Nashville Home Inspector – What is Normal Water System Pressure?

Normal Home Water Pressure 

by

Richard Acree

http://habitecinspections.com

Do you know what your home water pressure is?  If you are like most homeowners, probably not.  So look at the pressure guage below.  It shows 90 psi, is that OK?  

HINT:  If a little is good, a lot is not always better.

ANSWER:  Water pressure.  What’s in a number?  Turns out a lot.  And bigger is not always better.  So what is the optimum water pressure for a home water system?  Depends on who you talk to.  But most experts agree the optimum is actually a range.  Water pressure of 40 psi to 80 psi is a common range of acceptance for home based plumbing systems.  Any lower than 40 psi and the flow of water at the different faucets and shower heads could be too low and a nuisance.  Too high and the water pressure can damage the relatively fragile plastic components and composite gaskets in the plumbing system.  Thing like you find in the toilets and bathroom faucets. 

So how do you control water pressure?  Easy, a pressure regulator.  See the photo below.  Every house should have one of these.  The water pressure provided by the municipality can and frequently does change.  Without a pressure regulator, you would not know if your pressure is moderated to an acceptable range.  With a regulator, you can check your pressure periodically to verify the system is in an acceptable range.  If not, adjust the regulator to get it back into the range.

One exception to the rule does exist.  Often there is one exterior faucet that is outside of the regulated pressure range of the system.  This exterior faucet may well be at a higher pressure than the rest of the house, and that is OK.  This is done so that faucet can supply higher pressure water for exterior cleaning such as for the cars or those things needing higher pressure water.  This is normal.

So how do you check your water pressure?  That also is easy.  Go to your local home supply store or hardware store and purchase an inexpensive water pressure guage like the one in the first photo above.  Check two or three faucets that you can attach the pressure guage to.  Note the pressure when you first hook up the pressure guage, then walk away from the guage for 10 minutes.  Come back later and see if the pressure has changed, most likely an increase.  If it goes up significantly, say more than 10% of the first reading, suspect the pressure regulator is failing.  Pressure regulators are only good for 10-15 years, then they start to fail. 

If the pressure is not in the 40 – 80 psi range you can adjust it using the nut on top of the pressure regulator.

For those with a sharp eye you may have noticed a second issue in the first picture above.  For everbody else, take another look.  Did you see the other issue?  All that water running amock.  That’s a leak at the faucet handle.  Not a big deal for an outside faucet, but an issue nonetheless.  This leak can often be eliminated by tightening the screw that holds the faucet handle on.  If not, check the gasket inside the fixture you are using.

To comment or ask questions about this article please email to richard@habitecinspections.com.

Thank you,

Richard Acree

Comments in this blog posting are the copyrighted intellectual property of Richard Acree, President, HABITEC Home and Building Inspections, LLC,  and are intended to educate and otherwise assist home owners, sellers and buyers, building owners, sellers and buyers, realtors, real estate investors, property managers, and lenders in the process of owning, buying or selling homes or commercial buildings.  HABITEC is a residential (home) and commercial building inspection company serving Middle Tennessee including Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Mt. Juliet, Hendersonville, Dickson, Belle Meade, Columbia, Spring Hill, Lebanon, Gallatin and more!  In addition to building inspections HABITEC offers Environmental Services for mold assessments, radon testing and water quality analysis.  Additional information about HABITEC can be found on our website at http://habitecinspections.com, or call 615-376-2753. 

Richard Acree is the author of  the HABITEC Home and Building Inspections blog at ActiveRain, WordPress, and Blogger, and Founder of the ActiveRain Group Tennessee Home and Building Inspectors.  All are welcome to join and comment on those blogs and group.   You can also follow HABITEC on Facebook and Richard on Linked.  Thank you!

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