Though high water pressure can have its benefits, such as more relaxing and effective showers, it can also cause serious damage to home plumbing systems, fixtures, and appliances, as well as your home itself if pipes begin to leak. Most residential plumbing systems are designed to handle 40 to 60 PSI of pressure, with 80 PSI being the typical maximum and anything over 100 PSI being possibly detrimental to plumbing components. If you suspect you have high water pressure in your Charleston home, it is important to have it tested and corrected as soon as possible by a professional plumber.
Why Are the Pipes Banging in the House?
Banging pipes are one of the most common symptoms of high water pressure in a house, as they can lead to more frequent occurrences of the “water hammer” effect. Water hammer occurs when the flow of water is suddenly interrupted, such as when a valve is closed, causing shockwaves of pressure within a pipe.
When the water pressure is too high in a home, common tactics to mitigate or prevent water hammer, such as adding air chambers or water hammer arrestors, will not be enough to prevent the effect from occurring. The water hammer effect can be quite forceful, causing the pipes to move and bang together, and as the pressure waves impact valves and fittings, damage can occur that leads to leaks. Other causes of pipe banging can include pipes that are not secured properly or pipes that are installed with too little space around them for movement as they expand and contract.
Other Symptoms of High Water Pressure in a House
While banging pipes may be a sure sign of high water pressure, there are several other symptoms that you should watch for. These include:
- High water usage – With high water pressure, it is easy to use more water than you intend to, increasing your water usage and your water bills.
- High faucet pressure – If the water at your kitchen or bathroom faucets seem to be overly pressurized, they sputter often, or they spray forcefully from the aerators, the pressure may be too high.
- Short appliance life – High water pressure may cause appliances like washing machines, dishwashers, and water heaters to fail prematurely.
- Plumbing leaks – High water pressure may cause pipes, pipe joints, fittings, and valves to leak or burst due to the pressure alone, or in combination with the water hammer effect.
Together, the effects of high water pressure can become quite expensive, especially as appliances begin failing and water damage occurs due to leaks.
What Causes High Water Pressure?
The most common causes of high water pressure include:
- High supply pressure – In areas where there are tall buildings, fire hydrants, or plenty of hills, the pressure of the municipal water system may be set intentionally high to ensure adequate pressure at all locations. Normally, homes in such areas will be equipped with a water pressure regulator to reduce pressure and protect the home’s plumbing systems.
- Low location – If your home is in a low spot or at the bottom of a hill, the water pressure may naturally increase with gravity as it approaches your home.
- Temperature changes – As the temperature increases in your plumbing system, water will expand and pressure will increase. This can occur as water is heated by the water heater, especially if it has a defective expansion tank or pressure relief valve.
- Faulty water pressure regulator – If your home has a water pressure regulator installed, it may have failed. Water pressure regulators tend to last about 7 to 10 years before replacement is necessary.
How to Solve High Water Pressure Problems
For most homes, a water pressure regulator will be the most effective solution to high water pressure problems. This device is installed on the main water supply line, just after the water meter. It will reduce the water pressure to safe levels for your home plumbing system, and it needs to be replaced every 7 to 10 years to keep pressures at normal levels. A water pressure regulator should be installed and serviced by a professional plumber to ensure it works effectively.
High Water Pressure Repair in Charleston, SC
Does your home in Charleston have high water pressure? Our expert plumbers at Preferred Home Services can help. We offer water pressure regulator installations and replacements, as well as comprehensive plumbing and drain services. Our services are backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee.