Troubleshooting Low Hot Water Pressure

Troubleshooting Low Hot Water Pressure
January 10, 2013 Lorelie
Low Hot Water Pressure

Low Hot Water Pressure

If your water heating unit is delivering low hot water pressure as compared to how it used to, there may be several things that is causing the problem. This would be from the weakening of the initial water pressure from your local water provider, to the clogging of the piping system of your home – something often seen with older homes that use galvanized pipes.  However, if the main reason for losing hot water only involves the hot water side of your water piping system, particularly if the problem is localized only on a specific hot water tap, then the problem lies either in the fixture or the pipes that supply hot water to that fixture.

The truth is problem such as these often occur on areas that have ‘hard’ water – a condition wherein water contains a high degree of minerals.  This type of problem can easily be spotted through simple visual inspections, particularly on the showerhead as it will have some type of white stain buildup near surrounding the holes.  If this is the type of problem that you encounter, then simply cleaning the showerhead using a solution of warm water and vinegar will resolve the hot water pressure problem.  If the sink faucet is your problem, try cleaning out its internal aerators which can be found near the tip of the fixture.

If cleaning does not work, you may need to do some repairing.  If you have a single handle faucet that handles both cold and hot water, place the handle in the off position then remove the handle.  Once that is done, remove the retaining collar, then the ball cartridge, and finally the washers and springs.  Now try to flush the faucet by turning on the hot water tap on and off several times.  After that, try flushing it using the cold water tap this time.  Once you’re done flushing, reassemble the parts and the faucet will likely be working fine by now.

If you are having low hot water pressure on the line that goes into your clothes washer, you should try cleaning the screen located at the back of the washer which is intended to catch debris from going into the system of the clothes washer.  This can be done by first shutting off the hot water tap so you can safely remove the hose.  Once the hose has been removed, try to remove the screen out of the hot water inlet using a screwdriver so you can properly clean it.  Once it has been cleaned, place it back in its position and attach the hot water hose to the hot water inlet.  If your hot water hose also come with its own screen, mostly connected on the head, remove the screen, clean it, and place it back.

Localized hot water problems are the easiest to resolve.  However, if the whole house lacks hot water pressure, then the likely problem revolves around the water heater.  Whether you like it or not, the pressure of the hot water is determined by the pressure delivered by the cold water.  The principle is, hot water, when distributed around the house, should have the same pressure as the cold water.  If both your cold water tap and hot water tap don’t exhibit the same water pressure, then the problem may lie within the valves or the pipes, particularly galvanized pipes used on older houses.  The problem with galvanized pipes is that they corrode over time and the only solution for corroded galvanized pipes would be replacing them.

If the whole house has low hot water pressure and there is nothing wrong with the pipes, then the problem may lie within the water heater unit itself.  If you have an old storage tank-type water heating unit, then your water heating unit may have accumulated lime, rust, and other debris that may cause some type of blockage.  For this reason, it is recommended to flush your water heater every three months as part of your unit’s regular maintenance.  However, if you are not familiar with flushing your water heater, you may need to contact a local plumbing service to do that for you, or if you are confident with your DIY skills, just look at instructional videos and manuals that will teach you how to flush your storage tank water heater properly.

If you will be doing the flushing yourself, try to observe the color of the water running from the drain valve.  The water will likely run red for a while should there be any blockage and this will slowly clear once the blockage has been cleared.  You can now turn the drain valve back into its off position and hopefully the problem becomes fixed.

Another problem may involve the shut-off valve that feeds hot water into the house.  Although the shut off valve indicates that it is in the open position, it is possible that it is broken and requires replacing.  To do this, you will need to shut off the main valve that feeds the tank with cold water, drain the tank out, then replace the faulty shut-off valve.

There may be another problem that causes low pressure with your hot water.  This may be the age of your storage tank water heater.  If your water heating unit has passed its operating life, then it is high time that you replace it as not only will it be unable to provide you with your hot water needs, but it also is inefficient making it consume more energy as compared to how it used to.  This is because with age, the amount of lime and sediment buildup at the bottom of the tank will be great and maintaining the unit is no longer recommended.  In fact, retaining the unit as compared to getting a new one may cost you more money in the long run, along with frequent breakdowns and headaches.  The best move to do if you have an aged and inefficient storage tank water heater would be to replace it with a newer and more efficient model.

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