What Should The Water Pressure Be In Your Home? Find Out Today
Knowing the ideal water pressure to avoid significant damage from leaking pipes is essential. If you think your water pressure has changed, then there might be a few reasons why. If you want to learn more about the water pressure in your home, keep reading so you can find out how to measure it yourself and what the ideal pressure should be.
Measuring Your Water Pressure
You can measure water pressure in a few ways, but we commonly use the PSI (pounds per square inch) or liters per minute metric. Let's look at a few common questions people have about how the water pressure in the home works and what they can do to make it better.
Is it possible to measure my own water pressure, or do I need a professional?
You don't need a professional to tell you if your water pressure is off. There are two ways that you can easily measure the water pressure in your Santee, CA home by yourself. It only takes a few small tools to get a great reading that will tell you whether or not you have a major issue.
The first way to measure your water pressure requires a water pressure gauge that you can be found at any hardware store. You only need a set of pliers and your gauge to get a very accurate reading. You will need to look for the water source in your home that is closest to the street to ensure you're getting an accurate reading. If the tap is far away from the source, the reading might be lower than it should be due to the length the water needs to travel.
*If you are using well water, you will need to do your measurements from the tap that is closest to your wells pressure tank to get the best reading.
The next thing you want to do is to go inside and make sure that all of your water sources have been turned off. Make sure you check large items like dishwashers or washing machines and turn them off while you're doing your reading. If you have something running while you do your reading, it will not be accurate at all as it's not getting the full water pressure your system provides.
Attach the gauge to your water source and use the pliers to help you tighten it up as much as possible. Once you have your gauge firmly attached, open it up slowly and check the reading on your gauge. You don't want there to be any leaks that can affect the pressure.
Your gauge will likely give you a reading in PSI (Pounds per square inch), and you are looking for any number that is under 60 psi. Anything below 40 or above 80 means a major problem will need to be fixed soon.
Another easy way to measure your home's water pressure is by measuring how much pressure you are getting per liter. To do this, you will need a large container that either has a liter measurement on it or a container that is equal to an exact liter. You will also need a stopwatch and a calculator, but you can easily use your phone for both of those jobs.
Like with the water gauge, you need to make sure you have no other water sources going before starting your test. Place your container under the faucet and get your stopwatch ready to go. You want to time how long it takes to fill up a liter of water and then divide 60 by that number to see how many liters per minute you would be getting.
Let's say your container takes 4 seconds to fill up. 60 divided by 4 = 15, which means you are at 15 liters per minute. If your container takes 10 seconds, then your water pressure is sitting at a much lower rate of 6 liters per minute which means that there is likely an issue somewhere. You want your pressure sitting somewhere between 10-15 liters per minute to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Can I do something to adjust my water pressure?
If you have an issue with the pressure in your home, you can do a few things to change it. Adjusting it will depend on where you are getting your water from, so you need to be sure of your home's water source. For well users, you will need to adjust your pressure directly on your tank, while those who get municipal water will be adjusting it using a valve near the main water gauge.
Let's take a look at how to adjust the pressure for your home's water system based on what kind of water source your home has.
For those who use municipal water:
If you use city water, you will need to find the water meter that is connected to your home. These are usually located on the outside, and they are typically labeled clearly so they can be identified. They will often be on the side of your home, and they are sometimes near your power or gas meter.
The valve you are looking for will be a cylindrical piece with a bolt on the end that likely connects two pipes. Once you have located the piece that needs to be adjusted, you will need to use a screwdriver (not a drill!) or pliers to turn the screw clockwise very slowly. You will need to watch the pressure gauge as you adjust it to ensure you stay within a safe range (anything between 40 and 80 psi is safe).
If you adjust the pressure to your home and you've found that your water pressure is still insufficient, you will need to contact the city to ask them to look for an issue. They will likely check out the pressure in your home and others in the area to ensure there isn't a problem with your street’s pipes.
For those with water from a well:
If you get your water from a nearby well, you should check and see if there are any problems with buildup before you make any major adjustments to the pressure. Any significant pressure change might burst them entirely if your pipes are clogged.
A good indication of buildup in your system will be deposits coming from your taps. A mineral buildup is likely your issue if you've noticed a clogged shower head or hard water stains. A clogged pipe is an issue that you likely won't be able to fix on your own so call a plumber to give you some advice on how to proceed.
If you know your pipes are not the issue, then you can look at how to start adjusting your water pressure. You should make sure you research your water pressure tank before you start going in and changing things. Some tanks can be very different, and you want to make sure you aren't causing any damage to your system.
Adjusting your tank will depend on the water tank style, but you want to make sure you change the tank cut on and cut off range. If your tank is set to go on at 35psi and off at 55psi, you will need to adjust each amount slightly (40psi to 60psi, for example) to see if it makes a difference.
Are there any other issues that can make my water pressure drop?
A gradual change in your water pressure indicates a problem developing over time, like a leak or a buildup, while a sudden pressure drop could mean that your issue isn't even in your home. Here are some of the most common reasons your water pressure can drastically change.
If you're on a municipal water line and the city decides to do some work, you might see a change in your water pressure. Work on the water line can be for several reasons, and the company will likely inform you by phone, email, or in-person if they are doing any work that will disrupt your water for an extended period of time.
You might also experience some changes if there is an issue with your town's water system due to overloaded water pipes. After a large storm, some filtering systems become overloaded, and it's difficult for them to function correctly for a few days. This is another issue that your city will likely try and inform you about.
If you are experiencing cold temperatures, then it's possible your pipes could freeze slightly, which could leave you with just an icy cold trickle. This isn't something you can change right away, and you might need to wait a few days until your water temperature returns back to normal.
There are plenty of things that can go wrong with your water pressure, and it's usually pretty easy to find the solution. If you have an issue that you can't fix, then contact a local plumber to help you figure out what the issue might be.