High water pressure in your home is a dangerous condition that could lie in wait for years before something bursts. But when something bursts, it can cost hundreds of dollars to fix and cause thousands of dollars in damage! Imagine losing hardwood or laminate floors, carpeting, furniture, ceiling materials and more to water pouring out of a burst pipe. Compare those costs to a couple of hundred dollars for a new residential Pressure Reducing Valve.
What Are The Risks of High Water Pressure
Many appliance connections are connected with rubber or plastic hoses. Washing machines are often connected with rubber hoses, while ice makers are often connected with plastic hoses held in place by tiny clamps. It is easy to see how these hoses could either burst, or blow off from too much pressure.
Your water heater can be a good indicator of high water pressure. Each one has a pop-off valve that is designed to pop off and allow water and pressure to escape as a means to safeguard the water heater if the pressure inside gets too high. If you always have a puddle under your water heater, this may indicate high water pressure.
Even the pipes and joints are susceptible to high pressure, as joints can blow off and pipes can burst. Even with modern manufacturing techniques water pipes can leave the factory with pinholes in them. A tiny pinhole may never leak as long as the pressure inside remains in the normal range. But expose that pinhole to double and sometimes triple the water pressure the pipe was designed to hold, and it may very well fail. The damage done by a few minutes of running water in your home will be expensive. Let it happen while everyone is out for the day and the damage could be catastrophic!
Can My Water Pressure Be Tested
We would be happy to test your water pressure for you, but you can easily do it yourself! You can pick up a water pressure gauge from your local home center or hardware store. The one pictured below is inexpensive and easy to use.
The water pressure gauge shown above simply screws into an outdoor hose bibb. It’s best to choose the hose bibb furthest from where the water service enters the building. Your water pressure will probably spike at night, so you should leave the gauge attached for at least 24 hours. The red needle will show the peak pressure. If it’s higher than 80psi your water pressure is too high.
What Is A Pressure Reducing Valve
Because your water company has to pump water all over town, up hills, and up into above grade buildings, your water arrives under pressure. In most areas, this pressure is too high and must be reduced. It is not uncommon in our area to have water pressure above 160psi coming in from your meter. Modern plumbing systems, fixtures, and appliances are designed for a pressure range of 50-75psi, with anything over 80psi being too high.
A Pressure Reducing Valve, or PRV, does exactly as the name implies. It is installed on the incoming water line, usually right where the line enters the premises. It reduces the street pressure to a level safe for our use. Most PRVs are user settable from 50psi to 75psi so you can dial in the pressure you want. Most people want the most pressure available as showers feel better and bathtubs and washers fill up faster.
If your PRV is faulty it can allow your water to pass through unchecked, which results in high water pressure. If this is your problem the fix is simple. We can rebuild or replace the faulty unit and bring your water pressure back into normal range. If you do not have a PRV in your home or business we strongly recommend having one installed.
As with any plumbing issue, a Pressure Reducing Valve should only be installed by a qualified plumbing expert. We would love to be YOUR qualified expert! Let us handle any and all of your plumbing needs.