Imagine how disappointing it would be to get home from work after a long day, excited for a hot shower, only to find out that there wasn’t enough water pressure to provide a strong, steady stream of water. Instead of enjoying a refreshing shower, you have to stand under a barely-there trickle of water, struggling to rinse the shampoo out of your hair.

Hopefully, this illustrates just how important it is to have good water pressure in your home. Low water pressure can make it difficult to do everything from showering to doing the dishes. At the other end of the spectrum, if the water pressure in your home is too high, it has the potential to damage your plumbing system. Additionally, high water pressure can increase your utility costs by causing you to use more water than necessary.

Below is a straightforward explanation of residential water pressure. Once you have a better idea of how water pressure works, you can evaluate your home’s incoming water supply to make sure that it falls within the normal pressure range.

If you live in a city, your home is most likely connected to the municipal water supply. When water from the city enters your home, it usually comes in at a pressure of anywhere between about 40 to 70 pounds per square inch (psi). This is the range that most residential water systems are designed to handle.

In some cases, however, the water pressure coming into your home falls outside of this range. It may be lower, in the 20 to 30 psi range, or it may be higher, coming in at 80 psi or more. When this happens, it can cause a number of problems.

If the water pressure in your home is too low, you may have trouble doing things like showering. You may also find that the pressure is too low for certain water-dependant appliances like your washing machine or dishwasher.

Alternatively, if it is too high, it can cause damage to your plumbing pipes or to your appliances and fixtures. It can also waste water by causing you to use a lot more water than you actually need.

If the water pressure in your home is too high, you will need to install a pressure reducing valve. Typically, these valves are installed between your house and the main water supply valve. They help reduce excessively high water pressure before it has a chance to cause damage to your home’s plumbing system or fixtures.

If the water pressure is too low, on the other hand, it is usually caused by a clog or blockage somewhere in the plumbing system. You will need to do some troubleshooting to determine where the problem lies so that it can be corrected.

This explanation should give you a better understanding of how residential water pressure works. Ideally, the water pressure coming into your home should fall in the 40 to 70 psi range. If it falls outside of that range, you will either need to install a pressure reducing valve to relieve excessive pressure or you will need to figure out if there is a blockage in your system causing a reduction in water pressure.