Why Is This A Concern?
By nationally accepted building codes, water pressures at residences should be between 40 and 80 psi. Engineers design plumbing fixtures for this range of pressure. So, in theory, high pressures could cause premature wear or failure of fixtures such as toilets, faucets and water heaters, etc. There is not a lot of hard data to support this. One problem we frequently observe during a home inspections where pressures are high is “fogging” at the lawn sprinkler heads. High pressure causes this “mist” effect, and water droplets are so tiny that breezes carry the water onto the neighbor’s yard or down the street. This particular problem can (and should) usually be remedied by turning the pressure down at the sprinkler zone valves. Leaky faucets may be a little more prevalent with higher pressures, also.
Why Are the Pressures So High?
Water districts (municipal or co-op) are responsible to get the water to the neighborhoods and to the curbside meter bases. Water districts face distribution challenges, such as the number of houses in a subdivision, distance from distribution points, peak daily demand, etc. The most frequent reason for pressures being above the 80 psi range is that the distribution point (usually a water tower) is in relatively close proximity to the neighborhood. The farther away from the distribution point, the lower the pressure, unless pumps or design features can boost the pressure along the way.
What Can a Home Owner Do About It?
First, call the water department and ask for information, and perhaps for a courtesy call to test pressures in your neighborhood. If they don’t have the proper monitoring systems in place, they may not know they have a problem. Sometimes calibration and other distribution problems arise to cause the problem. In those cases, municipal water departments may need to be notified of pressure problems. Sometimes municipalities simply “amend the code” for the conditions which exist within their jurisdictions. This is why we strongly suggest calling the local water department for information on their specific operation and policies.
If you are experiencing high water pressure as a problem, or if you are just sufficiently concerned about it, call a licensed plumber. If a plumber evaluates the issue and recommends repair, he or she can install a pressure regulating device on the supply line, lowering the water pressure to the house. BUT – ONE MORE TIME – call the water department FIRST. You don’t want to spend the money to fix your pressure, when the city needs to fix the neighborhood instead!
Why Is This A Concern?