Improper water pressure is a common plumbing problem. If you have such a problem, the first step toward diagnosing and remedying it is measuring your static water pressure.
This is easy enough to do with a water pressure measuring gauge, which most hardware and home improvement stores carry. This simple device consists or a measuring gauge and a standard hookup like those on a garden hose that you can screw onto an exterior hose bib or your washing machine’s cold or hot water bib. To check your house’s static water pressure level, just screw on the measuring gauge, open the faucet, and the gauge will show how much pressure you have on whichever floor the faucet you are using for the check is located (the water pressure on a home’s second floor is typically 8 psi lower than on the first floor).
So, what is the proper water pressure level? For residential plumbing, it’s best to be within a range of from 50 to 70 psi. Plumbing fixtures for home use are designed to withstand a maximum pressure of 80 psi, so at 80 psi and above, you risk damaging your fixtures. On the other hand, if the pressure is much below 50 psi, you may experience annoying problems of insufficient water flow.
In the case that your water pressure is too high, you’ll need to adjust your PRV (pressure reducing valve) which should be located near your house’s main water shut-off. If you don’t already have one, then you’ll need to get one installed. The PRV is easy to adjust and will maintain the house’s water pressure at a precise level.
In the case that your water pressure is too low, you should first contact your municipal water supplier and find out if that level is normal for your neighborhood. If it is, then the only possible fix is to invest in a water pressure booster pump. These are available in a variety of designs and at a variety of prices, but it is definitely advisable to have one of these booster pumps installed by a professional plumber; this is not a D.I.Y. project.
If the pressure is lower than it should be, there may be a problem with the exterior pipes, such as a leak, blockage or crimp. Who is responsible for fixing the problem depends on exactly where it is. Home owners are responsible for maintaining the plumbing from the point at which it enters their property. The pipes outside your property line are the responsibility of the municipality.
There is also a chance that your problem is not one of water pressure per se, but rather one of water flow. If your check shows sufficient static water pressure, but you feel that you’re getting insufficient water coming out of one or more of your plumbing fixtures, there is most likely some problem effecting the water flow in your house’s internal plumbing.
The problem could be as simple as a dirty faucet aerator or shower head. To … Read More