How to increase the water pressure in your boiler
Have you turned on your shower to find only a weak trickle of water? Or perhaps you have a pile of dishes to clean and you’re struggling to get enough water from your taps to clean them? It’s possible you’ve got low water pressure which can be very frustrating.
There are multiple reasons why you might be experiencing low water pressure and this can be due to problems within your home as well as some external factors such as the location of the property and the distance from the service reservoir. You might also notice some fluctuations in the pressure throughout the day and this can be due to demand.
Low water pressure isn’t as much of an issue as high water pressure, but it can affect appliances in your home including your heating system. It can also affect the ability to do daily tasks such as showering and cleaning. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take within your home to improve it.
Testing your water pressure
Testing your water pressure is quick and easy and you don’t need a qualified heating engineer to do it. All you need is a 1-2 litre measuring jug, a calculator and a timer to test it.
Step 1: Put the measuring jug under the tap or shower head you want to test.
Step 2: Set your timer to 6 seconds and start it at the same time you start running the water on full.
Step 3: Stop the water when the timer goes off.
Step 4: Multiply the volume of water in litres by 10 (e.g. 0.8 litres = 8 litres per minute).
The ideal water pressure should be above 15 litres per minute. Anything between 10 and 15 is considered satisfactory. If it’s below 10 litres per minute this indicates that you have low water pressure.
Identifying the problem
Now you’ve tested your water pressure, there are a few things you can do before investing in new equipment or calling on a plumbing professional.
Locate the problem
You’ll want to investigate whether the issue is localised to one area of your home or if it’s affecting the whole property. To do this, you need to test every tap and shower head in your home using the method above. If the issue is only occurring in one area, your showerhead or water outlet may be blocked or faulty. Sometimes limescale can build up and cause blockages, particularly in areas with hard water. We would recommend cleaning your taps and showerheads regularly to ensure they’re working efficiently.
If the issue is occurring in multiple places around your home, then you’ll need to carry out further checks.
Check your inside stop valve
Your inside stop valve, also known as a stop tap or stop cock, is used to turn the water supply to your property on and off. It is usually located near the water meter under the kitchen sink but can also be found in a kitchen cupboard, a basement, under the stairs or in the garage or utility room.
If you’ve just moved house and noticed the water pressure is low, this could be the cause. When people vacate a property, they sometimes switch this valve off. You should be able to switch this valve on and off with no issues. However, if you’re finding it difficult, it’s best to contact a professional plumber as the valve may have seized.
Check for leaks
Once you’ve ruled out the first two steps, the next thing you’ll need to do is check for leaks. This can easily be done by using your water meter. Start by switching off all your taps and appliances that use water. Next, take a look at your water meter. If you find it’s ticking over, this could indicate that there is a leak somewhere in your home.
If you don’t have a water meter, you can check for signs of mould or dampness on walls and in areas such as underneath the sink and toilets. If you do suspect any leaks, we’d always recommend contacting your local Glow-worm installer to investigate.
Solutions for low mains water pressure
If you’ve followed all the steps above and you’re still experiencing low water pressure, the issue could be due to external factors with the mains water supply. The location of your property and demand. If you are experiencing low mains water pressure, there are some steps you can take to increase it.
Replace taps and shower heads
There are taps and shower heads on the market designed to work specifically with low water pressure. They help by spraying the water out with more force giving you the feeling of more pressure without actually using more water. This could also help you reduce your water consumption helping you to reduce the cost of your water bills. The Energy Saving Trust suggests you could save £45 on your water bill (if metered) and £55 on energy bills annually by making this simple swap.
Install a mains water booster pump
If you’re looking for a longer-term investment, you could consider the installation of a mains water booster pump to increase the water pressure before it enters your home. They work by drawing water into a chamber which engages a set of impellers that spin at a high rate. The pressured water then enters your home plumbing system.
If you choose to have a mains water booster pump installed, it’s important to note that certain regulations need to be met. As mains water pressure can vary throughout the day, a suitable pump must be fitted to ensure it can handle these fluctuations. Water regulations state that water pumped from the mains must not exceed 12 litres per minute. For this reason, we would recommend only installing a pump that has been approved under the Water Regulations Approval Scheme. For further advice, contact your local Glow-worm Installer.
Consider replacing your boiler
If you are struggling with low water pressure, you might need to take a look at what type of boiler you have installed. Both combi and system boilers need a minimum pressure within the system to work. If the pressure drops below a certain level, the system will not fire. If you have either of these types of boilers and think you are experiencing low water pressure, we’d recommend contacting your local Glow-worm installer and they’ll be able to advise on the options available.
Looking for a new boiler for your home?
Glow-worm manufactures and supplies a complete range of heat only boilers designed to accommodate homes with low water pressure. Take a look at our heat only boilers page for more information.