High Water Pressure – The silent killer

Most homeowners in Goleta and Santa Barbara get their water from municipal water agencies.  As such the water pressure is generally very reliable but strong. Most agencies deliver water to houses and businesses in the range of 100 to 200 pounds per square inch (psi).  If the water pressure was left at this level within the house, there would be a large amount of stress on pipes and fixtures in the house.  This is very similar to the effect of high blood pressure on the human body.

High water pressure is the single highest cause of burst pipes.  High water pressure can also cause faucets and valves to leak.  The high pressure puts stress on the inner parts of valves and faucets and causes them to fail or wear out early.

While there are no “blood pressure pills” for high water pressure, there are pressure regulators.  Most houses will have a pressure regulator.  A pressure regulator is placed between the municipal water supply and the house.  The regulator can be adjusted to allow a prescribed pressure to be sent to the house.  Typically we set the pressure to 65 psi.

Am I Under Too Much Pressure?

So, how do I know if I have high water pressure? The easiest way is to have your plumber check the pressure the next time they are on site. For the DIY’er, you can buy a pressure gauge from your local Home Depot store and hook it up to a hose faucet. Check the pressure when no water is being used to get a baseline reading. In general, you want the household to be between 50 and 75 psi.

Is My Pressure Too Low?

The best way to detect low pressure is to have you or your plumber check the pressure with a gauge. A simple “quick-and-dirty” way to check for low water pressure is to turn on the shower and sink faucets in a bathroom, then flush the toilet. If the water flow in the shower in the shower or sink faucets appears to drop significantly when the toilet is filling, you should probably contact your local plumber.  Assuming your water purveyor is providing sufficient pressure to your house, the most common cause of low pressure is a faulty pressure regulator.  Other causes may be mineral buildup in the pipes that restricts the flow of water or leaks in your plumbing system.  In all of these cases, you will probably want to contact a plumbing expert as they would be able to identify the exact cause and fix the problem.

If you need help testing or adjusting your water pressure, contact the plumbing experts at Good Land Plumbing.