Property owners are responsible for the condition of all plumbing and pipes that water flows through after it leaves the water meter at the street. Some water flow problems are temporary. The Portland Water Bureau provides water to all services with a minimum pressure at the water meter of 20 pounds per square inch (psi). Most homes receive water at a pressure of 40-80 psi. We monitor pressure throughout Portland.
Corroded galvanized pipe in homes and businesses causes 90% of the water flow problems in Portland’s homes. Do you have galvanized pipe? Pipes are often exposed near the hot water heater, under sinks, or on the property side of the water meter. Galvanized pipe is silver when new, dulling to gray as it ages. It was widely installed in Portland homes built before 1980.
- If you have galvanized pipe and water is discolored when you first run the tap, you may have a corrosion problem. Let your tap run for 30 seconds or more – until the water feels noticeably colder. This flushes standing water out of the pipes and replaces it with fresh water.
- Ask yourself whether the flow changed recently. Have you recently had work done on your plumbing? Was your service shut off for some reason? Check to see that the valve at your meter is open. It should be in a straight line with the pipe. If it’s not, the Portland Water Bureau can turn it for you. Call us at 503-823-7770.
- If corrosion is blocking the flow of water, you may need to replace pipe. Replacing galvanized pipe requires a plumbing permit from the City of Portland Bureau of Development Services, 503-823-7255.
- Consult a plumber to see if a pressure booster on your system might help.
- If pressure seems too high, consult a plumber to see if you need a pressure-reducing valve or if one has failed.
- Check cartridges on home water filter systems. If a cartridge is clogged, replace it.