How to Increase Water Pressure in a Garden Hose
Low water pressure in a garden hose can really be a pain. You've researched the best garden hose to buy and want to get your watering done as quickly and consistently as possible, but your water isn’t flowing well. It’s sputtering or trickling out of the hose, or there isn't enough pressure to reach plants farther away.
So, how do you fix this?
Before you start looking at deeper problems, you may want to consider the simple issues; a punctured hose that is causing leaks, kinks in the hose, clogged nozzle head, bent hose head, or water that's not turned on all the way.
If none of these simple fixes are present, you may have to start looking a little deeper.
Before you can fix a deeper pressure problem, you’ll need to know what’s causing the issue. It could be something in your home's pipes, in the hose itself, faulty pipes, a lousy machine, or something else.
Unfortunately, unless you're in a new home with fresh plumbing, you'll likely need to do more than merely adjust your lines or check for leaks.
I found this really cool infographic from Pump Products that I thought was a useful checklist on how to increase household water pressure:
To start your investigation, you’ll want to make sure that all of your water valves (likely near your meter, hot water heater, or outdoor spigot) are turned on high. If that doesn’t change your water pressure, you’ll want to check to see that your pipes are clear.
One of the common causes of weak water pressure can be clogged pipes. If you haven’t cleaned your pipes in a while, you will want to do that.
If you know that your pipes are clean and you’ve made sure your water valve is turned on, but you still have weak water pressure, you may want to invest in a water pressure tester. This will tell you what you are working with and help you in finding a solution.
You can get a water pressure gauge from just about any home supply center. Once you have a pressure gauge, attach it to the spigot or faucet where you hook your hose and turn the water on. This should immediately tell you what your water pressure is.
Here is a quick video I found that may be helpful:
If your pressure is really low (under 30 PSI), you may want to invest in a water pressure booster.
This can be a bit pricey, so prepare yourself.
A good water pressure booster will likely cost you around $300. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, tell home center staff what you need and what your pressure gauge is reading and let them help you.
Note: it's pricey if you need one for your whole home to help with all-around water pressure, but if you get a “garden water pressure booster” it will cost a little less.
As great as a water pressure booster sounds, besides the price, it may be more trouble than it’s worth for merely creating better pressure in your garden hose.
So, if you've checked the hose itself and its connection to the spigot, and you have decent water pressure, but would like more power, you may need to invest in a high-pressure sprayer nozzle for your hose.
We all know the “thumb over the end of the hose” trick, but if you’ve got to do it for a while, it can start to hurt. Investing in a high-pressure nozzle can eliminate this discomfort.
There are many nozzle heads that you can use, but you will want to decide how much pressure you are going to need.
A common misconception in the lawn care and gardening world is that adding a smaller pipe to the end of a hose will increase the water pressure. This, in fact, is not correct.
Adding a smaller end to a hose doesn't increase the pressure, it merely reduces the friction throughout the rest of the hose by slowing the water down and giving it more energy when it reaches the end of the hose.
I’m sure that didn’t make much sense, so let’s see if I can explain this…
When water is making its way through a hose, it starts out with an initial pressure provided by the spigot/faucet. As it moves through the hose, however, the surface area of the hose causes this pressure to reduce by stealing the water's energy…in a sense. This results in the water coming out of the end of the hose with really no pressure left to work with.
The only reason water comes out with pressure is because the new water entering the hose is displacing the water at the end of the hose. Essentially the entering pressure/rate from the source forces the pressure-less water to exit the hose with what looks like pressure.
The reason the thumb trick seems to increase the pressure is that it simply decreases the flow rate along the length of the hose. This flow rate decrease reduces the surface friction of the water against the hose, thus reducing how much pressure or energy is taken from the water. This gives the water some pressure as it exits the hose end. However, this does reduce the flow rate of the water…i.e., less water is leaving the end of the hose…it's just moving faster.
If you know that your garden is going to need more water, using a smaller pipe or nozzle at the end of your hose will take longer to water your garden. Though it will still let you reach plants that are further away.
So, you may have to weigh the time you are willing to spend watering your garden against the distance you need the water to go.
In my opinion, if you have enough water pressure and the gardening nozzle you attach to the end of your hose works reasonably well, you don't NEED to invest in a water pressure booster.
I'd honestly suggest just investing in another hose that can attach to your current hose to give you the distance you need.
If the problem is so bad that you can seem to fix it, you may need to get a plumber to help you.