No one likes being under major pressure, especially your plumbing fixtures! Excessive water pressure may cause damage to your plumbing fixtures and will definitely lead to higher water bills, ouch! To avoid plumbing problems and possible damage to your fixtures, water pressure coming into your home should always be kept under control.
Plumbing manufacturers typically recommend water pressure of no more than 80 psi. High water pressure will put stress on your plumbing fixtures (water heaters, faucets, showers, and toilets) and cause them to break down earlier in their normal lifecycle.
Excessive water pressure coming into your home may cause several telltale signs, such as:
- Leaking faucets
- Running toilets
- Constant need to replace dishwashers, washing machines, or water heaters
- Banging pipes
- Faucets exhibiting “spitting” when turned on
If you notice any of these warning signs coming from your fixtures or home plumbing infrastructure, you should call a licensed plumber to determine whether the water pressure entering your home is too high. Alternatively, if you are a DIY person, you may buy a test gauge online or from your local hardware store. The gauge should be attached to the drain connection on a water heater or, probably more easily, attached to an outside faucet. If the gauge indicates 60 psi, keep the gauge connect for 48 hours or so, to get a stable reading.
What is the key to controlling high water pressure? A Water Pressure Regulator (alternatively know as a Pressure Regulating Valve or PRV) must be installed at the city main water line where water comes into the house. Ideally, the regulator will be placed after the main shut off valve; positioning the Water Regulator at this point will allow homeowners to simply shut off the water main to conduct repairs on the regulator or in the home, if needed. A regulator or valve contains an adjustable spring-loaded diaphragm to reduce pressure in the line within the valve body itself. Water entering the regulator or valve is constricted and finally released at a lower pressure. A Water Pressure Regulator works continually, so the normal lifespan is between 7-12 years.
In 2002, it became a requirement for newly constructed homes to have a Water Pressure Regulator installed at the city water main line coming into the home, so most homes built after that time will have a regulator installed. As stated above, your regulator will commonly be installed near your shut-off valve, outside your home, so you may easily find and/or test it.
Don’t live with the headache of high water bills and constant replacement of plumbing fixtures! Or in the worse-case scenario, risk a burst pipe and flooding to your home! It is in your interest to check out whether your home has a high water pressure issue and knowing that your regulator will eventually fail makes checking your water pressure yearly highly recommended.