Have you found that the water pressure coming out of your shower or sink just isn’t cutting it? Or maybe it’s too powerful and almost blasting out of the kitchen faucet? This could point to problems within your plumbing, or it may be a simple issue with your pressure regulator. Here’s what you need to know about your house’s water pressure and ways to fix pressure that’s too high or too low for your needs.
Water Pressure and Your City
Your home’s water is most likely provided by a municipal water provider. They could use surface lakes or groundwater sources, but wherever your water comes from initially, it goes through a treatment facility, pressure tanks (or water towers), and down the main water line to you. Some cities have booster stations around the area that give the water the extra push it needs to get where it’s going. In areas where water pressure may be too high, pressure-reducing stations are used to combat the pressure problem.
What Should Your Water Pressure Be?
When the water arrives to your home after its journey, its pressure depends on several factors. It can be influenced by:
- The elevation of your home
- The location of the water main
- The number of buildings surrounding your home
- The number of homes connected to the same water main
- The size of the service line – If the service line is too small or too large, it could affect water pressure at your tap.
In the end, if you use the municipal water provider, your home’s water pressure should be between 45 and 80 psi (pounds per square inch). If you use a private well, your pressure tank and switch control your house’s water pressure. These are generally set at 30 to 50 psi.
You can read your water pressure through a water pressure gauge. If you’re concerned your gauge isn’t working right, have a professional come out to check for issues.
Incorrect Water Pressure Hurts Your Home
Water pressure that is too high or too low can have varying effects on your house and your lifestyle!
Homes and their plumbing are specifically designed to withstand 80 psi of water pressure. Anything above that can prove detrimental to your home and your well-being. Over time, high pressure can weaken:
- Rubber hoses
Left unchecked, this can lead to leaks and result in expensive repairs for your house and plumbing. High water pressure also puts stress on your appliances.
Not to mention, it’s a huge waste of water!
Low water pressure is not detrimental to your home’s plumbing, but it can cause issues during day-to-day activities and chores. You may find your washing machine and dishwasher don’t work as well as they should, or showers aren’t as enjoyable as they would be with higher water pressure.
How to Decrease Water Pressure
If your water pressure is above the recommended 80 psi, it’s important to get to the bottom of it as quickly as possible to avoid any further damage to your home. High water pressure is usually caused by your home’s location. If you live at the bottom of a hill, for example, this issue can be naturally occurring. Hot weather and changes in water volume from your water heater can also cause higher-than-normal water pressure.
The best way to reduce a home’s water pressure is to use a pressure regulating valve, or PRV. A PRV attaches right to your pipe. A professional technician can install it, and then you can easily change your plumbing’s water pressure to the correct psi.
How to Increase Water Pressure
There’s nothing more annoying than wanting to take a hot shower at the end of a long day and finding your water pressure fizzling. Although the recommended amount can be as low as 45 psi, you may find that 60 to 70 psi of water pressure is more your preference.
To increase your water pressure, you need to identify what’s causing it to be low:
The City Doesn’t Supply Enough PSI
Most cities are required to deliver at least 30 psi to your home, which is already considered low. In some towns and cities, it’s even lower. If this is the case and your utility company can’t do anything to fix it, you’ll need to install a pressure tank and pump. This may be the case if you live on a hill or higher elevation than most in the city.
There’s a Problem with Your Pipes and Flow
Your pipes and the flow of water within your plumbing can vastly affect your water pressure. Perhaps:
- There’s a clog.
- The pressure gauge or regulator is failing – This can also cause your water pressure to increase!
- Your home has old galvanized steel water pipes – If they become corroded, they can very gradually restrict water flow.
The best way to get to the root of the issue is to work with a licensed plumbing technician to find out exactly where the problem lies in your plumbing. Using diagnosing methods and plumbing tools, they can identify a clog, tell you what pipes need to be replaced, or let you know if it the issue is with your pressure regulator.
Incorrect water pressure—high or low—is usually an indicator that something is wrong. Fixing it as soon as you notice the problem is essential, especially to avoid damage to your plumbing. If you notice your water pressure isn’t quite right, it’s time to call C&W Plumbing. We’ll be out ASAP to help!