High Water Pressure: Reducing Your Risk
Water pressure issues are common in homes in this area. Typically, especially in my experience, excessive water pressure is the dominant problem. Although this can be identified at sinks and faucets fairly easily if the pressure is very high, a pressure gauge is needed to check the static pressure of the supply plumbing, typically at a hose bib. As a home inspector, this is an item I check on every home, if possible, as the consequences can be substantial and the fix is relatively easy.
Let's take a closer look:
Water pressure, recorded as pounds-per-square-inch (psi), should fall within the recommended range of 40 to 80 psi. If the pressure is higher than 80 psi, the pressure is too high and should be corrected.
The city or municipality water utility supplies water at a static pressure. This pressure varies widely due to a variety of factors, including the home’s location and proximity to reservoirs or pumps. The main concern is the static pressure at your homes this can change from block to block/home to home.
Excessive water pressure can cause a variety of issues downstream of the main shut off valve for the home, including damage to solenoid valves in washers and dishwashers, washers in faucets, and water heaters. In addition, high pressure puts undue stress on plumbing pipe joints, valves, and connections and could cause leaking or disconnections.
To reduce the pressure in the plumbing system, a pressure reducing valve (PRV) should be installed just downstream of the shut off valve by a qualified plumber. This valve can be adjusted to reduce the pressure on the plumbing system back down below 80 psi. Also, installation of a new PRV may create a closed system, depending on the current state of system when installed. If the PRV has no integral bypass or pressure relief valve, one needs to be installed downstream of the PRV. Otherwise, a dangerous situation could be created causing a over-pressurized closed system.
Although there is definitely more to know about this issue, I hope you learned a little about high water pressure and what to can be done about it. Of course, you can have high pressure, but you can also have low pressure. However, this is fodder for another blog entry.
As always, if you have any concerns about this issue as it relates to a current condition in your home, please contact a professional contractor to have it evaluated.