Is It Bad if Your Water Pressure is Too High?
High water pressure seems like a good thing. No one wants a drip to come out of their faucet when they're trying to fill their bathtub. But water pressure that is too high can cause a lot of problems for your plumbing system and wreak particular havoc on your water heater.
Now, you may think you know your home's water pressure is at a safe level, but for Indianapolis residents, what was true a year ago may not be true today.
One of our plumbers, Steve (old Steve, not young Steve) says that since the city has been repairing and expanding the city's outdated sewer system he has witnessed some extreme water pressure changes. This can partly be attributed to the growth of the city in the last century that wasn't followed by growth of the sewer system. In some areas the city has simply upped the pressure in order to meet water demands.
"I have serviced one neighborhood outside Broad Ripple for years and have never seen a home with 50 psi water pressure," says Steve. "Now I'm seeing homes in the neighborhood hitting close to 100 psi."
High water pressure in the home, regardless of how it happened, puts stress on the entire system and can lead to many problems. A leaky faucet could be a result of high water pressure as can a broken water heater.
Water heaters are particularly susceptible to breaking with high water pressure and the warming spring months. This is due to thermal expansion. A water heater that is too full due to high water pressure and with no expansion tank can break at the seam when the water inside gets hot. This not only causes leaks in your water heater but can also destroy flooring, drywall, etc.
Installing a Pressure Relief Valve
So what do you do if you have high water pressure? Well first off, call Hope Plumbing (641-HOPE). We can come and test the water pressure in your home as part of an overall plumbing health check. Then we can see if installing a pressure relief valve on your system will help.
A pressure relief valve (PRV) is just what it sounds like. It regulates the amount of water coming into the system so it doesn't stress the pipes and appliances. We normally recommend a PRV with gauges on either end of the valve so you can see what is coming in from the city and what is getting through to your home.