Moderation is essential, and your domestic water pressure is not an exception. Too high a water pressure is as costly as low pressure is frustrating. High water pressure will put unnecessary stress on the joints and taps and cause headaches. You will be dealing with anything from the simple annoyance of dealing with a surge of water every time you open the faucet, all the way to coming home to a collapsed piece of living room ceiling. High domestic water pressure is not a rare problem; your home’s incoming water supply is set on high pressure on default. First, water runs through your water central. A “pressure regulator then reduces the pressure.” After adjusting to the proper pressure, the water will run to your taps and fixtures. That said, if the regulator is faulty, defective, or non-existent in the first place in older houses, high-pressure water will flow into your pipes unobstructed and create all sorts of problems.
Later in this article, we will let you in on the signs that your water pressure is too high. But first, here are some maintenance tips on measuring and adjusting your water pressure through your pressure regulator.
Measure the pressure
First, you need to measure your water pressure to see precisely how far away you are from the standard. The standard water pressure for domestic use is somewhere between 40 to 60 psi (Pound per Square Inch). It would help if you got a water pressure gauge to measure your water pressure. To calculate the water pressure accurately, turn off all the taps, appliances, and everything that uses running water. Then, attach your gauge to a tap closest to your home’s incoming water supply, typically your outside hose tap. Some pressure meters come with an attached hose. Make sure the gauge is tightly fastened to the faucet, then open it fully. If the gauge handle shows anything above 60 psi, your water pressure is too high. If the handle stays below 40, your stress is not high enough.
Adjust the pressure regulator
Now that you know what you’re dealing with, you need to find the pressure regulator and adjust the pressure. The pressure regulator is usually close to the water central, where it flows into your pipes from outside. Get a wrench that fits the nut on the regulator and start turning. Tighten the regulator nut counterclockwise (unintuitively) to reduce the water pressure. Similarly, loosening the nut clockwise (again, unintuitively) will increase the pressure. Remember to do it by a quarter of a complete turn at a time. If you loosen the nut too much, you might end up causing bursts and water damage. Use the gauge to measure the pressure after every turn. After a few quarter-turns, you will be at the desired water pressure.
If adjusting the water pressure doesn’t work as it’s supposed to, your pressure regulator may be broken. A water pressure regulator has a rough average lifetime of 10 years. If it has been longer than you’ve had yours in place, it’s best to go for a replacement. If your house was built before the 2000s, it probably didn’t come with a regulator. If you know a bit about plumbing, you can purchase a water pressure regulator and try to install it yourself. But, since improper installation is much more costly, we suggest reaching out to a professional to install one for you.
Risks of having high water pressure.
If you ignore high domestic water pressure, here is what you will be expecting:
1) Higher pressure, higher bills
When the water pressure is always high, it builds up force. So, every time you open the tap, water comes bursting out. Even if you quickly adjust the pressure by turning down the tap, it’s still water and money wasted.
2) Water fixtures’ lifespan
All appliances and fixtures are designed to work on a specific water pressure level. If water is flowing in too aggressively, the built-up pressure will cause wear and tear. This, over time, will reduce the lifespan of your washer, dryer, taps, faucets, etc. Remember that most warranties don’t cover damages caused by high water pressure.
3) Plumbing leaks
When the pressure behind the pipes is too much, they can burst. A small crack in a pipe can expand and make a huge mess. You can’t spot a leaking pipe behind the wall to make things worse. So, you’ll only notice it when things have gone too far. In the case of a bad leakage, you will be facing water damage and mold at best. At worst, a fire hazard awaits.
Signs of high water pressure
1) Aggressive flow
The most obvious sign of high water pressure is that water comes spraying out when you open a tap. This means that the fixtures and faucets can’t quite contain the high water pressure built-up inside.
2) Dripping taps
If the water pressure built behind the taps is too high, it’ll find its way through and leak out. Before jumping to any conclusions, make sure the leak is not because the fixture itself is too old or worn out.
3) Pipes are leaking
High water pressure will build up inside the pipes. Gradually, the lines might crack, and the water seeps out. Leaks can be made anywhere in the pipelines, from the pipes running through the walls to the appliances’ joints.
4) You hear clanging sounds
If water flowing inside your water lines has too high a pressure, you will hear a thumping sound whenever a faucet or tap is switched on or off. This sound, also called “water hammer,” is caused when the flow pressure inside the pipes is too high. The shock wave caused by the flow rattles them to bang against each other or their surroundings.
Though a common reason, high water pressure is not always the cause of water-hammer. For example, if the lines are not properly secured, a water hammer can happen if recent work has been done on your pipes.
5) You hear sounds (dishwasher this time)
A self-explanatory fact is that the warranties for appliances are voided if they’re damaged by high water pressure. It takes too much water pressure if you hear aggressive noises coming out of your washer, dryer, or anything that works with running water.
6) Hot (cold) water supply
You know how your water heater works. It fills up, heats the water, and flows into the pipes. While it’s heating, if the pressure of incoming cold water is too high, it’ll bring the temperature down. The higher your water pressure is, the harder your showers get.
High domestic water pressure falls into the maintenance things you must deal with as soon as you notice them. If you don’t, you’ll be inviting an array of problems. Be safe and seek a professional for a foolproof installation.