Maintaining proper water pressure in your home is as important as your body’s blood pressure. If the pressure is too high or too low, there is cause for concern.
Most often homeowners complain about low pressure; however, having high pressure can result in expensive damage. The pressure level can vary in most residential homes, but 60 PSI (pounds per square inch) is recommended. Water pressure should not be higher than 80 PSI. Anything higher can cause major appliances, including water heaters and toilets, to stop working properly because of the stress on plumbing and other parts.
Having high pressure throughout your home can cause leaks, pipe damage and wasted water. Here are some signs of high water pressure:
- Loud sounds such as banging or knocking noises coming from your plumbing
- Consistent or recurring leaks in appliances and other fixtures
- Constant breakdown of appliances, like ice makers or dishwashers, that take in water
- Cracks, holes or small leaks in hoses or lines
- Areas of moisture from drips or leaks
- A short-lived water heater, washer or dishwasher
- Spitting noises from the faucet when being turned on
- Problems with toilets
To test your home’s water pressure, purchase a test gauge from a local home improvement store and follow the instructions. If you find that your pressure is high, hire a professional to install a pressure-reducing valve to alleviate the issue. These types of valves adjust your water pressure automatically. A pressure regulator is also a smart choice if your water pressure often fluctuates.
The excessive force of high water pressure can cause pipe joints to break, valves to leak, and expensive repairs. High pressure also can be caused by thermal expansion due to the heating of your water heater, which is why it’s always best to have a professional check the problem.
A running toilet, leaky faucet or pipes, a water heater can mess with the water pressure in your home, as well. If there is a serious pressure issue in your home, the problem could be with old plumbing pipes. As pipes age, there is more potential for corrosion, causing water to barely flow. This would be a costly situation that requires a permit and a licensed professional to replace old pipes with new copper or plastic ones.