How to Check Your Water Pressure in Two Different Ways

When it comes to ensuring your home is functioning properly, one factor that can go overlooked is water pressure. However, understanding and maintaining the optimal water pressure in your home is integral to various appliances and fixtures, such as hot water taps, showers, and water-based heating systems. This guide will walk you through the process of checking your water pressure.

Ideal Water Pressure Levels

An optimal flow rate is around 15 litres per minute, which is considered excellent for various household needs. A flow rate between 10 to 15 litres per minute is still acceptable and should provide sufficient pressure for most tasks. However, anything below 10 litres per minute is regarded as low and may result in weak flow from showers or taps.

Properly gauging your water pressure against these benchmarks is essential for diagnosing potential issues and determining if adjustments are needed.

There are two methods for checking water pressure. One is basic (the 1-litre jug test) and the other is a more accurate, though slightly longer test. We'll go through the basic test first, and then follow up with the more complicated one.

The 1-Litre Jug Test

This straightforward test requires a 1-litre measuring jug, which most kitchens will have. It's an easy way to get an immediate sense of your water pressure. Here's how to conduct the test:

  1. Place a 1-litre measuring jug under the tap or shower that you suspect may be experiencing low water pressure.
  2. Turn the tap or shower on to full capacity. Ensure that it is running at its maximum to get an accurate reading of its performance.
  3. Use a stopwatch to time how long it takes to fill the jug. Accuracy is key, so be sure to start timing as soon as the water begins to flow and stop the moment it reaches the 1-litre mark.
  4. Check your results against the standard. If it takes more than 6 seconds to fill the jug, your water pressure is considered low. This simple diagnostic tool can help you identify areas in your home that may need attention from a plumbing professional.

After doing this test, you'll have a preliminary gauge of your water pressure. If you need something more precise, you can use the pressure gauge test.

The Pressure Gauge Test

To get a precise assessment of your home's water pressure, follow these detailed steps using a standard water pressure gauge. This method provides a more accurate reading than the 1-litre jug test and can help you make informed decisions about any necessary adjustments.

Step 1: Gather the Necessary Tools

Before beginning, ensure you have the following items:

  • A standard water pressure gauge that can be connected directly to a tap, ideally an outside bib tap, for the most accurate measurement.
  • An adjustable spanner to secure the gauge if it doesn't fit snugly by hand.
  • PTFE tape (also known as plumber's tape) creates a watertight seal between the gauge and the tap connection, preventing any leaks during testing.
  • A notebook and pen for recording the pressure readings at different locations around your home to identify any variations.

Step 2: Locate the Main Water Supply and Turn It Off

Safety first! Locate the main water supply, which is typically near your water meter or where the main line enters your home. Turning it off will help prevent accidental leaks or bursts while checking the water pressure. This valve is often found near the water meter on the side of your property.

Step 3: Find a Suitable Water Source for the Gauge

Identify a convenient water source for attaching your pressure gauge, such as an outdoor faucet or the water heater's drain valve. Ensure the connection point is compatible with your pressure gauge.

Step 4: Connect the Pressure Gauge

Using your adjustable spanner, securely connect the pressure gauge to the chosen water source. Apply the thread seal tape to the gauge's threads for a watertight connection. Avoid overtightening to prevent damage.

Step 5: Turn On the Water Supply

Gradually turn on the water supply, allowing the pressure to build up without sudden surges. Careful control can prevent potential damage to both the gauge and your home's water pipes.

Step 6: Read and Interpret the Pressure Gauge

After the pressure stabilises (usually a few minutes), take a reading. An ideal water pressure level lies between 40-60 psi (pounds per square inch). Significant deviations from this range may indicate underlying issues that require attention.

Step 7: Adjust the Water Pressure, If Necessary

If the water pressure falls outside the recommended range, further investigation and adjustment may be needed. Low pressure can suggest problems such as a blockage or leaks in your water supply system. Conversely, high-pressure risks damage to appliances and plumbing infrastructure over time.

Common Problems

Low Water Pressure

  • Check for Leaks: Inspect your home for any visible leaks — plumbing fixtures, toilets or taps.
  • Clogged Pipes or Filters: Clean out any debris in your faucets, showerheads, or filter systems.
  • Regulator Issues: Your water pressure regulator might need repair or replacement. Consider calling a professional.

High Water Pressure

  • Pressure Regulator: If the water pressure is consistently too high, it might be an issue with the regulator. Consult a professional to service or replace it.
  • Sudden Spikes in Pressure: Install water hammer arrestors to absorb the shock of water flow.
  • Damage to Appliances or Pipes: If you're already seeing damage from high water pressure, you should consult with a professional to repair or replace these systems.

In conclusion, maintaining the correct water pressure in your home is crucial for the efficiency of your water system and the longevity of appliances like boiling water taps. Whether you're dealing with low water pressure that affects daily activities or high water pressure that risks damage to your home's infrastructure, understanding how to measure and adjust water pressure is an essential skill for any homeowner.

4 litre Tank Specification
Capacity: 4 ltrs
Width: 197 mm
Depth: 299.5 mm
Height: 272.5 mm
2.4 Litre Tank Specification
Capacity: 2.4 ltrs
Width: 188 mm
Depth: 188 mm
Height: 262 mm