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Why Is High Water Pressure A Potential Problem?

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You may have more control over your home's water pressure than you realize. If you use municipal water, you likely have a pressure-reducing valve near your main water supply line. Since the city's water supply is too highly pressurized for home use, an adjustable valve brings this back to a reasonable level. For homes with well water, a switch on the pressure tank serves a similar purpose.

Many people enjoy higher pressure water for showers, and it can sometimes be necessary to deliver sufficient pressure to distant fixtures, but it can also become a problem. Setting your water pressure too high can damage your pipes and fixtures. Unusually high water pressure may also be a sign that something is wrong with your home's plumbing.

The Causes of High Water Pressure

In most cases, high water pressure results from user error. You may have adjusted your reducing valve in the past, or you may have an incorrectly set switch on your well's tank. In either case, the solution is usually straightforward: adjust your valve or the upper limit on your pressure switch to 60 psi or lower. You may want to choose a lower value to conserve more water.

If this doesn't solve the issue, your pressure-reducing valve may be failing. A failing valve can produce inconsistent pressure that may fluctuate between too low and too high, or it may simply break in a way that causes consistently high pressure. A faulty switch on your well water pressure tank can have similar results.

Why You Shouldn't Ignore High Water Pressure

Although slightly high water pressure might not seem like an issue, it can cause numerous problems with your home's plumbing. Higher pressure results in a greater flow rate, meaning more water is physically moving through your pipes. This increased pressure can damage your pipes, cause loud water hammer, and even wear out faucets and other fixtures.

High water pressure can also cause other, more subtle problems. For example, issues with water quality can cause copper pipes to corrode from the inside out. High water pressure worsens this situation, wearing away weakened sections of piping and creating pinhole water leaks. Over time, this can lead to irreversible damage to your pipes.

If you suspect your water pressure might be too high, you can try adjusting it yourself to bring it back within a normal range. If this doesn't solve the problem, contact a plumber as soon as you can. Allowing your home's water pressure to remain at an excessive level can have wide-ranging effects on your plumbing, so dealing with the issue promptly is usually the best solution.