One of the aggravating things we have to deal with in the Phoenix metro area is higher than normal water pressure. Ideally, water pressure should be above 50 psi, but below 70 psi (Here’s the tech tip: “psi” stands for “pounds per square inch” – which is “pressure” – or how hard and fast the water comes out of your faucets). If you’ve got water pressure that’s over 70 psi – this isn’t a good thing, and different parts of Phoenix regularly have water pressure over 90 psi. If you own a home – this is definitely something you should check into, because this kind of high water pressure can affect your Faucet and fixtures, causing leaks from gaskets and washers. This will cause warranty issues with your appliances, as well as cause floods.
Problems that high water pressure causes
Why is too much water pressure a problem? High water pressure may be great for a good, hard shower, but it’s bad for plumbing, and it could end up costing you thousands of dollars in repair bills. The problems that high water pressure cause are:
- Wasting water: Water that’s running at higher-than-normal pressure uses more water than needed, and given Arizona’s consistent water issues – this is a huge problem.
- Higher water bills: If more water is gushing out of your faucets than you need – you’re running up your water bills unnecessarily.
- Increase hot water cost: again – if hot water is flowing too fast through all the appliances that use hot water – dishwasher, washing machine, etc. – this means your hot water heater is operating longer and harder. It also means more wear and tear on every hose and gasket in contact with the water.
- More expensive sewer bills: If you’re in a community that meters water usage on sewer charges – it’s going to be higher the more water your system uses.
- Shorter lifespan for water heaters: not only does the water pressure wear out your water heater faster, there’s also the possibility of a boiling liquid vapor explosion, and this is definitely something you don’t want.
- Shorter lifespan on dishwashers and washing machines: Again, water simply wears everything out (think what it did to the Grand Canyon); and too much of it flowing through your appliances will make them wear out far faster than they should. Also – if you happen to have an extended warranty – high water pressure may invalidate that warranty.
- Leaks: Lots of water pounding through your pipes is going to cause leaks at joints throughout your home.
- Moisture damage: moisture damage is the homeowner’s bane, and it can happen under the slab, in the walls – anywhere a pipe springs a leak. If the leak goes unnoticed it can cause a lot of damage, and sometimes the leaks caused by high water pressure are easy to miss.
How to tell if your water pressure is too high
Have you or are you experiencing any of the following problems? If you have – then you may have water pressure issues that are damaging your plumbing system, so look for:
- running toilets
- leaking faucets
- water spitting out of pipes
- water that gushes out when faucet first turned on, then slows to a normal rate
- pipes that bang or make noise
- water/sewer bills that seem excessively high compared to neighbors
Sometimes high water pressure may not be obvious
The problems above are definite signs of high water pressure, but sometimes it’s just not as obvious that this is what’s going on, and the damage that’s being done may go unnoticed until something leaks and/or fails. It’s possible that your water pressure may “seem fine,” or normal, and still have water pressure that’s running too high. This is because your fixtures may have flow restrictors on them that are regulating the flow, so none of the symptoms that are easy to recognize are happening.
You may not know you have a problem – it’s best to test
Because of the above, we’ve had customers that were shocked to find out that the problem with their plumbing was actually a result of high water pressure. This is why we feel it’s always “best to test.” When we’re out on a call, we’ll almost always test the water pressure while we’re at it to make sure there’s not an issue that can cause problems for our customers.
What’s the fix?
If in doubt – go ahead and call us so we can come on out and test your pressure. If it’s over 70 or 80 psi – a water pressure regulator is inexpensive and we can install it quickly and easily. It may also be a good idea to install braided stainless steel flex lines in certain places in your home, like under toilets and sinks, and at the washing machine connection. If the flex lines you have installed now are low quality, then they’ll continue to be a weak link, even if you get your water pressure under control.
The bottom line is – your home is your most valuable financial asset, so protect your investment by installing a pressure regulator. It’s a cost-effective fix that may save you thousands of dollars down the road, and at Moon Valley Plumbing we’re all about taking care of our customers – and their wallets, so ask us how.