Water pressure is the force water is delivered into your home.
It’s measured in bar or psi (pounds per square inch). For example, 1.0 bar equals 14.5psi. One bar of water pressure is needed to raise water 10 metres high. This is often why flats and high-rise buildings require greater water pressure than other homes, as the water has further to travel.
The amount of water pressure in your home will vary depending on a number of factors, including the time of the day and the ground level of your property. However, while these factors play a part, your water authority is required to supply a minimum of 0.7 bar of pressure.
Although they are often confused, there are differences between water pressure and water flow.
Water flow is the volume of water delivered and is measured in litres per minute. Water pressure is the force or speed the water is delivered.
Water pressure is important, as it is the force that pushes water through your home’s pipes. As a result, your home’s water pressure determines the water flow in your property — the higher the water pressure, the more powerful the water flow and vice versa.
Because of the interconnected nature of water pressure and flow, a number of aspects can affect your water pressure.
The performance of any plumbed-in appliance, like a shower or toilet, can be affected by your water pressure or water flow. Some appliances such as an electric shower may not operate at all if the water pressure is too low.
A number of factors can affect water pressure. Some are found externally, like the supply from your water authority or leaks in the pipes under the road. You can find out who is responsible for your mains water pressure and what to do if you think you have a problem in our blog post.
Other impacting factors are found inside your home, like the size and length of internal pipework. For example, if the water has to travel a long distance through a pipe, your water pressure can drop. Another internal factor is the sheer amount of regular water usage.
Often, water pressure issues are identified at busy times of the day when water is being used by the shower, the tap and/or the toilet. At these times, the water flow is being split between each outlet, giving a poor performance. The more taps and showers being used at any one time, the more the pressure at each one falls.
Salamander Pumps has a range of solutions that can help deliver the pressure and flow you want, when you want it.
If your shower is performing poorly, it can be for a number of reasons. Often, low water pressure in your shower is the main cause.
Alternatively, your hot water system may not be able to provide enough hot water. This is a common problem with small combi boilers.
Poorly designed shower valves and fittings can restrict the flow of water too. Such fittings need more pressure to drive the water flow out of the shower head.
Another factor can be limescale deposits on the shower head. A simple limescale remover may significantly improve the performance of your shower.
There are a number of reasons why your loft shower doesn’t work very well. Water pressure is a key factor in the performance of your loft shower. When a shower is located in a loft, there is a usually a long distance for the mains water to travel in order to reach the shower outlet.
Likewise, if you have stored water, the shower is normally above the level of the cold water tank, so the water doesn’t have chance to fall to create flow using gravity.
Head pressure is often referred to when choosing a pump to improve the water pressure for a shower or whole house. As water does not naturally flow upwards, the head pressure is the distance water can be pushed vertically for a loft shower or tap from a gravity-fed system. 1 bar of pressure is equal to 10 metres of head pressure and will push the water 10 metres upwards.
If you’re having problems with an electric shower and think it could be a result of low water pressure, take a look at our blog post.
A slow-filling bath is a result of poor water pressure and water flow — the amount of water and the speed it is coming through the taps. If there is not enough water coming into the system, a pump may boost performance.
Salamander has a number of water pressure booster solutions to suit a variety of systems. There are CT range and Right pumps for gravity-fed systems, and Accuboost and HomeBoost for combi-boiler and unvented systems.
You may have noticed a difference in water pressure between your cold and hot tap.
Generally, the hot water pressure is lower than the cold water pressure. This is usually because the hot water tank is lower in the house or the pipe run is longer. Cold water is supplied from the mains and is affected by mains water pressure e.g. a gravity-fed system.
Problems with your mains supply could be due to a fault outside of your property. Contact your local water authority to find out. It may be that your hot water is fed from a gravity-fed hot water tank whilst the cold water is fed directly from the mains supply.
Poorly designed shower valves and fittings restrict the flow of water. Such fittings need more pressure to drive the water flow out of the shower head.
In gravity-fed systems, there may be insufficient distance for the water to fall from the cold water tank to the shower. This lack of distance prevents pressure being created.
Before we start checking the water flow, check that the stopcock is fully open. Monitor the water pressure at different times of the day to see if it is affected by levels of demand on the system. There is a simple test to help you.
Check how old your pipework is and contact your water authority to see if there are known leaks or repairs in the area.
If it takes some time for the hot water to come through after turning the shower or tap on, the plumbing may suffer from particularly long pipe runs. This can be improved by installing a shower pump or mains booster pump.
Water pressure and water flow can be affected by a number of factors. Your local water authority provides a minimum water pressure of 0.7 bar up to the boundary of your property. This pressure may increase depending on the demand throughout the day.
The local water authority is only responsible for the water up to the boundary of your property. If water pressure has suddenly dropped or altered, contact your local water authority to establish if there are any leaks or works in the mains water supply.
Use our handy test to establish your water pressure, or contact a reputable plumber.
Our simple water pressure test measures water flow, which then indicates your home’s pressure. It’s great for determining the size of your pressure problem.
Alternatively, contact a qualified plumber, who can carry out a mains pressure test with a pressure gauge and a WEIR cup.
There are a number of ways you can increase water pressure in your home. Firstly, you should identify the causes of low water pressure in your home. These can be numerous and can include:
A leaking or cracked pipes allows water to escape your home’s system, meaning water pressure will drop. You can easily check for leaks by looking at your exposed pipework first. If there are no visible problems, you should then check for internal issues.
Turn off all taps, showers and other water sources inside and outside your home. Make a note of the reading on your water meter. After around two hours, check the meter again. If the number has increased, you have likely got a leak in your system and should contact a qualified plumber.
Once you have repaired the problem, your water pressure should return to normal.
Your mains water supply company must provide a minimum of 0.7 bar of water pressure up to the boundary of your property. Occasionally, maintenance work on the supply pipe or network can impact this level, causing your water pressure to drop.
Usually, the mains water supply company will notify you of any planned works in your area. However, if you do suspect that your water pressure problem is a result of maintenance work, you should contact the company directly. Contact information for many major supply companies can be found here.
Limescale build-up on your shower head can restrict and block water flow. When water flow is reduced, it can have a direct impact on water pressure.
Thankfully, limescale can easily be cleaned away. White vinegar or lemon juice is acidic enough to remove the residue from the head, helping to improve water flow.
Depending on how many appliances are in use, your home’s water pressure can fluctuate depending on the time of day. This is especially common in the morning and evening, when showers, taps and toilets are in demand.
If your water pressure returns to normal during off-peak times of the day, such as when people are at work or school, your low water pressure may simply be a result of demand. A simple solution is to try and minimise multiple appliance use at any one time — for example, delay starting a washing machine cycle until everyone has had their morning showers.
Upgrading your mains service or putting in larger water tanks can be costly and disruptive. A more cost-effective way is fitting a pressure-boosting pump to your existing system.
The position of your shower or tap can impact its water pressure. For example, loft showers are notorious when it comes to low water pressure. This is because they are often located higher than a home’s boiler or water tank. As a result, water has to travel upwards, rather than following gravity’s natural flow.
Water pressure is also impacted by the location of your property. How high the water tower is above your home, as well as the height of your property, can all lower your water pressure. Properties on top of a hill, for example, may experience lower pressure than those at the bottom.
A water pressure pump is a great way to improve water pressure. Salamander offers a range of solutions for whichever heating system you may have.
Choose the correct pump for your property and you should see a visible improvement in your home’s water pressure.
You may have noticed a difference in water pressure between your cold and hot tap. Your hot water pressure is often lower than the cold because the hot water tank is lower in the house and the pipe run could be longer.
Major differences are often found in gravity led systems. Many are split systems, with the cold water supplied directly from the mains whilst the hot water is heated via a boiler stored in a cylinder. In these systems, the performance of the hot water is affected by the distance the water has to drop to the shower or tap.
The size of the tank or the length of pipework from cylinder to tap may also affect the flow performance.
If you are experiencing poor cold water pressure in a gravity feed system, the problem could be with the mains water pressure. Take our water pressure test or contact your water authority to check if there are any works or leaks in your area.
There are a number of ways you can increase your shower water pressure, without the expense of upgrading your mains service or installing larger water tanks.
One cost-effective option is to fit a pump to your existing system or adding a shower pump to your shower. For the best results, the pump should be fitted as close to the water source as is possible.
For example, a mains pump should be located close to the inlet, while a shower pump should be close to the hot water source. This allows the pumps to push water into the system effectively.
Salamander have a range of pumps suitable for combi boilers, gravity-fed and unvented systems. Find out more on our fixing the problem page.
If you live in area with hard water, you may have a build-up of limescale across your shower head. This can restrict or even block water flow, which will have a negative impact on your home’s water pressure. A limescale cleaner, white vinegar or lemon juice should be all you need to remove the residue and improve your shower water pressure.
Domestically, there are two types of water pump: a mains booster pump and a shower or whole house booster pump.
A mains booster pump can be fitted to improve the pressure and flow of the mains cold water supply. In compliance with water fitting regulations, this is up to 12 litres per minute. Generally, a mains booster pump can improve the performance of all of the water appliances in your home.
A shower or whole house booster pump can be fitted to gravity-fed supplies to improve one or more water appliances in the home.
Shower pumps can help more than just a shower though. They can be used to increase water pressure and flow throughout the bathroom, speeding up your bath and cistern fill time considerably.
A whole house pump is a shower pump that has the ability to deal with the requirements of the entire home, including individual taps and appliances where only hot or cold water may be needed at any one time.
The pumps can improve the performance of your hot and cold water for all your household demands, like showers, basins, baths, taps, appliances and toilets.
A combi boiler heats water without the need for stored water tanks or cisterns. They are normally located on a wall close to the incoming cold water mains supply.
The system is completely sealed, so the pressure of the mains water will directly affect the flow of water through your showers and taps.
If you fear your system is underperforming, HomeBoost is an intelligent pump that can boost your mains water pressure. It automatically adjusts to the incoming water pressure and flow level, increasing your water supply by up to 12 litres per minute and boosting your pressure up to 1.5 bar.
As the most common plumbing system in the UK, gravity-fed systems rely on the natural fall of water to create water pressure and flow. If your home uses this system, you will have a cold-water tank, usually in the roof space or loft.
In addition, hot water is heated by a boiler and stored in a hot water cylinder, which is usually lagged and located in your airing cupboard.
Salamander have a number of pumps that can help improve your water pressure in a gravity-fed system. This includes the CT Xtra, CT Bathroom,CT Force and Right pumps.
There are some clues as to which type of plumbing system you have. Let’s talk you through what you can see.
A combi boiler is normally located on a wall close to the incoming cold water mains supply. The boiler heats water on demand and, as a result, your system does not need to store water in tanks or cisterns. This is a completely sealed system, so the mains water pressure will directly affect the flow of water through your showers and taps.
Gravity boiler systems used to be the most common plumbing system in the UK. They rely on the natural fall of water to create water pressure and flow. The system will have a cold-water tank, usually in the roof space or loft. Hot water is heated by a boiler and stored in a hot-water cylinder, which is usually lagged and located in your airing cupboard.
Un-vented boiler systems, or pressurized systems, are supplied directly from the mains water supply. A large, flat-topped metal cylinder, which heats and stores the water, will usually be found in the airing cupboard. As this is a completely sealed system, the mains water pressure will directly affect the flow of water through your house. As the water is stored under constant pressure, a smaller pressure vessel will be situated close to the cylinder, usually on top.
Salamander Pumps has a number of solutions to help improve the pressure in each of these systems.
Unvented boiler systems, often referred to as pressurized systems, are supplied directly from the mains water supply. Usually, you will have a large, flat-topped metal cylinder that heats and stores the water in your home.
Because the system is completely sealed, the mains water pressure will directly affect the flow of water through your showers and taps. As the water in the system is stored under constant pressure, a smaller pressure vessel will be situated on top of the cylinder.
Salamander have a number of products that can help improve your water pressure in an unvented system, including Accuboost.
There are two types of water pump that can improve your water pressure: a mains booster pump or a shower/whole house booster pump. Both of these will increase your water pressure and flow.
A mains booster pump is fitted to the mains supply of water and will generally improve the water pressure across your whole property.
A shower/whole house booster pump, however, is an individual unit that boosts the water pressure of a particular outlet. It can increase the speed of filling a bath, boost the performance of your shower and improve the time taken for your toilet cistern to fill.
There are many factors to be considered when choosing a water pump. Firstly, confirm you have low water pressure by taking our test or contacting a qualified plumber.
The next consideration is the type of plumbing system you have, as this helps determine the right water pump for you. There are three systems in the UK: combi, gravity-fed and unvented.
On the 'fixing the problem page' there is a product selector tool which can help you work out which product is best for you.
Pumpwise, the customer services line for Salamander pumps, will be able to advise you on the best pumps for your system and recommend a reputable plumber. Contact Pumpwise today 0191 516 2002.
The first step to finding out what type of water pump you need is to confirm that you have low water pressure. This can be done with our simple test or by contacting a plumber.
Next, you’ll need to know what kind of system you have in your home. There are three types in the UK: combi, gravity-fed and unvented. We can help you identify your system on our fixing the problem page.
Once you know the above information, Salamander’s customer service line, Pumpwise, can help you choose the best pump for your system. Call them on 0191 516 2002.
A water pump should be fitted as close to the water source as is possible, for the best results.
A mains booster water pump should be located after the stopcock in the home. It will then improve the water pressure for the whole house.
A shower water pressure pump, which can be used for any single appliance, should be fitted at the base of the hot water cylinder on gravity-fed systems.
You should check four things before installing a water pressure pump to a low pressure system.
First: is there enough cold water storage? If you are drawing water from a tank, you need at least 50 litres of water to supply a bathroom successfully without running out of water.
Secondly: has the pump been put in the right place to aid the correct appliance? Pumps will always prefer to push water rather than pull it.
Thirdly: Is the hot and cold water supply fed to the pump from a dedicated supply?
Finally, do you have an adequate temperature control on your system? If you have the water at excessively hot temperatures, you will damage your pump components and could create more air in the system. Salamander recommend that these temperatures do not exceed 65 degrees centigrade.
Before installing a pump onto a high-pressure unvented system, you need to consider the following points.
The pump must be in the correct place on the pipe work and have the right in-line fitting. A minimum flow rate of 1.5 litres per minute is required to activate the pump.
Salamander would recommend Accuboost for an unvented system.
The Water Pressure Problems website offers you information and advice on the elements you need to look out for in making an informed decision on your needs for a water pressure pump. It will help you measure your water flow and establish your water pressure. Confirm your heating system and which products would be suitable for you. The website will also be able to recommend a professional plumber to fit your booster pump.
HomeBoost is an intelligent mains booster pump that improves low water pressure in your home.
Suitable for all systems, especially combi boilers, the pump automatically adjusts incoming water pressure and flow levels to create a constant flow of water in your home.
HomeBoost is manufactured by Salamander. Its advanced technologies will boost the flow of your water by up to 12 litres per minute and improve the pressure up to 1.5 bar. The pump is fully compliant with UK water-fitting regulations and is WRAS approved.
HomeBoost is quiet, compact and exceptionally easy to fit. It provides the perfect solution for householders wanting all the benefits of a pressurised plumbing system.
Your local water authority provides a minimum water pressure of 0.7 bar. However, at different times of the day, this pressure may increase depending on demand.
The water authority is responsible for the water up until it reaches the boundary of your property — anything within your boundary is for you to mend.
If your water pressure problem is a result of an internal issue, such as a leaking pipe or using multiple appliances at once, it is your responsibility to rectify the issue.
If your water pressure has suddenly dropped or altered, it could be a result of an external issue that your water authority is responsible for. Contact your local water authority to establish if there are any leaks or works in the mains water supply.
Take a look at our who is responsible for mains water pressure? blog post to find out how to check for external leaks and discover the contact details of major UK water supply companies.
Pumpwise is an advisory phone line that helps consumers and plumbers choose the right water pump for their needs. You can contact the Pumpwise team on 0191 516 2002.
Pumpwise is owned by Salamander Pumps. The brand has an extensive range of solutions for low water pressure and flow. On the 'fixing the problem page' there is a product selector tool which can you help you decide which is the best product for your household.
We recommend you establish the water pressure of your property and the plumbing system you have before buying a pump.
All Salamander pumps products are available to buy at major plumbing merchants and retailers.
For gravity-fed and un-vented systems, there are a number of alternatives. You can find additional advice on our 'fixing the problem page' or call a Pumpwise advisor on 0191 516 2002. We can also help you find a reputable plumber.
For help deciding which product is best for you there is a product selector tool on the 'Fixing the problem' page.
The 'our products' page has links to the Salamander Pumps main site where you can find more technical information on each of the products.
And there is Pumpwise, an advisory phone line that helps consumers and plumbers choose the right water pump for their needs. You can contact the Pumpwise team on 0191 516 2002.
Based in Sunderland, Salamander has been manufacturing high-quality shower and whole house booster pumps for over 25 years. The products are used by reputable plumbers and consumers alike.
Salamander Pumps' mission is to deliver 'Smarter water performance.' The brand recently launched a range of products which offer a a solution to low water pressure and flow in combi boiler and un-vented systems. This compliments the extensive range of pumps that offer a solution to low water pressure and flow in gravity-fed systems.
PumpWise is a telephone helpline for consumers, offering practical technical support, guidance and advice for those with water pressure and flow problems.
Owned by Salamander Pumps, the team of experts can help identify problems with water pressure and flow. They advise which systems and solutions are available and are best for your needs.
Call an advisor on 0191 516 2002. Telephone lines are open from 8.00am to 5.30pm Monday to Thursday, and 8.00am to 5.00pm on Fridays.