Water pressure is a measure of the force that pushes water through our pipes and into your property. Our network is designed to ensure every home has a plentiful supply of water pressure and flow.
Reasons for low water pressure
The amount of water pressure your home receives will vary depending on a wide range of factors. Some of these will be due to the way we supply your water and the distance it needs to travel, but other low pressure issues may be down to the way you use your water.
Water pressure will reduce if you use lots of appliances at the same time, such as dishwashers and washing machines.
Size of pipe
If you have an older property you may find your water pipe is smaller than those used in modern houses. Smaller pipes supply less water and can reduce pressure and flow.
Time of day
The way we use water changes throughout the day. High water use for things like baths and showers, means water pressure can be lower in the morning and evenings.
Number of households
The more properties that are fed off your water supply pipe, the lower the pressure will be.
Pumping stations create the pressure needed to push water along our pipe. Living a long way from a pumping station will reduce pressure.
Work in your area
Temporary work in your area can lead to reduced water pressure for a short amount of time.
Could it be caused by a leak?
If you've checked the likely causes of low pressure above, but you're still concerned there may be something wrong with your water pressure, it's possible the low pressure may be caused by a leak - especially if the water pressure you usually receive has changed significantly in a short period of time.
When you report a problem with your water pressure, our trained inspectors can arrange for your water to be monitored over a period of time to identify the likely cause of the problem. If the cause is due to a leak, we'll make sure its repaired.
If you're unsure whether the leak is on our pipework, or yours, read our page on Responsibility for your pipework.
How to spot a leak
The following may be tell-tale signs of a water leak:
- Sudden loss of water pressure or flow
- Water gushing from the ground
- Damp patches on the ground, even in dry weather
- Your plumbing making a constant noise, even when no water is being used
- If you use a water meter and you find your bill is much higher than usual
- Your water meter registers a flow even when no appliances or taps are in use
Work in your area
Sometimes work in your area, or periods of inactive water use, such as holidays, can temporarily increase pressure.
Stop tap open too much
Different areas have varying water pressure. If you have high water pressure try regulating that pressure by closing your stop tap ever so slightly.
What is flushing ?
Flushing is essentially cleaning the water network. We carry out flushing when we have been working in the area, this is to clear any pipework which may have been affected by this work. It is not unusual for you to have some discoloured water when this is happening, we advise that you run your downstairs cold tap and this should clear.
Why do we flush ?
- A natural sediment very similar to rust builds up in old, iron water mains, over time, and normally sits harmlessly in the bottom of pipes. However, if disturbed by increased flow (possibly due to a burst main) or flow reversal (to maintain supplies), this sediment can cause discolouration of supply. Although not harmful to health, the appearance of the water is impaired and may not be palatable.
- Flushing is an effective method of cleaning the pipework prior to or after essential work where there is a risk that discoloured water may result.
- The amount of water flushed is strictly controlled to minimise the volume of water discharged.