Have you ever browsed real estate websites? Chances are you’ve seen a listing that boasts of “great water pressure!” That’s a good thing, right? Isn’t high water pressure a big plus?
In some cases, yes. You want your water pressure to be high enough. But high water pressure – if it’s too high – can cause damage to your plumbing. Expensive damage.
What problems can high water pressure cause?
High water pressure can induce leaks from your faucets and hose connections. They can be unpredictable. For instance, a faucet may leak some of the time and be just fine at other times. And you may notice your toilet is running without having been used.
Here’s what’s happening: water has mass, just like any other substance. And if it’s moving with great force, it’ll put more strain on the object stopping its progress.
High water pressure acts as a hammer, pounding against the valves that keep it from flowing out your faucets. And it doesn’t stop at causing leaky valves. Over time, high water pressure can even cause breakage in your pipe joints.
What causes high water pressure?
High water pressure most often starts with your water utility. They set the pressure based on what they need, not with your residence in mind. And they’re supplying fire hydrants and tall buildings (or buildings on high hills). In order to serve them, they can push water pressure over 100 pounds per square inch (psi) – even up to 150+ psi.
But the most your home plumbing is built to handle is 80 psi.
If you’re concerned that your water pressure is too high, you can test it easily. Simple gauges are available for as little as $10. Just screw it onto your hose spigot, turn on the water, and check the pressure.
To find out the maximum water pressure your plumbing experiences, you can get a more complex gauge with resettable needles to mark the highest it gets during the day. Attach it, turn on the water, and check back in 24 hours.
How can I limit my water pressure?
Your home likely has a water pressure regulator. Some regulators are installed close to the water main itself, and others are located where the supply line meets your water meter. The regulator is meant to keep the pressure down to a safe level.
That’s good news, right? Well, yes … to a point.
Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever. If your faucets keep springing leaks, you should probably test your water pressure again. The regulator may be faulty. And if it’s not working, have a professional replace it to spare you extra expense and trouble.
Overly high water pressure can also stem from heat expansion – even if the supply line pressure is regulated. As your water heater raises the water temperature, it expands and increases the pressure within your plumbing. If that’s occurring in your home, you may want to consider a thermal expansion tank. It’s basically an overflow that allows your water to change in volume without increasing harmful pressure within your pipes.
For help dealing with excessively high water pressure, Just Call Dale’s. We service Ooltewah, Cleveland, Hixson, Chattanooga, or Collegedale, TN – and our licensed, fully trained plumbers will be happy to help you avoid costly plumbing damage.