High water pressure is a bit like high blood pressure. Both are very wearing for the system – your home plumbing system, in the case of overly high water pressure But how high is too high, and what are the red flags that you have sky-high water pressure in your home? Most important of all, how do you correct the problem?
Let’s start by talking about what your residential water pressure should be.
In the Ottawa and surrounding area (Ottawa, Barrhaven, Kanata, Orleans etc), the ideal water pressure measures between 40 and 60 PSI (that is, pounds per square inch). Overly high water pressure often causes a number of bathroom and kitchen plumbing problems.
Now we’ll go into some plumbing issues which indicate your water pressure is probably too high. If you spot any of these 6 common signs of high water pressure in your house, contact a licensed Ottawa plumber to investigate.
High water pressure puts a lot of unnecessary strain on your home’s plumbing system. This often leads to loosened joints or pinhole leaks in the pipes. Left unrepaired, leaking pipes are likely to cause mould growth and other serious water damage to your home.
Frustratingly, these tiny drips will often occur behind walls, in ceilings and floors – places where damage can accumulate out of sight until it eventually rots out, or gets so bad that it starts to smell or affect a large enough area that it gets your attention.
You may hear a loud banging noise when you suddenly switch off a kitchen or bathroom faucet. This sound is known as “water hammer” (technically, hydraulic shock) due to its uncanny resemblance to… you guessed it, a pounding hammer. When your water flow stops or changes direction abruptly, high water pressure causes plumbing pipes to bang into one another or the surrounding framing.
Besides the annoying banging, water hammer can actually loosen plumbing connections or break your pipes. While the noise is louder in metal pipes, the effect is also dangerous to PEX and other plastic piping.
One cause of water hammer (especially a very loud hammer), is the excessively high water pressure in the main water pipe coming into your home.
Over-the-top water pressure is hard on your water heater, washing machine, and dishwasher. In fact, your warranty may be voided if these appliances are damaged by high water pressure. Look for leakage and listen for loud noises made by your appliances; these might indicate that their seals or mechanical parts are undergoing extreme wear and tear.
Track your water bills. If you see that the amount suddenly shoots up or if you’re paying more than your neighbour with a similar-sized home, once again high water pressure is a possible culprit. Why? Quite simply, you’re using more water every time you turn on a tap. (Here’s the average amount of water used by running a faucet for 10 minutes: 30 gallons at 50-PSI pressure, compared to 36 gallons at 60 PSI.) The result is wasted water and wasted money.
Is one or more of your faucets constantly dripping, or perhaps spitting or spraying when you turn the water on? One of these danger signals could be a sign that the water is flowing out too forcefully, due to issues with high water pressure. This could result in a repair or replacement for your faucet in the future.
If your toilet seems to keep running or even flushing on its own, you might have a faulty fill valve. When you have a water pressure problem, the toilet fill valve tends to wear out quickly, and the result is water constantly running from the tank into the bowl.
Fortunately, getting your water pressure under control is fairly simple. Just have a licensed plumber install a device called a water pressure regulator (or pressure reduction valve). If your home was built after 2002, you should have a regulator already in place, as per the requirements of The International Plumbing Code. However, water pressure regulators have a lifespan of only 7-12 years before they must be replaced.
Rely on the expert team from Out of This World Plumbing to inspect your plumbing system in order to diagnose and repair any problems. Our plumbing services in Ottawa, Barrhaven, Kanata, and the surrounding area include installing and replacing water pressure regulators.