How do I Convert Inches of Water to Pressure?

Written by mark slingo
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How do I Convert Inches of Water to Pressure?
Divers need to know the water pressure at given depths for calculations. (divers image by Paul Wright from

Water pressure increases directly proportionally to depth. The pressure at certain depths of water needs to be considered with regard to structural planning in such things as swimming pools and aquariums and in recreational activities such as scuba diving, when the human body is directly affected by water pressure. Converting the depth to a pressure requires two calculations when converting from imperial measurements.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Measure your depth. For example, 20 inches of water is what we are looking to calculate the pressure in.

  2. 2

    Convert your inch measurement to a metric measurement. The conversion rate is 1 inch = 0.025 meters. In our example, 20 inches is 20 x 0.025 = 0.5 meters.

    Convert inches into meters. The conversion rate is 1 inch = 0.025 meters. So in our example, 20 inches = 20 x 0.025 meters, or 0.5 meters.

  3. 3

    Calculate the pressure at your given depth. Pressure increases by 1 atmosphere (unit of pressure) every 10 meters. The pressure at the surface is 1 atmosphere, the pressure at 10 meters is 2 atmospheres (atm) and so on. Divide the depth by 10 and + 1 to get the pressure reading. In our example, with 0.5 meters of water (20 inches), the pressure would be 1.05 atm.

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