As a service plumber, one of the common objections I get from homeowners is to not mess with their water pressure. Or more specifically, don’t make my water pressure lower. Most plumbers will be quick to tell you that high water pressure is not healthy for your plumbing, but is this true?
I will tell you that although it may feel great in the shower or rinsing your dishes, high water pressure is a danger to your plumbing. All the plumbing code books I've seen say that any house with water pressure over 80 pounds per square inch (psi), must have a pressure regulator valve (PRV) to reduce water pressure to below 80 psi. You'll be happy to know that a vast majority of houses in Gwinnett County that have public water will have a PRV already installed. So if your pressure is over 80 psi your PRV has become defective and needs to be replaced.
How does a PRV work? The major component of a PRV is a large spring, and as that spring loses elasticity over time, it stops regulating the pressure and must be replaced. The next question, most often, is how long does a PRV last? Typically, you could expect to get 10-15 years out of one, but there are factors that can limit that, such as specific model and street pressure from your county/city.
How do I know if I have high water pressure you might ask? Well, the sure fire way is to purchase a $10 pressure gauge like the one in the picture above that will screw onto your outside spigot and check the pressure. If you don’t have access to a pressure gauge, there are some common plumbing issues that may be symptoms of high water pressure.
- Toilets that constantly “run” are typically the first sign because these components are fairly inexpensive and degrade quickly from high water pressure.
Faucets and/or showers that drip are typically the next sign.
Temperature & Pressure relief valve (T&P) on water heater leaking is almost always a definite indication that you have high water pressure.
Water heater developing a leak or even blowing out the seams of the jacket on the water heater is also typically a definite sign.
Things to know: As we approach Summer, most counties and cities in metro-Atlanta will increase the water pressure to your house in an effort to meet the higher demand for water. The higher demand comes from people watering their yards, washing their cars, filling pools, etc. This increase at your water meter will make your PRV work harder to regulate the pressure when it enters your house. For this reason, we see an increase in water pressure issues not just inside your house, but also outside during the summer.
All of this makes it important to be aware of your plumbing throughout your house. Fixing “small” issues when you first notice them, could avoid larger and more destructive plumbing issues later. It is important to have your water pressure tested yearly or anytime you see any of these signs. The quicker you correct it, the less damage it will cause. Hometown Plumbing is always prepared to check your water pressure so ask us to do so if we don’t mention it first.
Let us know how we can serve you today (678) 598-6528.