What is “Normal” Water Pressure?

Most of us don’t give a second thought to our home’s water pressure, as long as there’s enough pressure for our showers and household use. But sometimes, we may find the water pressure suddenly seems too low.

You shouldn’t ignore sudden changes in water pressure, as it may indicate a plumbing problem that needs attention, such as a blockage in the pipes.

A normal residential water pressure range is 45-80 psi, which means pounds per square inch. Water pressure under 40 psi is low, and under 30 is considered very low.  Most building codes require a minimum water pressure of at least 20 psi.

Water pressure above 80 psi is too high, and can damage pipes, joints, seals, and fixtures.

Low water pressure can waste water, and you’ll spend more time trying to do tasks like showering or rinsing dishes. Appliances, such as washers and dishwashers, need adequate water pressure to work efficiently.

Several factors can cause low water pressure in your home. Here are a few things to check if your water pressure is too low:

Check if it’s just one fixture with low pressure or your whole house.

If the water pressure coming from only one fixture, such as the showerhead, is low, it could be a problem with that fixture or in the pipes that lead to it.

Arizona’s hard water can cause limescale buildup on showerheads and sink fixtures.

If you see what appears to be mineral buildup on a showerhead or sink fixture with low pressure, soak it in a mixture of water and white vinegar to clean it. Then gently scrub it with a brush to remove any residue.

An individual fixture could also be failing.

If the water pressure is low throughout your home, you need to investigate the cause.

Check for leaks

If you can see no visible leaks inside or outside your home, it’s time to check the water meter.

Most water meters have leak indicators. It’s a small, often triangular, dial on the face of the meter, and it will move with the slightest water flow.

The leak indicator should be still when there’s no water being used.  If it’s moving and you’re not using any water, there’s a leak somewhere.

Take a water meter reading if you can’t locate a leak indicator on your water meter. Then turn off the water for a couple of hours and take another meter reading.  If the water meter reading is higher, even with no water being used, you have a leak.

A Chas Roberts plumbing pro can help you find and fix the problem.

Check your water meter valves.

Most homes have two water meter valves. You can locate the customer valve at your water meter and the home valve at the front of your house.

If either of those valves gets turned even slightly from the on position, it can lower the water pressure in your home. Make sure both valves are in a fully open position.

Check with your utility company.

Sudden low water pressure could be a temporary problem resulting from your utility company performing maintenance work on the main water line. Check with your utility company to see if that’s the case.

Construction in your neighborhood may also cause your water pressure to be temporarily low.

Monitor the number of water-using appliances your household operates at one time.

If everyone in your household is showering at once while the washing machine or dishwasher runs, that could cause low water pressure. Your household may just be using drawing too much water at one time. Try staggering your water use and see if your water pressure improves.

Check your water pressure regulator.

The water pressure regulator is a plumbing valve that controls the pressure of the water flowing from the main water line into your home. Without it, the water pressure from the main line would be too high, causing damage to pipes and fixtures.

It’s a dome-shaped brass fitting with an adjustment screw on the top, and you can find the water pressure regulator near the main shut-off valve outside your house.

It’s usually preset to provide water pressure of 45-60 psi.

Water pressure that’s too high, irregular, or too low could be a sign that there’s a problem with the water pressure regulator.

A Chas Roberts plumbing pro can check your water pressure regulator to ensure it’s working correctly and replace it if needed.

Check your home’s water pressure.

You can check your home’s water pressure with a water pressure gauge that attaches to an outdoor faucet.  You can purchase one at most hardware stores.

Make sure no one in your household is using any water and no appliances are in use before taking the reading.

You’ll need to tighten the pressure gauge around the faucet enough to prevent any leaks and ensure your reading is accurate. When you turn the water entirely on, the dial on the gauge should give you a water pressure reading.

Your water pressure is normal if the reading is within the 40-80 psi range.

Pipes may have corrosion or mineral deposit blockages.

If you have an older home with old galvanized pipes, they may be blocked or corroded, causing low water pressure throughout your house.

Problems with older pipes, such as cracks, leaks, and low water pressure, will most likely worsen over time.  You’ll probably need to upgrade your plumbing to achieve a desirable water pressure if older pipes are starting to fail.

Conclusion

Finding a solution to low water pressure may be as simple as opening a water meter valve a bit more or as thorough as replacing old, corroded pipes that have needed replacement for years.

Either way, we need to solve water pressure issues promptly to avoid further problems, as neglecting them can lead to more significant plumbing issues and costly repairs.

If you’re unable to find the cause of your home’s low water pressure, it’s time to call a plumbing pro. Chas Roberts can help diagnose and fix any problems with your water pressure and plumbing.

Chas Roberts is the largest HVAC and plumbing provider in Arizona and has been family-owned and operated for over 75 years. We have the highest skilled technicians in the industry.  Contact us for affordable quality service.

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