How to measure the PSI for household water pressure

Written by david gordon
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How to measure the PSI for household water pressure
Household water pressure affects flow from taps and showers. (shower image by green 308 from Fotolia.com)

Household water pressure is easy to test. Water pressure gauges are available online or in most hardware stores. Most gauges give readings in units of PSI (pounds per square inch). Households with wells depend on a water pump to generate water pressure. Houses on a municipal system will receive water that is pressurised when it enters the house; in this case there is often a pressure regulator. Household water pressure will decrease when multiple taps or appliances are used. Upstairs taps and showers will have less pressure than those at lower levels. This method will test static water pressure, which is the pressure in the system when no plumbing fixtures are running.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Water pressure gauge

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Turn off all faucets, showers, and appliances that use water.

  2. 2

    Attach the pressure gauge an outdoor spigot, as you would attach a hose. You can use any tap in the house, but outdoor spigots are threaded and will fit the gauge.

  3. 3

    Open the spigot tap fully. If your house has a well, allow the water to flow until you are sure the water pump has turned on.

  4. 4

    Record the pressure reading from the gauge.

  5. 5

    Record three readings, at different times of day, and find their average. Municipal water pressure can vary from time to time throughout the day.

Tips and warnings

  • Most water pumps have a built in gauge. Check this first and use the above method to verify accuracy. Recommended static household pressure is between 30 and 60 PSI for buildings connected to a municipal water system and between 20 and 50 for buildings with their own well. If the pressure is too low, appliances such as dishwashers will not function properly. Excessive pressure causes undue strain on pipes and plumbing. You can change your household water pressure by installing a regulator or making an adjustment to your current regulator. If you have a well you can adjust the setting on your water pump.
  • Before adjusting water pressure to increase flow to showers, make sure that the showerhead in question is not clogged. For municipal water systems, consult your water supplier before making changes to household plumbing.

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