Water flow from every home’s faucet, showerhead, and appliance depends on proper water pressure. Water pressure impacts everything from your morning shower to efficiently operating appliances like dishwashers and washing machines.
But what exactly is water pressure? What range should it be in for optimal plumbing operation? Also, what are signs you may have high or low-pressure problems? This blog will dive into the role of water pressure in residential plumbing systems.
We’ll look at what factors influence pressure, what issues improper pressure can cause, and most importantly – how to regulate your home’s water pressure through DIY methods and professional assistance from plumbers.
Proper water pressure regulation is crucial for avoiding leaks, pipe damage, corroding water pressure regulators and flow problems in sinks, showers and toilets. Learn how to optimise your plumbing system by managing water pressure.
What Impacts Water Pressure?
Several key factors influence the water pressure in your home’s plumbing system. If your home is on a municipal or main water supply pipe, the water company’s infrastructure determines the pressure, such as pumps and water towers that feed the distribution lines.
The size and material of the water mains and pipes leading into and within your home also affect pressure. Elevation is another consideration – homes at higher elevations will have lower water pressure due to gravity.
Within your plumbing, the size of the pipes, as well as the number of fixtures running water simultaneously, impacts pressure. For example, showering while doing laundry can result in decreased flow. Homes with well water and a pump system rely on proper pump operation and settings on components like the pressure switch and pressure tank to maintain adequate pressure. Understanding what conditions specific to your home influence water pressure is key to identifying issues.
What is the Ideal Water Pressure Range?
Most homes should maintain a water pressure range between 40-60 PSI (pounds per square inch). This typical pressure range allows fixtures and appliances to operate efficiently while avoiding problems from extremely high or low pressure. What’s more, setting your water pressure too high can lead to leaking pipes and even explosions.
Plumbing codes say pressure over 80 PSI is considered too high for safe residential plumbing operations. High water pressure puts excess stress on pipes, joints, and fixtures, which can lead to leaks or premature breakdown.
Conversely, pressure below 40 PSI may result in insufficient flow from faucets, showers running weakly, and toilets that are slow to fill or need to be flushed fully. Appliances like dishwashers and washing machines also require adequate pressure for proper performance. Aim to keep your home’s static water pressure (when no water is flowing) between 40-60 PSI for a healthy plumbing system.
Signs You May Have a Water Pressure Problem
Certain signs can indicate your home’s water pressure may be too high or too low. A bad water pressure regulator can allow high water pressure to pass through into the home. Some red flags of high pressure include pipes that vibrate or make loud hammering noises when water is turned off, leaks developing at joints and fittings, premature failure of fixtures like faucets and showerheads, and higher-than-normal water bills.
On the other end, symptoms of low water pressure include weak flow from faucets and showerheads, trouble getting hot water to the faucet, appliances like dishwashers not operating correctly, and toilets that are slow to fill up or don’t fully flush waste.
Dripping faucets, difficulty adjusting temperature in showers, and hoses that don’t expand fully can also signal insufficient flow and pressure. Paying attention to these clues can help identify underlying water pressure problems before major leaks or damage occur.
How to Regulate Your Water Pressure
Several DIY and professional methods exist for adjusting your home’s water pressure if it is outside the optimal 40-60 PSI range. Here are some of the most common ways to get your water pressure regulated:
Locating the Pressure Regulator
First, find the pressure regulator near the main shutoff valve or where the main water line enters your house. It may be attached to a pipe or mounted on a wall.
Adjust well pump pressure switch (well systems)
For homes on a private well system, adjusting the pressure switch is the second step to tuning water pressure. The pressure switch controls when the well pump turns on and off in response to demand.
Adjusting it changes the pump’s cut-in and cut-out pressure. This simple DIY task requires a screwdriver and water pressure gauge.
Install a pressure-reducing valve
Installing a pressure-reducing valve can regulate and decrease the incoming water pressure to a safe and optimal level for your home. A PRV valve can lower water pressure coming into the home if the municipal water supply has a high pressure exceeding 80 PSI. The PRV valve is installed on the main water line and set to the desired pressure. Hire a plumber for proper PRV installation and adjustment.
Install an expansion tank
Expansion tanks help absorb pressure fluctuations when water heats and occupies more space in pipes and water heaters. Adding one can help stabilise overall pressure. They are installed near the water heater.
Replace pipes with larger sizes
In some cases, upgrading to larger diameter pipes allows more water flow and can boost lower pressure. This is a more involved fix that requires replumbing work.
Professional Help for Water Pressure Issues
DIY water pressure adjustments may not fully solve the issues for some homes, or the cause may be complex and require professional expertise. In those cases, it is best to hire a licensed plumber to inspect your plumbing and diagnose the source of improper water pressure.
A professional plumber can check for clogs or build-up restricting flow, leaks allowing pressure drops, worn-out well pump components, undersized piping causing bottlenecks, and other underlying issues.
They have the right tools and knowledge to conduct a water pressure test at various points, evaluate your entire plumbing system, and offer the best solutions, whether adjusting pressure settings, replacing worn parts, rerouting pipes, or installing pressure booster pumps to increase lower pressure. A qualified plumber can get your home’s water pressure regulated back to the optimal range.
Regulate Water Pressure for Better Plumbing
Properly regulating your home’s water pressure is crucial for avoiding plumbing problems and ensuring all fixtures and appliances operate efficiently. Now that you understand what impacts pressure, what issues it can cause, and methods to get your pressure within the ideal 40-60 PSI range, you can take steps to optimise your plumbing systems.
For ongoing pressure issues or if you need professional assistance, contact the experts at Gold Coast Plumbing Experts. Their licensed, bonded, and insured plumbers have the experience, training, and tools to evaluate your home’s unique water pressure needs and get issues resolved.
We specialise in pressure regulation services and whole-home plumbing system solutions. Contact Gold Coast Plumbing Experts today to discuss your water pressure concerns – they are committed to helping regulate pressure for optimal comfort and plumbing performance in your home.