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How to Check Your Water Pressure

Close up of a partly clogged shower head in a bathroom, causing it to putting out so little water

Your home’s water pressure is important. If it’s too low, your dishwasher and washing machine will struggle to do a good job. Showers are also miserable when there’s hardly enough water to lather up.

Of course, high water pressure is also problematic. The additional strain on your plumbing system can lead to worn-out joints, burst pipes, and significant water damage. Fortunately, you can check your water pressure fairly easily.

How to Measure Your Home’s Water Pressure

The ideal residential water pressure reading is 45 to 65 pounds per square inch (psi). This reading ensures comfortable showers, better appliance performance, and protection for your pipes. Here’s how to check the water pressure:

  • Purchase a water pressure gauge at a hardware store. The device should only cost a few dollars, and you can use it once a year as part of your plumbing maintenance Choose a pressure gauge that measures the flow in psi and features female hose threads that you can attach directly to an outdoor spigot.
  • Avoid using water during the test. Make sure no one turns on a faucet, flushes a toilet, takes a shower, starts a load of laundry, or runs the dishwasher while you’re testing the water pressure. Only with all other sources of water turned off can you expect an accurate reading.
  • Attach the pressure gauge. Find the outdoor spigot closest to your main water line. Remove any hoses or fixtures attached to the spigot, and screw the pressure gauge firmly into place.
  • Test the flow. Open the spigot to full blast and check the gauge. If the reading lands between 40 and 80 psi, the water pressure meets building codes. Still, the best reading is between 45 and 65 psi.

How to Fix Water Pressure Issues

If your reading is below 45 psi, first make sure the valves near the input line are fully open. Double-check that all faucets and plumbing appliances inside the house are off to ensure an accurate reading.

Assuming the reading is correct, you may need to call a plumber to install a pressure booster. If a pressure-reducing valve (PRV) is mounted to the water main, it might require an adjustment or replacement to restore the proper water pressure. Ironically, when PRVs fail, they often make the water pressure fall below the required threshold, even though their purpose is to prevent water pressure from getting too high.

Even so, failing PRVs can also raise the water pressure. If your faucets, toilets, and appliances need frequent repairs, this could be a symptom of high-water pressure. If your reading is above 65 psi, call a plumber to install a PRV or adjust/replace the one you already have.

If you noticed water pressure problems too late, and now water damage has occurred, DKI can help you recover. We are North America’s largest disaster restoration company, with service providers from coast to coast to serve you. Contact us online or call 877-755-5190 today to request water damage restoration near you.