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When updating a pipe system, many contractors and homeowners look for ways to increase or decrease the pressure of the system. One way to do this is to change the pipe size.
Water pressure and pipe size are directly dependent on each other for water flowing in a pipe such that pressure increases in the pipeline happens when the diameter decreases. This aligns well with Bernoulli’s principle, where the velocity and pressure tend to be high in a narrower pipe.
Does Pipe Diameter Affect Pressure?
The size of the pipe diameter greatly affects the head pressure.
The rule of thumb is that when you use a pipe with a smaller diameter than the return pump, it will increase the head pressure drastically.
Thus, if you wish to attain maximum head pressure, consider using pipes with the smallest diameter possible.
Will Increasing Pipe Size Increase Water Pressure?
Water pressure and pipe size are dependent on each other in any water-flowing pipeline. According to Bernoulli’s theorem, reducing the area of conveyance causes a reduction in water pressure.
Thus, increasing the pipe size will not result in an increase in pipe pressure. Instead, the velocity of water and pressure tends to be low in wider pipes.
The variations in pipe diameter do not affect the static pressure, which is why water pressure moderately decreases whenever the connection is open. A large pipe offers minimum resistance to water flow, thus leading to a decrease in pressure.
How Do You Increase Water Pressure In A Pipe?
If only there was a way to troubleshoot your low water pressure issues, then there would be fewer household problems concerning water flow. Ending or starting your day with a weak shower can be quite ungratifying.
Nevertheless, while you can tolerate a trickle, you shouldn’t let water pressure ruin your home living experience even as you host other guests. From extensive projects to quick fixes, here are some ways to help increase water pressure in a pipe for a better water flow.
Check With Your Neighborhood
Whenever you experience low water pressure problems in your home plumbing system, try contacting your neighbors to see whether or not they are experiencing similar issues. If so, then the issue may lie with your area’s municipal water system.
Similar to your home piping, the municipal water system also experiences clogs, corrosion, leaks, and buildup, which may eventually affect the water flow.
Test The Pressure Yourself
Instead of reaching out to your local water provider, you can try testing the city water pressure on your own using a test gauge with a hose connection. To do this, connect the test gauge to a hose faucet and turn the tap on.
However, ensure that you first turn off the rest of the faucets, and taps among other water-using appliances. This includes washing machines dishwashers.
Many experts agree that 60 psi as the ideal reading, however a range from 40 to 60 is considered normal water pressure. While anything lower than 40 might showcase a low-pressure issue.
On the other hand, a reading of 80 or above is considered to be too high. After taking the reading and either confirmed or ruled out a citywide problem, you can decide the next step to take.
Clear The Clogs
It is common for the pipe to fill with a buildup of mineral deposits over time. Thus, the pipes’ diameter may decrease in extreme cases and become clogged. As a result, this may prevent the water from flowing freely through the pipe. This means that you will have to bear with a pitiful trickle in the shower or a paltry drip from the faucet.
If the case is too extreme, you will have no other alternative but to replace the pipe sections where the clogs are likely to have occurred.
However, some cases might only require you to dissolve the minerals that gum up the works in your showerheads and faucet fixtures.
To do this, put an open vinegar-full Ziploc bag over your faucet or showerhead. You can use some string to tie it in place and leave it overnight to soak.
Afterward, rinse off the fittings before putting your bathroom back together. If this fix doesn’t seem to do the trick, this might be a sign of a more severe mineral clog inside the pipes. In this case, you’ll need to seek the services of a certified plumber to assess and attempt to correct the issue.
This fix may require more than a few minutes of investigative work. Your home features the main water valve, probably located near the meter, which controls water flow in the pipes. Locate the valves and determine whether it is fully open.
Occasionally, the valve may accidentally turn during routine maintenance and repairs without your knowledge.
For instance, if the drop in pressure in your pipe coincides with recent works carried out in your home, the contractor might have turned off the main water supply after completing the job, only to reopen the valve partially.
As a result, this led to a restricted water flow and reduced pressure as well. Luckily, adjusting the valve is quite easy, and you can do it yourself without help from an experienced plumber.
Replace The Regulator
If your home relies on public water, it probably has a regulator located either where the service line goes into the home or at the meter.
A bad regulator eventually results in a gradual drop in water pressure, which results in a loss in velocity, which affects most of the fixtures in your home.
A solution to this problem entails resetting or replacing the regulator. I recommend that you hire a professional plumber to carry out this work for you. If you fail to find a certified plumber within your area, HomeAdvisor is a great online platform that can help you find a qualified and vetted pro.
Look Out For Leaks
Damaged or cracked pipes may lead to water leaks that siphon off the water as it flows through the pipes.
In turn, it leaves you with nothing but a trickle in your tap. Fortunately, there is a seamless way to determine whether your main pipe features any major leaks.
First things first, ensure that you shut off all indoor faucets before turning off the water valve in your home.
After performing this step, take the reading of your water meter and note it down. Wait for two hours before taking the reading again. Any change in the reading is a call for you to check for and fix the leaks.
It is also important to note that the material of the pipe used determines its (pipe) level of durability. I advise you to use superior plastics such as PEX over steel and copper pipes. Unfortunately, again, this is not one of the DIY fixes.
To replace your piping system, it requires the skills of a particularly trained professional. While the project tends to be quite costly, replacing your pipes will do more than enhance pressure in the water flow, thus improving your showering experience.
Besides minimizing the possibility of leaks and enhancing pressure, swapping your old piping system for new will reduce the risk of corrosives that contaminates your drinking water.
Install A Water Pressure Booster Pump
It may turn out that the problem lies within the neighborhood. This shouldn’t surprise you since several factors, including distance and gravity, may negatively impact water pressure in pipes.
If your home water supply has to travel an uphill distance from the main water source, it is likely to suffer from a loss in pressure.
Thus, to increase the water pressure in the pipes, consider installing a water booster pump to help optimize the flow.
The pump, which costs about 100-300 USD for decent ones to upwards of 400-1000 USD for the higher end ones.
Luckily, the pumps are easy to install. The downside to this solution is that it is likely to impact hugely in your monthly electricity bill.
Since increasing the pipe size will reduce pressure, you can achieve high pressure using a narrower pipe.
Similarly, the length of the pipe also affects water pressure. Using a longer pipe eventually reduces the static pressure of the water.