Even if you’re getting an appropriately satisfying pressure through your showers and faucets, it is always a good practice to test the water pressure as part of your plumbing maintenance regime. This can be conveniently carried out a couple times a year using an inexpensive pressure gauge. Some homes even come with a dedicated pressure gauge built in somewhere in the water line so the owner can check the water pressure conveniently by themselves from time to time.
Why Should You Test The Water Pressure?
It may seem useful to have water poured on you with an extreme pressure as you stand beneath the shower ready to be splashed out of your slumber In the morning, but on the flip side, too much of water pressure takes a toll on your plumbing lines. Furthermore, your fixtures can experience blowouts in flex lines and your washing machine hoses can blow, leading to a mess as it ends up flooding your house. Therefore, it is always a good practice to test the water pressure every now and then, even if there is a pressure regulator installed as it isn’t essentially noticeable when it fails. Regular check up can mitigate the risk of potential damage to your plumbing lines and avert any subsequent disaster.
Tools you would require
In order to test the water pressure of the plumbing system in your house, what you’d primarily require is the pressure gauge. It measures the pressure in PSI (pounds per square inch) and is readily available in most hardware shops and home centers.
To make it easy on you, ask for the one with female hose threads so it can be conveniently screwed into a washing machine bib or a hose bib.
While you’re at it, do grab a pair of channel locks as well to tighten the gauge onto the test faucet.
Now that you have the necessary supplies, let loose the engineer in you and get down to some measuring business.
Start Off with Deciding on a Testing Location
Choose the appropriate location for pressure testing. If your house is supplied water from a municipal or city water utility, choose a hose bib faucet (spigot) that is outdoors and nearest to where the main supply line enters your property (from underground). On the other hand, if your property is supplied water from a well, choose a faucet or fixture closest to the well's pressure tank for a testing location. To get the most accurate reading, make sure the test hose bib or faucet is fed by the largest supply pipe inside the house; one which has not been further divided into supply lines to bathroom or kitchen plumbing fixtures, for instance. This pipe should be between ½ of an inch to 3/4th of an inch in diameter.
Check for Running Water
Before you actually perform the pressure test, ensure that there is no water tap running inside or outside the house to capture an accurate reading. Mark off the following items off your checklist before you begin.
- Running Washing machines
- Refrigerators with ice makers
The point is to measure the pressure of the static water. Therefore, if the water is running through the plumbing system even slightly, it can cause the pressure test to provide a false reading.
Install the Pressure GaugeInstall the pressure gauge at the testing location you determined earlier. Start off by removing the hose from the faucet and fix the pressure gauge onto it. The rubber gasket within the pressure gauge will allow you to hand-tighten the gauge and get a decent seal. However, if this connection still happens to leak during the pressure test, grab on to those pliers or an adjustable wrench to tighten it to perfection as a perfect seal is essential for a precise reading.
Check the Pressure
Turn the faucet, and then monitor the gauge’s dial to get a pressure reading. Classic home water pressure falls within ranges from 40 to 50 psi and generally does not cross 60 psi. Most common pressure regulators afford a maximum adjustment up to 75 psi, therefore, if the reading is beyond that limit it is evident that the regulator is not working perfectly and requires repair or replacement. If you do not currently have a regulator installed and the pressure reading is above 60 psi, consult a professional plumber and have a regulator installed.
Testing at the Washing Machine
Alternatively, you can also have the pressure gauge installed at the washing machine’s cold water faucet. Start by shutting off the cold water supply to the faucet to which washing machine is attached. Put the pressure gauge onto the faucet, and open the water all the way to test the pressure.
Note Down the Readings
The water pressure at your home can be anywhere between 30 psi to 75 psi. In case it’s too high, we’ve already gone over what needs to be done and why. One the other hand, if it’s too low you can call in professionals who will assess the plumbing around your house, establish the cause of low water pressure, and fix it for you.
To conclude, the above mentioned are the simple and easy to follow steps that you can go through to check the water pressure at your house. If you need any help with pressure regulation, detecting leaks or any other plumbing related issues around your house, try our dedicated plumbing services to take care of all your plumbing needs.