Doctors like to describe blood pressure as a “silent killer,” meaning that it shows almost no signs of being present but causes so many problems that it can ultimately cause health decline. Water pressure is exactly the same for your plumbing system: too much pressure can cause all kinds of issues, including some that could even be catastrophic.
How do you keep your water pressure under control and what should it be at for your plumbing system to be healthy? Fortunately, controlling your water pressure is fairly simple and straightforward, and this blog will explain what you need to know.
Ideal Water Pressure
The ideal water pressure level will vary from home to home, but the overwhelming majority fall into a general range. In a healthy plumbing system, water will be at around 50 to 60 PSI. Too much pressure can cause all sorts of problems, including wearing out gaskets and seals, putting added strain on plumbing lines, and even damaging fixtures that have the job of containing water and stopping flow when necessary. Not enough pressure will cause weak water flow, and that could damage appliances that rely on water like your water heater, dishwasher, or washing machine.
Unfortunately, the number one cause of excessive water pressure isn’t something you can control—it’s the pressure in the main water lines. As cities grow and more structures are added to the water system, the utility needs to be able to provide more and more water using the same infrastructure as before. Thus, they simply ramp up the pressure to make water travel further and to ensure that the proper water quantity is available. Home and businesses located near a water pumping station have even been found to have incoming pressure levels of 120 PSI or more—a level that could be devastating to a plumbing system should something go wrong.
Controlling Water Pressure
You might not be able to control the pressure at the main water line, but you can control the pressure of the water that enters your home. How? With a water pressure regulator. These simple devices are designed to uniformly scale down and smooth out water pressure in order to make it far more consistent and reasonable for typical home or business use.
Pressure regulators are pretty common—in fact, you may have a few of them around your home right now. If you have an irrigation system, you probably have a pressure regulator near the main valve or near each of the valves that control different sprinkler zones. Because most irrigation systems are generally made with easily-replaceable plastic, they generally require a much lower pressure than what comes from most typical water supplies. It isn’t uncommon for these systems to require PSI levels as low as 35 to 40 for sprinklers or even as low as 25 for drip systems.
Whole-home pressure regulators are typically installed on your main water input line and allow you to adjust the pressure up or down in order to achieve the perfect incoming pressure for your needs. Over time, these systems may need a small adjustment. However, they are remarkably consistent and can generally provide you with stable pressure for around five to seven years before they need to be replaced.
Adjusting Water Pressure
Adjusting your water pressure is typically done at your pressure regulator. Most regulators either have a screw or a knob that can be turned to adjust the pressure up or down. However, most of these regulators don’t have a pressure indicator dial, so it is strongly recommended that you leave all adjustments to pros who have the tools to do the job properly.If your water pressure regulator is malfunctioning and needs to be replaced, or if you’re tired of excessive water pressure causing problems with your plumbing, reach out to Smith’s Plumbing Services by calling (901) 290-1110 today!