If you seem to keep running into plumbing problems – issues like leaky faucets, running toilets or broken pipes – your water pressure may be too high. Testing your water pressure is quick and easy, so it’s worth doing if you suspect a problem. A quick phone call or a $15 test kit could save you hundreds of dollars in plumbing repairs! Never had a plumbing problem? Awesome! You can skip this to do and cross it off of your list.
If you notice any of the above symptoms of high water pressure, call your local water company and let them know. Ask them what the “static water pressure” is for your neighborhood. They’ll probably be able to tell you over the phone, or they’ll be willing to test for you.
Your home’s water pressure should measure between 40psi (parts per square inch) and 80psi. If you’re within this range, you’re done. Congrats!
If your water pressure is below 40psi, inspect your main shut off valve (located near your water meter) to make sure that it’s turned on all the way. To do this, either turn the valve so that it’s parallel to the pipe (which is the “on” position) or turn it counter clockwise until it won’t turn anymore. Note: If you’ve experienced a sudden drop in water pressure, there might be a water main break in your area. Call your water department immediately and have them inspect the area around your home.
If your water pressure is over 80psi, it’s high. Any setting over 80psi increases your chances of damaged pipes, leaky faucets, running toilets and burst washing machine hoses. However, water pressure between 80psi and 100psi isn’t the end of the world. If you’re within this range, it’s a good idea to replace the rubber hoses on your washing machine with metal-woven “no burst” hoses. These can withstand much higher water pressure and can be found at any home improvement store for $20. If you’ve been having problems with your toilets and sinks, you can also use metal-jacketed hoses for the pipes on these plumbing fixtures.
If your water pressure reads over 100psi, it’s best to contact a plumber who can assess the situation. They may suggest installing a PRV (pressure reducing valve) on the main water line that enters your home. This can cost around $500-$600, but if you have really high water pressure, it can save you money in the long run because of the plumbing problems you’ll avoid.