Taking a hot shower after a long working day is like manna from heaven that melts away all the exhaustion and revitalizes your body and mind. What if, you can’t enjoy the similar warmth due to less pressure of water or your plumbing system gets stained because the water was gushing with greater pressure than needed? What if your lawn sprinklers stop drizzling or your dishwashing task is taking extra time? Every bit of heavenly feeling would definitely turn into frustration in such cases.
What is Water Pressure?
The total amount of force directing water through a system is called water pressure that is measured in PSI’s or bars. PSI means how forcefully water hits perpendicularly to any surface per unit area that is in pounds per square inch. One bar force is equivalent to 14.5 PSI’s which lift water to the level of 10 meters. An extra pressure means your piping gets hit with an extra force that could result in bursting and the low pressure means you’re getting lesser water flow in any of your water channels.
The importance of measuring water pressure
No matter how costly and high-quality home appliances you’ve installed for your ease and foolproof plumbing is done, all these would only work in their best capacity if the water is oozing at a constant flow. In both cases, either the water pressure is low or high than the required standard, your appliances and plumbing system could run into a problem and will drive you nuts as long as it’s left unattended. It is therefore compulsory to test your water pressure, so you could lay your fingers exactly on the problematic area.
What Is A Water Pressure Gauge?
A water pressure gauge is a simple mechanical tool to determine the exact pressure of water through the plumbing system from the main supply to various water outlets. This gauge is a round dial with PSI readings along with a needle that moves along as much as the pressure it receives. This gauge is connected through a faucet when all other water outlets are closed to give the exact measurement.
Different Types Based on Working Principles:
When pressure is applied through any medium, the conversion of that force takes place and causes physical displacement of anything set in front of it. It could be a mechanical movement of a pointer that moves along a scale or causes a change in values of electronic components like capacitors or resistors.
A water pressure gauge or any other similar device has a sensor that reacts to a physical stimulus i.e. pressure that is directly applied to it and as a result, it indicates the same amount of employed pressure. The basic phenomenon is the same but different kinds of pressure gauges work differently while giving the same results.
Based on their sensing elements and working principles, generally, pressure gauges are categorized into three types.
- Diaphragm pressure gauge consists of a circular mutable plate that outstretches when it receives a pressure. When two similar plates are affixed, these transformed into a capsule and a pair of capsules adopted into a stacked diaphragm.
The sensitivity augments with the increased number of capsules forming a more accurate gauge. A pointer/needle is connected at one end of capsules that fluctuates as much as pressure is applied to those plates or capsules.
- Bellows pressure gauge works on the same principle as the diaphragm does. The only difference is, diaphragm embodies multiple sheets whereas below comprises a single sheet which expands when pressure is applied at the one end and as much as it elongates the pointer connected through the other end moves along the scale with the same proportion.
- Bourdon pressure gauge is a ‘C’, helical, or a spiral-shaped slopping upward thin tube exuding from a socket fitting. When the tube is pressurized, it tends to unbend with the force perpendicular to the applied pressure causing a pointer to move along a dial. This pointer is connected through a link to a gear segment and a pinion gear that moves in a circle and stops at the exact reading proportional to the applied pressure.
How Water Pressure is Measured and Adjusted:
Before proceeding with the water pressure measurement, you should know that the typical household water pressure remains between 40 to 60 psi and 50 psi is perfect for most people. However, it depends on the location and height of your home as well as your choice. Let’s start now with the measurement of water pressure.
- You can buy a water pressure gauge from any nearby hardware store for more or less $10. Make sure your gauge is calibrated before installing it.
- Turn off all water taps, showerheads, sprinklers, and all other water faucets to get the exact reading on your gauge.
- Select the testing location and the best one is the nearest to the water meter if your supply comes from the communal supply line. If you own a well then choose the spigot nearer to the pressure tank of your well and peg up the gauge with that hydrant.
- Once the gauge hose is affixed and tighten enough to prevent any water leak, turn the tap on gradually. The needle will move from zero to whatever the current pressure is which should be in between 40-60 psi.
- If your water pressure at the outer faucet is normal and still, you’re having inhouse issues especially with low pressure, hook the gauge on different faucets, and in this way, you’ll find the exact location where the problem is occurring.
How to Fix High or Low Water Pressure Issue?
If the water pressure is beyond the recommended range i.e. below 40 or above 60 psi, you need to take care of the issue.
- In case, your water pressure is lower than what you needed, adjust your water regulator if it’s installed there. If still the pressure isn’t rising, it might be the faulty regulator and needs to be repaired or replaced.
Sometimes, it’s not the malfunction of your regulator and it’s the main supply that is not delivering required pressure. In such a case, you can mount a pressure booster to get appropriate water flow. It could also be a burst pipe, plumbing fixture issue, or leakage that should be traced out and taken care of.
- If on the flip side, your water pressure gauge indicates high pressure, a regulator should be installed if you haven’t before to normalize the water pressure. If already a regulator is installed, fix it or replace with the new one otherwise your plumbing fixtures could get stained or burst.