect the water flow to your property. Fittings and bends in the pipework can also affect the flow. However, this last factor is less of an issue with modern water supplies.


Home Pressure/Flow Check

If you suspect you might have a problem with your water pressure or flow, there is a simple way to check this without the need for any special equipment.

Use the first tap off the supply pipe (usually this is the cold kitchen tap):

  1. Turn off all other taps and appliances that use water.

  2. Fill a 4.5 litre bucket with water.

  3. The bucket should fill in 30 seconds. If it takes longer, then you likely have a problem with either your water pressure or water flow.

    If you suspect you have a problem, it is then worth consulting with a plumber to see what – if anything – can be done to fix it.

Sometimes the issue is with the mains supply. You can speak to your neighbours to check if this is the case. Usually, if all of the houses on a street have problems with pressure, then the problem lies with the mains supply. Water companies are legally required to supply a minimum pressure of 0.7 bar to your stop tap. This works out as a pressure that will push water to a height of 7 metres. If there is suddenly not enough pressure to get water to the top of your house, it is possible there is a burst water main. You can get in touch with your water company to find out more.