Low water pressure in an outdoor faucet can make all sorts of chores difficult. Whether you want to water flowers, shrubs and container planting, clean outdoor furniture or the car, or wash down the driveway, path or patio, low water pressure is frustrating.
The key to solving the problem is discovering where the problem is: it could be an issue you can solve yourself.
Here, we’ve put together the possibilities you should consider along with the actions you can take with advice from a professional.
Reasons for low water pressure in an outdoor faucet
Low water pressure in an outdoor faucet is a problem that’s fairly common, but where do you start if you’ve encountered the issue?
‘The best first step to take when you have low water pressure is to get a baseline for the rest of the house first,’ explains Ismael Partida, master plumber at Shafer Services Plus. ‘You can buy a water pressure testing device from the hardware store. Hook it up to the outside faucet (or bib) and get a baseline. You may have low water pressure already!’
There can be a variety of reasons for low water pressure in the outdoor faucet. These can include issues such as the faucet itself causing the problem, an issue with the water meter, and a leak in the water supply line. The attachments you’re using, for example when watering plants, can also cause low water pressure issues.
Tips for fixing low water pressure in an outdoor faucet
- Check your garden hose ‘If water pressure is strong from the faucet after disconnecting the hose, then the hose is your problem,’ explains Ismael Partida. ‘You can also double check the hose by connecting it to a different faucet.’
- Is the faucet broken? ‘Checking the faucet is a little trickier,’ says Ismael. ‘If you are spinning the handle more times than usual to turn water on and off, you may have a faucet issue.’
- Look for clogs and damage ‘Be sure to check hoses and faucets for clogs or damaged parts that could slow water flow,’ says Ismael.
- Do you have a faulty vacuum breaker attached to the faucet? ‘If you do, these can be easily replaced,’ he explains.
- Are water lines blocked by debris? ‘Think rust and hard water,’ says Ismael.
- Consider the valves ‘Partially closed valves can decrease water pressure. They need to be open along the entire water supply line,’ he explains.
- Is the water pressure regulator faulty? ‘These are typically found at the water meter. A faulty one can cause low water pressure throughout your entire home and at your outdoor water hose faucet,’ Ismael says.
- Is there a leak in the water supply line? If so, this can reduce water pressure. ‘But keep in mind that if there was a major leak, low water pressure would be occurring throughout the home and not just to the outdoor faucet,’ says Ismael.
Can an irrigation system be the cause?
If you have an irrigation system for watering your flower beds or container garden, you might be wondering if it is the reason. ‘It’s possible that an irrigation system could cause low outdoor faucet water pressure, but this is not the most common cause,’ explains Ismael Partida.
‘The easiest way to rule out an irrigation system as the cause of low water pressure to your outdoor faucet is to shut off the water supply to the irrigation system itself. This will help you to rule out the irrigation system altogether.
‘Other ways you can rule out irrigation system malfunctions: make sure all irrigation system valves are working and fully open; look for leaks (puddles in your yard) or damage (a pipe close to the surface that could have been clipped by a lawn mower).
‘One of the most important things you can do is to make sure the irrigation system is designed to operate within the available water pressure range. If not, you can easily make adjustments or upgrades.’
How do you get air out of an outdoor faucet?
Getting the air out of an outdoor faucet is a straightforward procedure. ‘We’ve all heard the noise that air in a hose makes: that sputtering, high-pitched sound,’ says Ismael Partida, master plumber at Shafer Services Plus.
‘To get the air out of your faucet before it gets to your hose, open the water faucet closest to the water meter to let the air out. Let it run for a few minutes. This releases trapped air from the pipes. Once the water runs smoothly from the faucet closest to your water meter, gradually reopen the outdoor faucet.
‘One other thing to keep in mind is that faucets contain vacuum breakers (backflow prevention devices). These tend to cause air-like noises and are replaceable.’
Fixing low water pressure in an outdoor faucet can often be simple to resolve once you've found the cause. Whether you need decent water pressure to make cleaning a deck or patio a breeze, or you simply want to ensure your plants get the moisture they need via your garden hose, it pays to sort the problem as soon as you spot it.
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Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor. Previously executive editor of Ideal Home, she’s specialized in interiors, property and gardens for over 20 years, and covers interior design, house design, gardens, and cleaning and organizing a home for H&G. She’s written for websites, including Houzz, Channel 4’s flagship website, 4Homes, and Future’s T3; national newspapers, including The Guardian; and magazines including Future’s Country Homes & Interiors, Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living, and Style at Home, as well as House Beautiful, Good Homes, Grand Designs, Homes & Antiques, LandLove and The English Home among others. It’s no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house renovator.
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