prevent High Water Pressure

One of the most common plumbing emergencies I deal with is faulty water heaters. You know, the stuff you think only happens to other people. Flooded homes, soaked carpet, water-logged furniture, destroyed photo albums, the works.

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to prevent this damage, and I’ll explain one of those ways in this blog post. (Another well-kept secret to lengthening the life of you water heater is anode rods. Read about them here.)

Did you know high water pressure can cause your water heater to wear out faster? Most people don’t. But this is the primary reason a water heater leaks prematurely and has to be replaced. If the pressure can be curbed, the water heater will last much longer.

Let’s Talk About High Water Pressure

1. Go to your favorite home improvement store and find the plumbing department. Ask for a water pressure gauge that screws onto a hose bib and buy it. It will cost you about $10.

2. Attach the gauge to a hose bib on the back of your house. Now, a word of caution here – on many homes the hose bib near the entrance of your main water service pipe will bypass the pressure-reducing valve. That’s okay, but you don’t want to take a reading of your water pressure off that hose bib. You want one that is downstream of the pressure-reducing valve, usually on the back of the house.

3. Once the gauge is attached, open the spigot. Look at the gauge and see what your pressure is. It should be 75 PSI or less and it should stay constant. If a faucet in the house is opened, the pressure will drop and when the water is shut off it will rise again. If it goes over 75 PSI and keeps going you have a faulty pressure-reducing valve and it needs to be replaced.

You may love the wonderfully high water pressure, but your water heater and other fixtures do not. By installing this gauge, you’re spending $10 now to save a ruptured water heater tank and potentially hundreds of dollars later. Seems like a pretty good deal to me.

You might be willing to gamble with carpet, flooring, and furniture being ruined by water damage. Those things can be replaced. But family heirlooms, photo albums, and keepsakes can’t. Do you really want to take a chance when the fix is so simple?

While you’re checking on your water heater, you should figure out how old it is, so you’ll have a better idea of when you might need to replace it. Read about how to do that here.

If you need help installing the gauge or checking your water pressure, we can send someone out to help you!

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