Experiencing low water pressure in your home can be frustrating. And when your hot water pressure is lower than it is typically, the first thing that’s likely to be on your mind is whether your water heater can cause low water pressure. Let’s find out whether this essential household appliance can be the cause of your problems.
Will a Bad Water Heater Cause Low Water Pressure?
Low pressure in your water lines is one of the most annoyingly frustrating plumbing issues you can ever experience. Most people don’t think about their water heaters until they experience issues such as insufficient amounts of water or leakages on the tank.
However, can a ‘bad’ water heater be the cause of loss of water pressure in your home?
Before we get into the topic, we first need to understand that water pressure and water flow aren’t the same things. Here’s what you need to know:
Water flow: water flow is the amount of water coming through a pipe at a time. It’s measured in liters per second. For example, you can describe it as the amount of water you get when you do specific tasks like washing dishes or taking a shower. These tasks require your plumbing system to give you a sufficient amount of water.
Water pressure: this refers to the energy or force applied to water flow to enable it to travel through the water lines. Most times, the amount of water pressure you have resulted from gravity. It is measured in kPa or kilopascals.
What Causes a Water Heater to “Go Bad”?
You might think that your water heater has gone ‘bad’ if it isn’t regularly maintained or if it’s nearing the end of its lifespan. There are many problems that your water heater can have but it might just be time for an inspection or service. You can help your water heater work efficiently at the required pressure by flushing out buildup and sediments from the tank.
Doing this will also help to improve the quality of water you get in your home. Sediments that have to travel through the pipes from the heater may increase friction inside the pipes and increase the risk of clogs and blockages in other parts of your plumbing system. Here’s what you need to do to flush your water heater:
- Turn off the power or gas supply to the heater.
- Keep the cold water feed to the tank on since it will help you get rid of the sediments while you empty the tank.
- Get a long hose and connect it to the hose bib (drain faucet). Place the other end of the hose in an area where it can drain safely and open the hose bib.
- Keep flushing until you see clean water coming from the end in the drain area. Make sure you complete this process at least once each year.
Keep in mind that while flushing can seem like an easy DIY project, it’s always best to get in touch with an experienced and licensed plumber to conduct annual water heater maintenance.
A professional plumber will perform the flush and inspect your entire plumbing system. They will also evaluate the condition of your water heater, check the thermostat and the pressure relief valve.
What Causes a Hot Water Heater to Lose Pressure?
Heated hot water leaving the water heater should have the same pressure and energy as cold water. If this isn’t happening, the pipes from the water heater running to the rest of the house or the water heater itself could have a problem. There are many common water heater issues that could be the source of the problem.
Knowing where the problem lies is vital. Replacing your water heater only to find that the issue still exists due to water line clogs or corrosion doesn’t make sense. Below are some issues that could be making your water heater lose pressure.
- Buildup of hard water in the pipes can prevent water flow in and out of the tank and result in low water pressure.
- If there’s an accumulation of sediments in your hot water tank, it can lower your water pressure.
- The presence of kinks in the flexible water pipes used in water heaters can result in low water pressure.
- If the shut-off valve isn’t fully open, water pressure can drop.
- Small water distribution pipes will prevent adequate water pressure from getting to the water lines in your house.
- Maintaining optimal water pressure from the hot water heater to the faucet can be difficult if there are too many sharp bends within that distance.
- If pressure from the city to your house is too low, both the hot and cold water will lose pressure.
Can a Water Heater Cause Low Pressure in Both Hot and Cold Water?
Your water heater can cause low pressure in both the hot and cold water fixtures in your home. One example we’ve previously given of this is when the water coming to your house from the city is too low. Here are other reasons to explain low water pressure in both your cold and hot water faucets.
- Hard water buildup: your water heater and connecting pipes are susceptible to mineral and sediment buildup over time. Mineral and sediment buildup can take up too much space and restrict water flow. The flow of water in and out of your water heater is compromised depending on the location of buildup.
- Water heater valve: your water heater comes connected to a shut-off valve. If this valve is opened fully or is closed, you will experience low water pressure. Turning the water heater valve to open fully can remedy the situation and return your water pressure to normal.
Keep in mind that water heaters can be dangerous, especially since they generate a lot of pressure. If yours must be repaired, let a plumbing expert do it. They are knowledgeable about water heaters and how to prevent accidents from such repairs.
Will a Hot Water Heater Lose Pressure Suddenly?
Usually, the hot water pressure will lose pressure over time if there’s mineral or sediment clogging in your plumbing system. If this is the issue, the hot water pressure will be much lower than the cold water pressure. Nevertheless, there’s a reason why you experience a sudden loss of hot water pressure.
There could be a valve problem or blockage in your water piping. If cold water flows as it should, but the hot water stops suddenly, a valve may have a broken stem part. When this happens, the valve looks open externally but has an issue internally. Another issue is that the control valve may be closed. Lastly, sudden hot water pressure loss may be caused by a blocked pipe elbow or valve. The blockage could be a result of mineral scale or other debris in your tank or plumbing system.
Hot Water Heater Repair at White’s Plumbing
If you are having issues with your hot water heater, it may be time to call the professionals. If you are experiencing any of the issues mentioned above, be sure to reach out to White’s Plumbing for plumbing repair and maintenance.