One of the most overlooked aspects of home water flow and plumbing is the pressure that pushes the water through your pipes and out the various faucets and spigots in your home.
The reason that your home’s water pressure should never be taken for granted is that water pressure can be the source of many plumbing problems.
For example, if you have too little water pressure in your plumbing clogs can form and too much water pressure will stress the system and possibly cause leaks.
This is why in my many years in the swimming pool and hot tub industry, I always trained my workers to be aware of the water pressure on the filtration systems that we were working on.
In this home water pressure & water filters guide, I will go over what your home’s high and low water pressure PSI (pounds per square inch) rating should be, how to test the pressure in your main plumbing line, and some of the issues in plumbing that impact water pressure.
I will even provide you with information on some of the types of water filters that may impact your home’s water pressure.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is The Ideal Water Pressure in a Home?
- 2 How to Test Home Water Pressure?
- 3 What Causes Low Water Pressure?
- 4 What Causes High Water Pressure?
- 5 How Does a Water Filtration System Affect Water Pressure?
- 6 What to Look for in a Water Filter to Maintain Adequate Home Water Pressure
- 7 Some Final Thoughts on Water Pressure and Water Filters
What Is The Ideal Water Pressure in a Home?
There are a range of different opinions here but I will start with some consensus ones. Most plumbers would agree that having over 80 PSI in your plumbing system is something that you don’t want.
Some plumbing experts also say that 50 is the maximum PSI there should be in your household plumbing system.
This makes even more sense when you realize that many pressure-reducing valves that are placed on water lines cannot be set over 50.
Your incoming household water pressure can also be too low. Codes in most cities only require as little as 20 PSI for incoming water lines. That is a PSI figure that should never be acceptable to you. Even 30 PSI I would consider to be too low.
That’s why I like to see at least a 40 PSI reading on any incoming household water supply line.
Given all of this, I am comfortable with my home’s water pressure falling somewhere between 40 to 60 PSI.
How to Test Home Water Pressure?
The easiest way to do this is by using a low-pressure gauge with a hose adapter such as the Measureman 2-1/2″ Water Pressure Test Gauge pictured above.
You can see that this tester measures water pressure between zero and 200 PSI which covers the ideal water pressure ranges discussed above.
Because it has a hose adapter, it makes it easy to test your water by using one of your outside spigots with garden hose threading.
You simply have to thread your pressure gauge onto the spigot and then open the spigot and take a reading. If it reads between 40 to 60 PSI, you are ok. Anything more or less and you would want to take corrective steps.
What Causes Low Water Pressure?
Here are some of the conditions to look for if your home’s water pressure tests to the low side:
Low Incoming Water Line Pressure
One thing for sure is that your incoming water pressure is not going to increase in your home’s plumbing lines unless you have a problem somewhere that’s causing a pressure buildup.
So, if your incoming water pressure is bad to begin with, then this is a problem you may have to live with or consult with a plumber to try and rectify it.
You can also place a call to your municipal water supplier and see if there is something that they can do to help. Be sure to double-check your outside water main shutoff to see if the valve can be opened further too.
Clogs And Restrictions In The Plumbing Lines
It goes without saying that if you have clogs or other significant restrictions in your plumbing lines, you are going to have some low water pressure issues.
Often clogs in plumbing are the direct result of limescale buildup due to a high TDS content in your tap water. This results because of a condition that’s known as having ‘hard water’.
As limescale builds up over time on the inside of your plumbing pipes, it eventually will start to cut down on the amount of space that water has to travel through a pipe and may even eventually block it totally.
Water Hardness is something that you can test for if you find your pipes are repeatedly becoming clogged up with scale or your water pressure seems to be diminished for no apparent reason.
Leaks In Plumbing Lines
Plumbing line leaks in your home can be a major source of low water pressure.
A good analogy here is a balloon. When it’s full of air and has no holes, you can push on it and the steady pressure inside causes that balloon to snap back into place when the pressure is taken off.
Once that same balloon develops a leak, when you put pressure in it, the balloon does not snap back into shape the same as before.
This same thing happens in your plumbing lines when you have a leak. The pressure inside your pipe has a place to escape, so you now have less water pressure inside of your pipes. As the size of the leak increases, so too does the amount of pressure loss.
Pressure Reducing Valve Failure
If you have good water pressure coming from your well pump or your municipal water supply, it might have been necessary to put a pressure regulator on your water line near where it enters your home.
As you can see in the photo above, these devices include a regulator valve at the top of them that can fail and cause a restriction in your water flow.
What Causes High Water Pressure?
There are many more potential causes of low water pressure in your home than those that can cause high water pressure but here are a few to be aware of:
Increase In Water Supply Pressure
This can be caused by an increase in the city supplied water pressure or as a result of you doing something like placing a bigger size well water pump on your system.
Defective Pressure Reducing Valve
Once again, the pressure regulator valve on your water supply line can be the culprit. If it’s malfunctioning and stuck in a more open position, this may cause your home’s water pressure to increase.
How Does a Water Filtration System Affect Water Pressure?
When you hear ‘filter’ mentioned as it pertains to a device that is placed on a water supply line to treat the water that passes through it, the word restriction should immediately come to mind.
It only stands to reason that water pressure will be diminished as it contacts a filter inside a water filtration device and this will, in turn, impact your plumbing system’s water pressure.
The good news is that when filters are clean and in good condition, they restrict water flow very little in most cases (there are exceptions such as with reverse osmosis filtration systems).
The bad news is when they are not clean and in good condition, they can form a severe restriction to your home’s water flow.
This restriction will result in two conditions. The water on the supply side of the filter will now be under more pressure and the water on the service side of the filter will have less pressure than before.
What to Look for in a Water Filter to Maintain Adequate Home Water Pressure
It must first be mentioned that the only time your overall household water pressure will be impacted by a water filtration system is if you have one that is designed to treat 100% of your incoming tap water (called point of entry or whole-house water filters).
Point of use water filters such under cabinet, showerhead, and faucet filters are a non-factor with overall water pressure in your home as they will only impact water flow at a single plumbing exit point.
This then only leaves two types of whole-house filtration devices that can impact your home’s overall water pressure. These are:
1. Carbon-Based Whole-House Filters
Carbon based whole house water filters will only have a slight impact on your home’s overall water pressure as long as they are maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
2. Reverse Osmosis Whole-house Filters
This is a whole-house reverse osmosis water purification device that can affect the overall water flow in your home. That’s because the filter membrane pore size in these is incredibly small; so, water does not pass through them easily.
It’s one of the main reasons that people most often install carbon-based whole-house water filtration devices working in conjunction with point-of-use reverse osmosis systems.
Newer technologies, such as the addition of booster pumps to the system, are starting to allow faster water flow through reverse osmosis filtration devices.
Some Final Thoughts on Water Pressure and Water Filters
One thing that you never want to do is not put a water filtration device in your home because you are worried about water pressure.
There are just too many ways to correct any slight changes in water pressure that these may create. Also, manufacturers have specifically designed them not to severely restrict water flow.
You should also be aware that the benefits that you get by drinking purer water far outweigh any very minor changes in water pressure that a whole-house water purification system may create.
So, although your home’s water pressure is something that it’s good to be aware of, it should not significantly impact your decision as to whether or not you purchase a water filtration device.