Water pressure is defined as the force at which water enters and travels throughout your home. Water pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (psi) with the normal range falling between 45-75 psi.
Water pressure that is below 40 psi is considered too low and, although low pressure is not dangerous, it can create frustration. Water pressure that is too high, which is anything over 80 psi, does pose potentially serious plumbing problems as high-velocity water can weaken pipe joints, shorten the lifespan of fixtures and appliances, and become the cause of higher-than-normal water bills.
In this article, we will look at the common signs indicating you have problems with your water pressure and examine the root causes of these symptoms. We will look at some practical steps homeowners can take to troubleshoot their water pressure issues and proactive measures that can be taken to prevent them in the first place.
Signs of Water Pressure Issues
There are many telltale signs your water pressure is problematic. When your water pressure is too low the water exiting your faucets, shower heads, and other fixtures is inadequate and will dribble out as opposed to the forceful water you expect.
This decrease in pressure will cause washing machines, bathtubs, and other water-using appliances to fill more slowly than normal thus making everyday tasks irritating and more time-consuming.
Low pressure can cause air to become trapped in plumbing lines leading to gurgling sounds when water is being called for and to wild fluctuations in water pressure.
All of these low-pressure symptoms are easy to identify and are seen more as an inconvenience when compared to the problems high water pressure can create.
High Water Pressure
High-pressure water is responsible for serious plumbing issues that can lead to costly repairs and even health issues related to the growth of mold. It is imperative to recognize the early warning signs of high water pressure issues so they can be addressed before becoming plumbing emergencies.
Water hammer is a common sign of high water pressure. Water hammer occurs when the high force of water either abruptly changes the direction the water is flowing or stops it altogether. You will know you have water hammer by the loud banging sounds coming from your plumbing.
Leaky faucets, shower heads, and even outside plumbing can be the result of high pressure. The constant pressure damages plumbing seals and allows small amounts of water to pass a normally water-tight connection.
If too much pressure is present, it can cause pipes to burst and flooding your home. High water pressure is often responsible for exploding hot water heaters and the shortened lifespan of water-using appliances.
Causes Of Water Pressure Problems
Water pressure issues do not always originate inside your home. Sometimes the municipal water supply is vulnerable due to a water main break or water restriction notices creating low water pressure. Inside your home, your plumbing system can suffer the consequences of corrosion-filled pipes or clogged pipes restricting water flow. Devices installed to help manage water pressure such as water-reducing valves or pressure regulators can fail and contribute to pressure issues. Lastly, blockages in your plumbing’s ventilation system can contribute to low water pressure.
Similar to low-pressure causes the municipal water supply may be intentionally increased to ensure water can reach the furthest points of the distribution system. While beneficial, if you live close to the water source your pressure may become too high. Water hammer can be the cause of higher pressure as can blockages in the plumbing system. Water that cannot travel through the pipe will back up and put undue pressure on the plumbing prior to the clog.
Finally, boilers and hot water heaters add additional pressure through a process known as thermal expansion. As the water is heated inside these fixtures the heat causes the water’s volume to expand creating high pressure.
As you can see the signs and causes of water pressure problems are many and if left unattended can create significant damage to your plumbing system and water-using appliances.
First, determine if the pressure problem is isolated to one fixture or appliance or if the problem reaches all of your plumbing system.
Next, troubleshoot pressure issues by looking outside your home.
Call your utility company to see if they are reporting any problems on their end.
Check with your neighbors as well to see if the problem is community-wide or restricted just to your home.
When your entire home is affected look for signs your plumbing is causing the issue such as leaking pipes, clogged lines, or blocked vents. If the pressure problem is restricted to one or two fixtures consider yourself lucky and address these minor issues.
Preventative Measures Pay Off
In all situations involving your plumbing, it is best to proactively prepare for any problems. Routine visual inspections should be made as well as enrolling in a preventative maintenance plan through a professional plumber.
They recognize signs of water pressure issues early and can take action before the problem becomes more advanced. They can perform recommended prevention steps such as flushing the hot water heater, addressing hard water issues leading to pipe corrosion, and can educate you on proper waste disposal habits that will keep your plumbing system in good order.
Having A Water Pressure Issue In Orange County?
As you can see, recognizing the signs and addressing the causes of water pressure problems is essential to keeping your home safe and comfortable. There are proactive steps homeowners can take to maintain proper water pressure and to quickly address pressure problems. The best defense against pressure issues is to hire a reliable and experienced Orange County plumber.
Professional plumbing companies understand the value of a well-working plumbing system and the hazards of improperly regulated water pressure. They have the expertise to help you maintain the integrity of your plumbing and the fixtures and appliances that depend on it.
We have been solving water pressure problems in Orange County for many years. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and to get your water pressure under control once and for all!