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There's nothing worse than coming home after a long day to a shower that barely puts out enough water to lather up. Your home's water pressure is important: too low, and your dishwasher and washing machine will struggle to do an adequate job. Too high, and the additional pressure can lead to burst pipes and serious damage. Here's how to test your home's water pressure -- and what to do to get it just right.
What's in it for you?
- More comfortable showers
- Better appliance performance
- Protection for pipes
How to Inspect and Adjust Your Home's Water Pressure:
Buy a Pressure Gauge. These only cost a few dollars at the hardware store, and you can use each year as part of your plumbing maintenance. Choose one that measure flows in pounds per square inch (psi). Choose one with a female hose thread so you can attach it directly to an outdoor spigot.
Turn Everything Off. Go through every room of your house and turn off anything that uses water. This includes your bathroom and kitchen faucets along with your ice maker, dishwasher, irrigation system, pool filler, etc. This is crucial for getting an accurate read.
Attach the Pressure Gauge. Remove the hose from the outdoor spigot closest to your main water line from the street. Screw on the pressure gauge in its place. Make sure it's firmly attached.
Test Your Flow. Turn on the outdoor spigot full blast and check your gauge. Ideal water pressure readings are between 45 and 65 psi.
Fix Low Water Pressure. If your reading is below 45 psi, check to make sure the valves near the input line are fully open. You should also check to see if there's a pressure reducing valve mounted on your water main, which may need to be adjusted or replaced. If all else fails, you can install a pressure booster pump for a permanent solution.
Fix High Water Pressure. If your water pressure is above 75 psi, you should call a plumber to install a pressure regulator. This is an important fix to protect your pipes from bursting and your appliances from wearing out before their time.