Exploring Emergency Plumbing Services

How to Know If Your Home's Water Pressure Is Too High and What Should Be Done to Fix the Problem

by April Rivera

When people talk about water pressure, the conversation often centers around low water pressure and the problems it can cause. However, high water pressure can also cause its own set of problems, including those that result in expensive damage. That is why you should know what to do if your home's water pressure is above normal. Below are some of the ways you can tell if your water pressure is too high, the negative effects this can have on your plumbing, and what can be done to alleviate the problem.

Signs of high water pressure

Residential water pressure can vary greatly depending on the type of water service available as well as other factors, such as the elevation of the home. However, water pressure measuring around 50 pounds per square inch (PSI) is considered normal and suitable for most homes. Once water pressure exceeds 60 PSI, it is higher than most residential plumbing systems are designed to handle. As a consequence, bad things can happen to the pipes and fixtures inside a home. You should be aware of the signs of high water pressure, some of which are listed below.

Banging, knocking noises - If you notice loud sounds emanating from your plumbing whenever you turn off water faucets or flush toilets, the sounds may be due to excessive water pressure. This phenomenon, known as water hammer, can be destructive to your plumbing if allowed to continue.

Consistent leaks in fixtures and appliances - High water pressure can cause seals and washers to fail and push past fittings. A telltale sign that high water pressure may be the culprit is whenever these leaks recur after repair. In addition to pipes and fixtures, your hot-water heater may leak.

Burst hoses and lines - One of the most dramatic signs of high water pressure is bursting water hoses and lines. This can occur with inlet lines to washing machines, ice makers, water softeners, and water filters.

Pinhole leaks - A pinhole leak may not be apparent for a while, since it may only drip or spray an extremely fine stream of water. However, if you discover an area of moist drywall or water seeping from beneath baseboards, the problem may be due to a pinhole leak.

Premature failure of appliances - High water pressure can damage appliances that receive water, such as ice makers and dishwashers. Pumps and internal seals can be broken whenever water pushes against them at a pressure beyond what they are designed to withstand. If you have a problem with either of these appliances failing prematurely, then you may wish to have your water pressure checked.

What you can do about high water pressure

If you suspect that you have high water pressure, then the next step is to perform a definitive pressure check. This is easy to check with the use of a screw-on water-pressure gauge. Simply screw the water-pressure gauge onto a spigot or hose nipple and read the measurement with the valve turned on. Just be sure all other water valves inside the home are turned off in order to obtain an accurate reading.

After confirming that your water pressure is too high, you will need to consider the installation of a water pressure–reducing valve. These valves are fitted between your municipal water meter and your home; the valve is spring-loaded and adjusts automatically depending on the fluctuations in water pressure entering your home. These valves can also be manually adjusted to regulate the allowable pressure range.

It is important that water pressure–reducing valves be professionally installed, however, since an improperly sized valve can make your pressure too low. In some rare circumstances where water pressure is extremely high, you may need a second meter installed in sequence, and a professional plumber will be able to assist you with this decision, as well.

Visit sites such as http://www.newportnewsvaplumbers.com to find a plumber near you.