Many homeowners never bother to check their water pressure, but it’s something that ought to be done periodically. In just a few minutes, you can check your whole house water pressure. Here’s how.
Call Your Municipal Water Department
If your house is on city-supplied water, checking your home’s water pressure may be as easy as making a phone call. Many municipal water departments will come and check whole house water pressure for free. Call your city’s water department and see if they’ll come check your house’s water pressure. If they will, there’s nothing more you need to do.
If you’re on well water or can’t get your local water department to come check your home’s water, you’ll need to check your home’s water pressure yourself. There are two ways you can do this.
1. Check All Faucets in Your Home
The simplest method is to just turn on each faucet and appliance that uses water. Turn them on one at a time, and make sure you check both the hot and cold water at each faucet.
This method won’t tell you exactly what your home’s water pressure is, but it will help you determine where a water pressure issue is if you have one:
- low pressure at one or a few faucets indicates there’s likely a clogged or leaky pipe in that part of the house
- low pressure whenever you turn on hot water — and not when you turn on cold — suggests there may be an issue with your home’s hot water heater
- low pressure at all faucets with both hot and cold water indicates a potential whole house water pressure issue
2. Get a Pressure Gauge
If you’d like more accurate information about your home’s water pressure, you can get a water pressure gauge. Most hardware stores sell gauges, and they aren’t expensive.
Once you have a gauge, attach it to one of your home’s outdoor water spigots. Most spigots are a standard size, so you don’t need to worry about getting a gauge that’s compatible with your home’s plumbing. Additionally, make sure you attach the gauge directly to a spigot — and not to a hose that’s on a spigot — as water pressure can decrease as water moves along a hose.
Make sure no other water is being used, and turn on the spigot all the way. The gauge will instantly give you a whole house water pressure reading.
Adjust Your Whole House Water Pressure
The ideal pressure for a house is between 50 and 60 pounds per square inch (psi), although pressures between 40 and 80 psi are generally suitable.
If your home’s water pressure is outside this range, you’ll want to adjust it. Why? Because
- Pressure below 40 psi can cause faucets and appliance to malfunction.
- Pressure above 80 psi can cause them to wear down too quickly.
- Pressure over 80 psi often leads to using more water than is necessary, which increases both your water bill and heating costs for hot water.
Depending on your home’s pressure and system, you might need to install a new pressure regulator valve, a pressure booster or a pressure-reducing valve. Of course, if your home’s pressure is between 40 and 80 psi (and especially between 50 and 60 psi), you don’t have to worry about putting in any of these.
If you do need to install regulator valves, you may want to work with folks experienced with such home maintenance tasks.
Checking your whole house water pressure periodically helps you spot any developing issues before they become major problems.
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