Man turning on bathroom tap with low water pressure
November 27, 2018

You turn on the faucet for a hot morning shower, only to find when you move the faucet to “hot” that water comes out in a slow trickle. What could be going wrong? Why is the water pressure so bad...or is water flow the issue here?

Plumbing issues aren’t always easy to diagnose — and it only gets more complicated when terms like “poor water flow” and “poor water pressure” seem to refer to the same thing. We often get questions from Chesapeake area homeowners who are experiencing problems with their plumbing and don’t know whether those problems are related to water flow or water pressure.

We wanted to take a moment to clear the air on these often-confused terms, so you know exactly what to do if you have either of these issues inside your own home.

Water Flow vs. Water Pressure: What’s the Difference?

Water Flow

“Water flow” refers to the amount of water that comes out of a faucet in a specific amount of time. It is measured in gallons per minute (gpm). Water flow is affected primarily by the diameter of your pipes. The larger the pipes, the greater the water flow. It is also affected by water pressure. The higher the pressure, the greater the flow.

Water Pressure

“Water pressure” refers to the amount of force that water exerts when coming out of a faucet. It is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). Think of water pressure as the speed or force of the water coming out of the faucet, rather than the amount of water. Water pressure in plumbing systems varies depending on pipe diameter, friction within pipes, gravitational factors, and whether or not there is a pump.

How to Diagnose Water Flow & Water Pressure Issues

If you’re seeing bad water pressure or bad water flow from one or more of your faucets, asking a few questions can help you determine what the root cause of the issue is.

Try troubleshooting your “slow water” issues by asking these questions:

Does it happen only when you turn the water to “hot”?

If so, there’s likely an issue with your water heater. Make sure the water heater on/off valve and the water supply on/off valve are both in the “on” position. If that doesn’t seem to be the issue, it could be that your water heater needs a new heating element or replacement.

Does it happen only with one particular faucet?

If the issue happens with just one faucet in particular, you could have a clogged faucet or aerator. Check for any buildup on the faucet aerator. If that doesn’t seem to be the problem, have a plumbing expert complete an in-depth inspection of your pipes; there might be a constriction in the plumbing in that area of the house

Does it happen when multiple faucets are running?

If running multiple water appliances or faucets seems to trigger low water flow or low water pressure, you likely have a more generalized plumbing issue on your hands. It could be an incorrect setting on your pressure regulator if you have one, improperly sized pipes, or an issue with your water utility. This is another scenario where it’s best to have a plumber complete an in-depth inspection.

Let Russell’s Fix Your Water Pressure Woes

Tired of putting up with faucets that deliver only a slow trickle? Talk to the plumbing specialists at Russell’s. From pipe inspections and drain cleaning, to faucets and water heaters, we offer a wide range of plumbing services in the Chesapeake, VA area to keep your plumbing system running smoothly.

Fix that slow faucet once and for all. Contact us or call (VA) 757-995-2807 / (NC) 252-489-4431 to schedule an appointment!

Bad water flow or water pressure?

We can help.

(VA) 757-995-2807 / (NC) 252-489-4431

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Russell's HVAC, HVAC service technician, VA

Regular annual maintenance keeps your system operating at peak efficiency. Experience has shown that a system that runs well keeps your utility costs in line — in fact, independent 3rd party research shows that you can save over $30 per month on utility bills.


Just like your annual physical at the doctor’s office keeps you healthy, an annual tune-up or safety and efficiency check on your heating and cooling systems can keep your home working smoothly.

What Our Customers Are Saying

  • I can't complement your team enough on the wonderful job done with regard to the installation of the new system in our home. More specifically, we want to recognize the outstanding efforts of: Roberto-- the initial visit and diagnosis of the problem.

    Dan & Connie, Virginia Beach
  • I recently had your team install a new gas package unit including all new duct work at my house in Chesapeake. I had a split system that had undersized ducting which was removed by your installers.

    Mike & Sandi, Chesapeake, VA
  • We purchased a one time service for $79. They came out on time, checked out the geothermal system...they were very professional and kind.

    Nicholas H., Chesapeake, VA
  • We would like to thank your company for an excellent job. We are very pleased with the new (Mitsubishi ductless mini split) system that was installed last week. It works wonderfully at heating our home.

    Danny and Teresa S., Chesapeake, VA
  • Not one single idea for improvement. Keep doing what you do. OUTSTANDING!

    Charles J., Norfolk, VA
  • Great job!...World class employees!

    Colleen & Jim C., Suffolk, VA
  • Everything went great! This is the second big project we've had done through Russell's and we couldn't be more happy! We had the most dedicated, polite, and respectful crew! The team consisted of Elliot, Chase and Sean. Sean was here for the removal process on day one, and did awesome!

    J. Luhan, VA Beach
  • Hi Nate, please pass along our appreciation for you, Elliot and Steve. We are very happy with you being able to arrange our ( Lennox ) replacement system so quickly!

    T. Johnson, VA Beach
  • Thank you for running a top notch company and sending over to us two excellent folks Terry and Shawn. They did an awesome job putting in our new furnace system. Also thank you for Donald and Nate who did a superb job as well. Please reward these guys with some sort of commendations or rewards....

  • ...folks need to know how wonderful working with Russell's Heating & Air Conditioning is. They were very professional all the way thru the process of getting our unit installed down to the payment plan. I have been telling our neighbors and my co-workers about the experience.

    Pamela F., Chesapeake, VA
  • Every moment from the time an appointment was set up until the day the work was completed was a pleasure. Every employee was a delight to work with. The proof that the product was great came when the electric bills started coming in the airconditioning season.

    Douglas P., VA Beach
  • I am extremely satisfied with both the Lennox unit I purchased and the employees of Russell's. Even with poor window and door quality in this overly tired house, I am actually cooled off sufficiently enough to call it chilly.

    Robin W., Chesapeake, VA
  • Over the years I have gained the utmost trust in my service technician Corey Lesko's knowledge and work ethic while servicing my system.

  • I am writing this letter to commend your company on a great job! We were very pleased with how the company performed in every area...the installers did an impeccable job. They were very knowledgeable, efficient, and hard workers—staying focused to the task in the extreme heat.

    Pastor Larry E. O'Brien, Churchland Assembly of God
  • A year ago, I contracted with Russell's to tune up and clean the heating and cooling system. How impressively your specialist cleaned my system...he also found a defective automatic (programmable) thermostat. Quite quickly, he replaced my automatic thermostat. The results?

    R. Snider, Norfolk, VA
  • You recently installed a new Trane unit for us. We want you to know we are completely satisfied. The outside unit is now a hum versus the roar of the old one...we also want to recognize the installer...we cannot overstate what we think of his workmanship.

    K. Hawkins, Portsmouth, VA
  • Great and prompt service – as usual. Everything from ordering the a/c unit to installation went smoothly. Thanks for everything.

    B. Fenstermaker, VA Beach
  • Everyone was very nice. I felt well informed about my purchase. Your staff is great! I don't usually return opinion forms, but you need to know you have a staff you can be proud of!

    V. Horn, Chesapeake, VA
  • You have a new customer for life and I will definitely tell all my friends about your prompt, courteous service, your knowledgeable technicians, and your very reasonable prices. Thank you very much Russell's. You warmed much more than just my heart!

    G. Knoop, Chesapeake, VA
  • Your company was very responsive to my needs. The quality of your work was extremely high.

    Ms. Bright, Chesapeake, VA
  • Your workers actually made this total replacement project an enjoyable learning experience...they were always willing to stop and answer any questions. Their pleasant and cooperative attitudes cannot be praised enough!

    J. Wellons, Portsmouth, VA
  • Very pleased with both the price and service. The installation went off without a hitch and everything exceeded our expectations. When finished, the work areas, including the attic, were so clean you couldn't tell anything had been done.

    T. Marsh, VA Beach
  • Great expertise and timely service.

    H. Turbeville, Chesapeake, VA