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Last updated: 26th October, 2022


How Can I Increase My Water Pressure

How Can I Increase My Water Pressure

Having a low water pressure in your home can be frustrating and inconvenient.

Having a low water pressure in your home can be frustrating and inconvenient. Baths can take too long to fill, taps produce a mere trickle and showers just aren’t as enjoyable. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take to increase your water pressure.

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Mains Water Pressure

Your home’s mains water pressure is down to the overall pressure in your area. For the most part, water pressure is then determined by two things: distance and gravity.

If the water needs to travel a long distance uphill to your home, your pressure won’t be as strong as someone whose water only needs to travel a short distance downhill. People who live on the upper floors of taller buildings such as blocks of flats often experience low water pressure because of this.

Often an unexpected drop in pressure could mean that there are some building or water works going on in your area. You can check the United Utilities Current Incidents page on their website as this can show you where there are any current pressure problems in the UK, the status of the problem and when you can expect it to return to normal.

You can also receive a free survey from your local water board who will be able to investigate your low pressure for you and usually provide a solution.

According to WaterSafe, your water supplier must provide a minimum mains water pressure of 1 bar (10 meters/head ) as part of their statutory service, meaning there is enough force/pressure to push the water to a height of 10m.

Boiler Pressure

Boiler pressure refers to the water pressure within the boiler. The balance of water and air, within the machine, determines the boiler's pressure and these needs to be kept at a reasonable level to ensure that the boiler is gas safe, which is extremely important for your safety, and working well.

If you have a combi boiler, it is essential that you make sure your pressure is maintained between 1 and 2 bars to prevent problems such as overheating or damage to the boiler and system occurring.

Generally, boiler pressure should be between 1-1.5 bars when the central heating is turned off and 1-2 bars when the central heating is turned on as heat causes the water to expand and increase in pressure, though it is always worth checking your boiler pressure gauge’s ‘green range’ or the manufacturer’s guide for your boiler’s specific requirements.

If the pressure needle is above or below this range, you’ll either need to lower or top up your boiler pressure.

Myth - A Higher kW Boiler Increases My Water Pressure?

FALSE. The size of the boiler in kilowatt (kW) defines how much energy your boiler outputs in the form of heat. This affects how much water can be heated in your home, not the speed or pressure of it. The more heat and hot water you require for your home, the higher the kW boiler you will need.

How to Check Water Pressure

To begin with, the first thing you should do is check your home’s water pressure. The simplest method just requires a one litre jug and a timer.

  • First, ensure all your appliances e.g. washing machine and dishwasher are turned off and that all other taps aren’t running.

  • Then, fully turn on the cold kitchen tap so it is on full power and time how long it takes to fill up the 1L jug.

  • If it takes longer than seven seconds to fill up the jug, this indicates you have an issue with your water pressure.

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How to Increase Water Pressure

Open the Supply Valve

One possible cause of your low water pressure is if your water mains valve isn’t fully open which can reduce the rate at which water flows through your pipes. To fix this, locate your main valve (this can usually be found near the water meter) and simply make sure it is fully open to allow the water to pass through easily.

Check Your System for Leaks

If your supply valve is fully open and you are still having trouble with low water pressure, you may have a leak somewhere in your system. Check your system for leaks around pipes and appliances. This can also be made easier by using your water meter if you have one.

If your meter continues to spin once all of your water appliances are turned off, this means water is still being used somewhere.

If you don’t have a water meter, other signs of a leak are if your water bills are significantly increasing despite consuming your regular amount and damp patches or mould on your ceilings, walls and floors. Alternatively, the leak may be coming from your water supplier’s network.

Even the smallest of leaks can cause a significant drop in water pressure and they can lead to other more serious problems such as damp and damage to your home if left untreated. This is why you should call out United Utilities to conduct a free survey on your home to check for any problems on their end.

If they cannot resolve the issue, it is definitely worth calling a plumber to check your home if you think you may have a leak.

Unblock Your Pipes

Blocked pipes could be responsible for a drop in water pressure as this could stop water from being able to flow through easily. If your water pressure is fine with some taps but weak with others, you may have a localised block. It is also common for water pressure to be fine initially but then slow to a trickle with localised blocks. If this is the case, you will likely need to call out a plumber to unblock this for you.

Modern mixer taps also become blocked easily due to a buildup of limescale on the filter in the head of the tap. You can remove the buildup easily by giving the filter a good soak and a gentle clean with a soft toothbrush and some citric acid.

Install a Booster Pump

If you have taken all previous steps and are still experiencing problems with your water pressure, your home may just need a helpful boost.

Thankfully, you can somewhat resolve this issue by installing a booster pump. This works by repressurising the water. However, it’s important to note that if you do install a booster pump, it must adhere to Water Regulations and be approved by the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme. One downside to this solution is that booster pumps can be expensive, however, if you frequently find yourself frustrated with your water pressure then this could certainly be a worthwhile investment.

For more information and advice, please visit our FAQs or check out some of our other useful guides.

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Article by
Stephen Day | Co-founder
Gas Safe registered and FGAS certified engineer with over 20 years experience in the heating and cooling industry.