High Water Pressure in the Home:
The majority of homes in the Greater Portland and Vancouver area that are connected to the municipal water supply receive water at a pressure of 40 to 80 pounds per square inch which is considered safe and acceptable for the plumbing system of the home. However, there are circumstances that can cause water pressure in the home to be higher than the allowed 80 psi. Water pressure can be elevated to accommodate high rise buildings and fire hydrants. Sometimes the location of the home, such as being at the bottom of a hill, can cause elevated water pressure.
As part of our home inspection, we test the water pressure in the home using a water pressure gauge. When we find water pressure that is above 80 pounds per square inch, we recommend correction. We do this because excessive water pressure in the home can damage the pipes, the plumbing fixtures, and the appliances. Most home plumbing systems are not designed or intended to handle pressure above 80 psi. When the pressure is above 80 psi, there is a risk of leaks developing. If the leak is in a location that is not readily visible or accessible, the damage from the leak can cause significant property damage.
Symptoms that the home may have high water pressure include plumbing fixtures like faucets that begin to leak prematurely, leaks that only show up at night, and toilets that run without being used. Pipes that make a banging sound when using faucets can also be a symptom.
Correcting the problem is usually pretty simple. Newer homes will typically have a water pressure regulator, (also known as a water pressure reducing valve), installed which will regulate the pressure to a safe level. Sometimes the valve has failed, as any building component can, and is no longer regulating the pressure. Other times the regulator has been adjusted incorrectly and is allowing excessive water pressure. A qualified person should confirm that the regulator is operational and adjust the water pressure to a safe level.
If a home does not have a water pressure regulator installed, we recommend having a qualified plumbing contractor install one. It is typically not very expensive or difficult to do.