High water pressure is great, but too much pressure can cause problems
When you step into the shower in the morning, you probably aren’t thinking about how your plumbing works. You’re focused on the water’s temperature and its pressure. Most people prefer strong water pressure when showering, but most fixtures can only handle 80 psi, and anything higher can cause system failures.
Here are some signs that your water pressure is too high and what you can do to fix the problem quickly.
Signs of High Water Pressure
When excessive pressure builds in your plumbing system, this can be for a few reasons, including your water heater expanding as it heats. That can lead to the following signs of too much water pressure building. If you notice any of these signs, please contact a plumbing pro in your area.
Spitting from the faucet aerator when turning on a faucet
Shortening the life of the water heater
Shortening the life of a washing machine or dishwasher
Checking Your Water Pressure
To check the pressure, you will need to buy a water pressure test gauge. You can purchase these gauges from any hardware store. Attach it to an exterior faucet on your water heater. If you get a reading of under 60 psi, leave the gauge there for two days and see if pressure increases.
Fixing High Water Pressure
If your pressure is consistently above 80 psi, it’s time to add a water pressure regulator to your waterline. Also known as a PRV (pressure regulating valve), the regulator does exactly what its name implies; it regulates the pressure in your plumbing system.
PRVs became mandatory in all homes in 2002. If your house was built after that date, it might already have a PRV installed. But, if your pressure is still 80 PSI or over, your PRV may also need to be replaced. All PRVs have a lifespan of between seven and 12 years.
Common Causes of High Water Pressure
As mentioned above, the expansion of your water heater as it works can be a factor that increases your water pressure. But there are other reasons you might suddenly have high water pressure:
House at the bottom of a hill: Water naturally runs downhill which can account for high pressure.
City dweller: Cities often keep the water pressure high to supply fire hydrants and taller buildings.
Pressure regulator valve failure: As previously mentioned, these valves have a limited lifespan. If your water pressure suddenly changed and became very high, your valve may have failed.
FAQs About High Water Pressure
What’s wrong with high water pressure?
High water pressure can feel nice on your skin, but generally, it’s hard on your pipes and plumbing system. Too much pressure can lead to cracked or burst pipes and excessive use of water.
How often should I check water pressure?
It makes sense to check your water pressure twice a year to ensure there aren’t any irregularities with your pressure. It is easy to buy an affordable water pressure gauge and check the water pressure yourself.
How much does it cost to hire a plumber to check water pressure?
The cost of hiring a plumber ranges from $175 to $450 for a typical job, with the average cost per hour ranging from $45 to $200. Depending on the job, some plumbers charge a flat rate or service fee of $300 on average.