It’s laundry day for your tenants but there’s one problem — water is taking forever to flow out of the faucet. Low water pressure is one of the most common plumbing issues in any South Florida rental property. As a landlord, you’re expected to stay on top of property maintenance, and this includes your rental’s plumbing systems.
Low water pressure can ruin your reputation as a landlord. To keep your tenants happy, it’s important to know how to restore a full flow of water.
Common Causes of Low Water Pressure
You don’t need to call a plumber to get to the root of your low water pressure problem. Read on to find out what may be causing your water pressure to slip below standard levels.
#1 Problems on Your Supplier’s End
Are your tenants the only ones with low water pressure? Ask them to ask their neighbors — chances are, the issue is affecting everyone. If so, contact your water supplier to find out if they’re aware of the problem. If they are, inform your tenants that the problem will be solved soon. If they aren’t, you’ll be dealing with disappointed tenants who will have to wait around for a while.
Don’t worry, though — since the situation is beyond your control, your tenants won’t be able to sue you. What’s important is that your rental’s plumbing systems are in excellent condition.
#2 Closed Main Valve
Are you sure that the main shut-off valve is open all the way? If not, ask your tenants to check the shut-off valve. This is usually located in the mechanical room or near the furnace. Unless you recently repaired your rental’s plumbing systems, this valve shouldn’t be shut. If the shut-off valve isn’t open and you haven’t had repairs, your tenants might’ve turned it off themselves.
The main shut-off valve should look something like a hose valve. If it looks like a handle, ask your tenants to ensure that its position is parallel to the pipe.
#3 Clogged Pipes
Previously, we discussed how clogs can develop in the shower drain. Well, clogs can also accumulate deep within your piping. Unfortunately, this type of clog can’t be DIY-ed. Since the clog can be located anywhere, you will need to call a professional plumber. Even if you think you know where the clog is coming from, you should never attempt to pull the pipes apart. If you’ve hired a property management company, they should be able to provide you with a list of vetted vendors.
As the landlord, it’s your duty to educate your tenants on the dos and don’ts of the plumbing system. Something as small as gum can seriously clog your pipes, so be sure to ask your tenants to treat your home as if it were their own.
#4 Corroded Pipes
Pipes don’t last forever. Eventually, your pipes will expire, and you’ll have to replumb your home. This can cost anywhere between $5,000 to $7,000.
If you don’t know when your single-family rental property was built, you should consider taking a trip to the city records office. Copper pipes usually last 50 years, while brass pipes last 40 to 70 years. Galvanized steel pipes last only 20 years.
#5 Leaky Pipes
Your basement doesn’t have to be flooded for there to be a leak. Chances are, the cause of your low water pressure is a seemingly insignificant leak.
If your tenants can pinpoint the location of the leak, the temporary remedy would be to wrap the cracked area with electrical tape and a clamp. This won’t solve the low water pressure problem, but it will prevent further damage while you wait for the plumber. If there aren’t any visible signs of a leak (e.g. pooling water), hire a plumber to inspect the home.
#6 Faulty Fixtures
When was the last time you checked your rental’s fixtures? Over time, aerators can get clogged with dirt. The reason why your rental has a low water pressure is probably that your aerators need a deep cleaning.
Fortunately, the fix for this is simple. All you need to do is to remove the aerators and get rid of any rust or residue. Screw them back on to see if there’s a noticeable change in the water pressure.
How to Improve the Water Pressure in Your Home
Now that you know what could be causing your low water pressure, it’s time to do some tinkering. Here are some things you can do to improve the water pressure in your South Florida rental property:
#1 Conduct a Water Pressure Test
Any reading that is less than 40 pounds per square inch (psi) is considered low water pressure. Ideally, the water pressure in your single-family rental should fall anywhere between 40 and 60 psi.
To conduct a water pressure test without the help of a plumber, purchase a pressure gauge. This costs around $10 and can be bought at any hardware store. Fit it onto an outdoor hose faucet with the main water valves opened all the way. Turn on the faucet and check the reading on the pressure gauge.
#2 Adjust the PRV
The PRV (pressure-reducing valve) lowers the pressure of water to a “safe” pressure as it passes through your rental’s fixtures. It is usually located on the main water line or near the main shut-off valve.
You’ll notice that the PRV has a “bolt” at the top. To increase the pressure, simply loosen the bolt and turn it clockwise. Check the pressure gauge to see if you’ve reached the ideal water pressure of 40 to 60 psi. Then, tighten the bolt to secure the PRV in place.
#3 Install a Water Pressure Booster
A water pressure booster is a powerful pump that is installed in the supply line. It raises the pressure as the water reaches your rental home. Water pressure boosters are ideal for properties where water has to travel uphill, and for homes that are far from the water source.
It’s important to note that water pressure boosters shouldn’t be installed by yourself or your renters. Ask your property manager to hire a professional plumber who has experience with pressure booster pumps.
The Bottom Line
The next time your tenants report low water pressure, you’ll know what to do to restore a full flow of water. By trying the solutions above, you can maintain your reputation as one of South Florida’s most responsible landlords.
Remember, if your plumbing problems are too complex, you can always count on Luxury Property Care. As a full-service property management company, we’re committed to ensuring that you have everything you need to run your rental successfully.