The more water pressure you have the better, right? Think again. High water pressure can erode your pipes in your home leading to critical failure as well as cause your other plumbing fixtures and appliances to fail prematurely, such as your water heater, faucets, toilets and toilet stoppers. Because of these failures, your water bill will continually increase b/c over use and inability to hold water will cause an average waste of 40,000 gallons of water a year.
Telltale signs your water pressure may be too high are unusually high water bills, banging in your pipes, spitting coming from your faucet aerators, leaking faucets, constantly running toilets and shortened life spans of water consuming appliances (dishwasher, water heater, washing machine). To check your water pressure, simply go to your local hardware store and buy a water pressure test gauge. These can run anywhere between $6-$30. You will want to attach the test gauge to an outside faucet or the drain connection on your water heater and wait for it to measure your water pressure. Most manufactures suggest that your water pressure be no higher than 80 psi. However, if the gauge reads the pressure at less than 60 psi, leave the gauge on for 24-48 hours to see if the pressure rises. You can always call a plumber if you suspect you have excessively high water pressure but don’t feel comfortable performing this process yourself.
If you discover that your water pressure exceeds 80 psi you will need to install, or more likely need to have a professional install a water pressure regulator on your water line. It is often referred to as a Pressure Regulating Valve (PRV). The more expensive ones are typically for very large or commercial buildings. This attachment should be installed on the water line coming into the house. Houses built after 2002 should have one already but may need replacing. The life spans of PRV are generally only 7-12 years.
If you have a PRV and it does not need replacing it may simply need adjusting. First turn off the internal water main to the house and turn the shut off valve to the right. Loosen the locking nut on the PRV and adjust the pressure with the adjusting screw, to the left to reduce and to the right to increase.
Making sure the water pressure in your home is right is a key step to avoiding high water bills and costly repairs, fix it, don’t ignore it!