In California, homes tend to have high water pressure and poor water quality. From a lack of rainfall to unsustainable groundwater pumping, the unfortunate water crisis in the state is caused by several factors. A lack of fresh river flows can lead to high salt levels that contaminate the drinking water for communities. The potentially harmful levels of toxins cause poor drinking water quality in local waterways. Another prominent issue is high water pressure, which is caused by various factors. By knowing the signs of high water pressure in your home, you can take the proper action to address the issue before it gets worse.
Causes of High Water Pressure
You may notice high water pressure if you live downhill from the municipal water supplier. The supplier pumps the water at a higher pressure to reach their customers at the top of a hill or in tall buildings. Gravity causes the water to travel faster and increases the pressure of the water. Overheating water tank systems may also cause overly pressurized water in your home. Water expands and pressure increases as the temperature rises in your heating system. Another common cause of high water pressure is a broken pressure regulator which is a small valve that controls the water pressure in individual homes. It is installed on the main water supply and reduces the water pressure to safe levels. There is a possibility that your home may not have a pressure regulator, so it is important to check. A pressure regulator is essential in achieving the appropriate water pressure in your home.
High Water Pressure Issues
If the excessively high water pressure is left unchecked, it can cause:
Damage to pipes and fixtures: Excessive water pressure can erode the pipes and other plumbing fixtures. This can lead to the premature failure of many plumbing components and appliances in your home, including faucets, water heater systems, washing machines, and dishwashers.
Leaks: Fixture leaks occur from high water pressure because stoppers become unable to prevent water from forcing its way through. Leaks result in wasted water and expensive water bills.
Water damage: High water pressure that remains unaddressed can result in a ruptured water supply line. Dangerous long-term issues of water damage include black mold and structural damage.
High utility bills: If your monthly water bill is increasing and you are not using more water than usual, your home may have high water pressure.
Loud pipes and appliances: If you have high water pressure, you may notice banging noises in pipes when you turn the water on, known as water hammer. The water flow stopping or abruptly changing direction causes plumbing pipes to clash with one another or the surrounding framing. Noisy appliances and continuously running toilets are other signs.
How to Fix Your Water Pressure
You may have high water pressure if you’re experiencing leaky pipes, noisy appliances, a high water bill, or a short hot water supply. The recommended water pressure for homes in California ranges from 45 to 65 psi. It should not be less than 15 or more than 80 psi at any time. Anything higher than 80 psi can result in system failure and the plumbing complications stated above.
To check your home’s water pressure, you can attach a water pressure test gauge to the exterior faucet on your water heater or a hose faucet.
For most homes, a water pressure regulator will be the most effective solution to help get your water pressure under control. Regulators have a lifespan of about 7-12 years before they need to be replaced. They should be installed and serviced by a professional plumber to ensure it works effectively. Pressure regulators became mandatory in 2002. Houses built after that date should already have one installed. I
f your pressure regulator valve is broken or missing, be sure to replace it to regulate your water pressure.If damage to your plumbing system has already occurred, any existing leaks should be sealed and damaged pipes should be replaced. Addressing these plumbing issues will allow you to pass a home inspection, avoid expensive repairs, and prevent potential water damage.