How to Measure Domestic Water Pressure

Written by nick shipley
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Measuring domestic water pressure is a simple diagnostic that aids in understanding the performance or underperformance of showers, faucets and toilets. Simple problems, such as running toilets, banging pipes and drips from the relief valve of a water heater, can quickly be diagnosed and a repair list developed to solve those elusive problems. Start by purchasing a potable water pressure gauge with a hose bibb connection. A hose bibb connection is the female connection, which is similar to the female end of a garden hose or laundry supply hose. These gauges are inexpensive and found at most hardware or home supply stores.

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Things you need

  • Potable water pressure gauge with a hose bibb connection

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  1. 1

    Locate a hose bibb or connection in or around the perimeter of the house. This connection (also known by plumbers as boiler drains) could be the laundry tub faucet, the outdoor spigot/faucet or even the bottom of the water heater. Do not use any connections on a boiler, as the boiler is an isolated system and gives a false pressure reading for the domestic water loop.

  2. 2

    Thread the gauge onto the male faucet or spigot, ensuring a watertight connection.

  3. 3

    Turn off all other faucets and running water fixtures in the home if you have not done so previously.

  4. 4

    Turn the valve on full, and note the pressure.

  5. 5

    Turn the faucet off, and relieve the pressure on the gauge by slowly removing it from the faucet.

Tips and warnings

  • Repeat the procedure to ensure accurate measurements.
  • Most plumbing codes agree that 80 psi is the maximum recommended water pressure for residential usage. Most manufacturers build their fixtures and warranty their fixtures for this rating.
  • Most fixtures operate poorly under 35 psi.
  • If the water pressure exceeds 80 psi, a pressure-reducing valve should be sized and installed at the main shut-off inside the house.
  • Night-time pressures exceed the daytime pressures by 15 psi or more due to reduced usage on the water mains.

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