When you step in the shower each morning to get ready for the day you expect your water pressure to be just right, right? Too high and it will hurt your eyes when you wash your face, and too low and it will take hours to get the conditioner out of your hair. But sometimes, certain factors happen to our plumbing system that cause the water pressure to get a little out of whack.
While some Houston homes get their water from wells, most get it from the city where the water is stored in large distribution systems. And water pressure is created when the water forces its way through the distribution system to the different faucets throughout your house. Because the water pressure is set by the city, sometimes it is too strong and can cause problems in your home. But at the same time, things can happen to the pipes that carry the water and can cause the pressure to get very low.
“The standard for water pressure is somewhere between 40-55 psi, and if you were to put a pressure gauge on the majority of homes in Houston most would fall within that range,” said John Moore Services Quality Control Manager Joe Bany. “But things happen over time which effect water pressure and it can end up on the low side or too high. When this happens it’s important to fix whatever the problem may be and get the pressure back to normal as soon as possible.”
Plumbing issues that occur when the water pressure too high
Because we live in regulated communities the chances of your water pressure being dangerously high are not that common, but it does happen. The higher your water pressure the more likely you are to have leaks in your pipes and broken appliances.
“When water pressure is too high it is traveling through your plumbing and appliances at a fast rate,” said Bany. “High pressure is a nuisance and will cause wear on your pipes and can have a tendency to create seal or gasket issues and can also cause your faucets and hoses to drip.”
You might have high water pressure if . . .
- You hear loud, banging noises coming from your pipes
- The water in the shower stings your skin
- You have a leaking hot water heater
- Your faucets and pipes leak over and over again, even after being fixed
- Water bursts out of pipes very strongly when first turned on and then returns back to normal
Plumbing issues that occur when water pressure is too low
Low water pressure is much more common, especially in older homes. And the cause of low pressure can be because of many things. Low water pressure makes life more difficult. Instead of taking five minutes to fill up your washing machine, it could take fifteen. And there is nothing worse than taking a shower and having the water slowly drip out of the fixture.
“A major cause of water pressure being too low is old, galvanized pipes,” said Bany. “With time, pipes start to rust and the rust will plug up on the inside which reduces the inside diameter of the pipe. It can also be caused by hard water. When a home has hard water it is important that the water heater be flushed on a regular basis to clear out the calcium and buildup inside. If you don’t, the hot water pressure will be extremely low. In the hard water situation, it is not uncommon for people to have low hot water pressure and normal cold water pressure.”
If you think you might have low water pressure, it is important to check all the faucets around your house so you can determine if there is a problem with the whole house water pressure or if it is isolated to one area. Often times, low pressure in one bathroom is due to a restriction in the line and is not affecting the entire house.
“There are a whole bunch of reasons for loss of pressure. If you have great pressure and one day you notice your shower water pressure is low, the problem could just be in that area,” said Bany. “But if you notice the quality of your water deteriorating over time there could be a distribution issue. In both cases it is important to get a pro out to your house to figure out exactly what and where the issue is.”
What do I do if I have a problem?
Checking your home’s water pressure is important and should be done a few times a year as part of your continual plumbing maintenance. Doing so is easy and you can even do it yourself by purchasing a pressure gauge at a local hardware store.
“If you find that your pressure is too high there are pressure regulators that can be put on your house that will get the pressure back to normal,” said Bany. “There are also pressure booster pumps available if you find that your water pressure is too low.”
There you have it, when it comes to water pressure it is important for your home that it be just right. And for those of you that would rather leave the pressure checking to the professionals, the expert plumbers at John Moore Services are only a phone call away!