If you turned on the faucet and water did not flow out as expected, would you know what to do or who to call? The following tips will help you troubleshoot the most common water pressure issues.
Low Water Pressure
Check all faucets both inside and outside of your home. If you are in a multi-family property, you should contact your property manager. Low pressure is usually the result of an issue on the customer side of the supply line.
- If flow is reduced at one or a few faucets (but not all), this indicates an internal plumbing issue. Remove any filters or faucet screens (aerators) and check for blockages. Ensure that all valves inside the home are open. Check for visible leaks inside and outside the home and check your meter’s leak detector. If you have older galvanized plumbing you may have restricted flow from pipe corrosion. Call a plumber if you cannot locate the cause.
- If flow is reduced at all faucets including the outside hose connection, look outside to see if Water Bureau crews or other city agencies are working on your street. If you don’t see anyone on the street or near your meter, check faucet screens for debris and check your meter’s leak detector. If you have a pressure reducing valve or whole house filter, check to ensure they are still operational. If older galvanized plumbing is present in your home you may have restricted flow from corrosion. Additionally, pressure may decrease slightly with higher household or seasonal demand (see fluctuating pressure section). Call the Portland Water Bureau’s Water Line at 503-823-7525 for assistance if you are unable to determine a cause.
Check all faucets including those in the lowest level of your home to determine if you have any flow. If you are completely out of water at all faucets, check your front door for a shut off notice. If you know how, check the main water supply valves inside the home and at the meter to ensure they are open. Call the Water Bureau’s Emergency Line (503-823-4874) if you have zero flow at all faucets and cannot determine the cause. If you are in a multi-family property, you should contact your property manager.
High Water Pressure
While rare, a temporary spike in water pressure can occur if there is an issue in your house or the water system. In some cases, air may also come out of the faucet forcefully. If you experience a sudden spike in pressure, call the Water Bureau’s Water Line at 503-823-7525 for more information. If a pressure spike caused damage to your plumbing, shut off your water at the meter or at the main shut off valve inside the house. If you are unable to shut off your water, call 503-823-4874 for assistance.
The majority of customers receive water fed by gravity from a higher elevation tank or reservoir to their home. While this keeps pressures fairly consistent, each home receives a range of pressures as tank levels go up and down. Pressures can also fluctuate based on seasonal or daily changes in water use. In residential neighborhoods, daily peak use is before and after normal business hours and seasonal peaks occur during the summer irrigation season. During these peak use periods customers may experience lower water pressure than at night or in the winter. Pressure will also fluctuate inside a home based on how many faucets or appliances are running at one time. To alleviate this issue, customers can adjust irrigation system timers and avoid running multiple high water use appliances at one time. In rare cases, changes in pressure may be caused by a system issue, which would be investigated and addressed by the Water Bureau.
The Water Line is available 8:30 am – 4:30 pm Monday-Friday at 503-823-7525 or WBWaterLine@portlandoregon.gov. If you have a pressure-related emergency after these hours, please call 503-823-4874 to speak with a Water Bureau Emergency Dispatcher. To learn more about home water quality, visit the Water Bureau’s Drinking Water Quality at Home page.