Omnia Mechanical Group

571 Timpson Place Bronx, NY 10455

Phone: 212-534-2500

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Low Water Pressure in Apartment Buildings: The Best Solutions to Fix Weak Water Pressure

If you’re the owner or manager of an apartment building in New York City, you want tenants to be as happy as possible. However, low water pressure can put a crimp in that plan very quickly. In this article, we go into detail about this common problem, including the signs and causes of low water pressure, as well as how to fix low water pressure in your property.

Signs of Low Water Pressure

Don’t ignore these signs

There are many possible signs that your apartment or building has low water pressure. Some may occur simultaneously:

  • Uniform poor pressure in every unit
  • Unequal water pressure between floors (usually upper floors are worse)
  • Water pressure is better from some fixtures and weaker with others
  • Pressure drops during peak use times (before and after work)
  • Poor pressure with hot water only
  • Flow of water stops completely (may restart)

It’s important not to ignore these warnings. The reality is, little plumbing problems can quickly turn into big ones. 

If you have a tenant complaining about low water pressure, it’s wise to pay attention and have a look right away. Don’t wait until you hear from people who are all soaped up in the shower and have the water suddenly go to a trickle.

Causes of Low Water Pressure

Understand your plumbing system

Poor water pressure isn’t always caused by the same thing. Therefore, it’s essential to understand how your particular plumbing system functions. Sometimes, a little detective work, combined with knowledge of your pipes, will make it easier to figure out what’s going on. 

Some probable causes of low water pressure include:

  • Control valves closed
  • Faucet tip/aerator blocked
  • Mineral accumulation on showerheads
  • Low-flow fixtures installed for water conservation
  • Water service line from the street too small or blocked
  • Main water filter clogged
  • Galvanized pipe corrosion and scale buildup, or other similar clogs
  • Leaking pipes
  • Pressure reducing valves on lower floors not working
  • Problem with hot water boiler or its the hot water system
  • Malfunctioning water pump
  • Water pump insufficient for building size or needs
  • Newly installed backflow prevention device caused a decrease in pressure

How to Fix Low Water Pressure

Try these DIY fixes first

Most of the time you will need to call in Sanitary Plumbing or Antler Pumps to address the causes above and fix low water pressure. However, a few situations can be remedied on your own.

A faucet aerator or showerhead can be removed and checked for scale or other blockages. Often flushing the debris from these parts or replacing them entirely will solve the issue. You can also check to ensure any valves within a unit haven’t been inadvertently closed too tightly.

Sometimes a previous owner or tenant installed water-conserving fixtures that reduce pressure. Swapping these out for regular parts or green parts that aren’t so restrictive of flow should fix the problem.

Call the experts for assistance

If your low pressure is caused by other factors, you may need to consult with professionals in plumbing and/or pumps. When Sanitary Plumbing or Antler Pumps gets called in for low water pressure, we start solving the problem by getting a clear diagnostic picture of what’s going on. Is the problem building-wide, perhaps affecting only one line, certain floors, or just a single unit or fixture? These facts help us narrow down the cause. Depending on the situation, we can best determine if this is a plumbing or booster pump problem. Luckily, we are prepared in-house for both scenarios.

Too frequently, we see booster pump systems that are old, unmaintained, or filled with years of band-aids. Electrical connections are loose or frayed. Pump components, such as a starter, are long obsolete. Or, the pump itself is leaking. Many of these issues can be resolved on-site. And in the case your existing pump requires repairs, we have a full-service pump and motor repair shop in-house for emergency repairs to your existing equipment. Alternately, if your water pump is too small for your building or for the amount of water used, we can provide a properly sized solution. 

Does your building have a rooftop water tank? It might seem like a rooftop tank should make pressure better for upper floors. However, rooftop tanks use the force of gravity to aid in providing plumbing water pressure. Because that force increases as waterfalls downward, lower floors actually experience higher pressure than the uppermost stories.

To compensate for this and other discrepancies between floors, pressure reducing valves are often installed on lower floors. If these aren’t working properly, we can repair or replace them to better equalize pressure across different levels of the building.

Do you have low water pressure in your apartment building? Reach out to Antler Pumps if the cause continues to puzzle you. You can schedule a consultation by calling us at 212-534-2500 or use our easy online message form to tell us about your problem. Don’t wait until you have tenants complaining about no water in their showers! Get in touch today.

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