Before we can talk about this important plumbing issue of water pressure, we need to talk about classic rock. Picture David Bowie and Queen sharing the stage, performing their signature, duo hit.
dun dun dun de-de-dun dun
dun dun dun de-de-dun dun
In 1981, Bowie and Freddie Mercury alerted the world to the danger of being “under pressure” in a metaphorical sense. Yet plumbers have been alerting homeowners to the importance of water pressure long before that killer melody.
Having too much or too little water pressure can create problems for you and your plumbing.
That’s why our expert plumbers perform a pressure check as the first step of any plumbing inspection or service call. Just like you doctor begins medical examinations by checking your blood pressure, our Benjamin Franklin expert plumbers can learn a lot by checking your water pressure.
Read on to learn more about having too much—or too little—water pressure and why it matters.
Water Pressure: the Basics
Factors that create the specific pressure in your home:
- Your municipality
- The age of your pipes and appliances
- The material comprising your pipes and appliances
- Whether you live at the top or bottom of a hill (water naturally flows downhill)
Although many factors are involved, generally:
Between 60 psi and 80 psi is generally recognized as the ideal range for home water pressure. Anything below 60 psi counts as low while anything above 80 psi qualifies as high.
Pressure that wildly deviates from the safe norm can serve as either a warning of deeper problems or a potential danger waiting to happen.
Water Pressure: Too High
Water pressure that is too strong feels great for your steamy morning shower, no one is denying that. Yet high pressure can do damage—thousands of dollars of damage to your appliances. We doubt anyone thinks the extra exfoliation of a high-pressure shower is worth it.
High Water Pressure vs Appliances
The constant flow of highly pressurized water damages and eventually destroys fragile parts in water-dependent appliances. Sure, good appliances are designed to be tough, but water pressure that’s twice the expected level can even break down good appliances, over time.
Two most commonly damaged appliances:
- Your water heater
- Your washing machine
Plus, all of that extra water isn’t free. Double the water means double your water bill.
High Water Pressure vs Pipes
Excess pressure pushing through your pipes creates a banging sound known to plumbers as a water hammer. Eventually your pipes can take no more “hammering” and they start to leak. Something small like high pressure creates something big like water damage.
Ironically, leaking pipes can actually create the opposite problem: low water pressure. From one extreme to another.
Water Pressure: Too Low
You’ll know low water pressure the moment you feel it. You’ll probably yank on the handles trying to coax out a little more. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. Overtime though, chances are you’ll become accustomed to it.
The consequences of ignoring low pressure differ from ignoring high pressure.
Low water pressure doesn’t create damage in your plumbing. However, it can indicate that the damage has already been done.
If you’re experiencing low water pressure, chances are that the pressure most often comes from a limitation on the part of your municipal water provider. Occasionally, though, the cause is a serious plumbing issue such as:
- Leaking water pipes
- Corroded or clogged municipal water pipe
- Leaking water meter
- Leaking toilets
If one of those issues causes your low pressure situation, you’ll want to know about it before it does even more damage. All of those leaks can cause extensive water damage and mold in out of the way places.
Your home water pressure can tell the plumber a lot about the state of your plumbing. Hence, our plumbers examine it right away.
Keeping your pressure within the safe range of 60 psi to 80 psi means your plumbing stays safe.
Remember, water pressure that’s too high damages appliances while pressure that’s too low can indicate leaks. Have a plumber ensure your pressure is in the correct range for complete plumbing peace-of-mind.
Has all this talk about your plumbing got you worried?
Contact us for a pressure inspection as part of any plumbing inspection or service call.