When the water pressure isn’t right, you can feel it. Either you can’t get the shampoo out of your hair or it’s blasting you across the shower. It takes forever to fill a glass at the sink or an eternity for the washing machine to start the clean cycle. If water splashes everywhere when you turn the bathroom faucet half way, you have a problem.
There is an optimal water pressure in your home, one that doesn’t waste excessive water, but allows you to comfortably use this natural resource. The pressure for a home should be between 35 and 80 psi and ideally between 50 and 70 psi. Psi means pounds per square inch and is the standard unit of measure for water pressure. The pressure is regulated by your utility company to between 50-70 psi, which would feel like optimal pressure to most people, but problems in the plumbing system may lead to pressure that is either too high or too low. Regulator valves within you home are intended to keep the pressure from getting too high, but they may stop working or there could be hard deposits or loose debris between the street and your faucet. You can check your water pressure yourself to determine if their might be a problem.
Step 1: Purchase a pressure gauge. You can get these at most home improvement stores or online. The cost can be as low as around $7 for the standard model or as much as $70 if you must have a digital one. Since you probably won’t need it very often, a standard model should work just fine for you.
Step 2: Choose a water outlet. The easiest to work with will be your washing machine outlet or hose. Ideally this should be close to water source, so an outlet nearest to the water meter is best. If you use well water, choose the outlet nearest your pressure tank.
Step 3: Make sure no water is running in your home. Check hoses, appliances, running toilets. Turn off the ice machine in your refrigerator. Any competing source of running water will impact the reading.
Step 4: Remove the hose from the outlet if not done already.
Step 5: Attach the gauge securely. It should screw right on.
Step 6: Open the valve (turn the water on). Turn it very slowly until it will not turn any further, but don’t force it.
Step 7: Read the pressure gauge. If you bought a standard gauge then a needle will move along a dial that is labeled with numbers. Read it only when it stops moving. If you have a digital, then a digital number should appear. If the pressure is under 50 psi or over 75, you may have a problem.
Step 8: Close the valve completely and then check again in a few minutes by repeating steps 3-8.
Step 9: (optional) If the reading are different, then double check to make sure no water is running periodically. Are toilets refilling in between flushes? Is the ice machine filling the trays? If so, shut these things off and then try again.
Step 10: If the pressure is too low or too high, contact Service Pros Plumbers to inspect it and get the right pressure every time.