Like high blood pressure, high water pressure affects everything it is connected to. Unlike high blood pressure, high water pressure is fairly easy to correct. Local plumbing codes mandate that the water lines entering a structure be 80 psi or lower. A large percentage of the homes in Orange County are in high pressure areas. If your home is in such an area, your system should be equipped with a PRV (pressure reducing valve).
This is important because excessive pressure leads to leaks and premature wear of the water system and the appliances connected to it. Appliances with electronically controlled valves (ice makers, dishwashers, washing machines, water softeners) are particularly susceptible to faster wear by high pressure. Noise caused by water hammer is another side effect of high pressure. Additionally, water travelling through pipes at an excessive pressure increases the normal friction loss that occurs in all piping. Your fixtures (faucets, toilets, valves, etc) are designed to operate at a maximum of 80 psi. Therefore, pressures higher than that will have a detrimental effect on them as well.
If you’re not sure if you are in a high pressure area, stop by our store and we will loan you a “simple to use” gauge that will quickly tell you. If you already know that you have excessive pressure and your home is equipped with a PRV, you need to test your pressure several times a year to make sure the device is working properly. Remember, when testing your pressure, you need to take a static (no water running anywhere in the system) reading. Also note that pressures are generally higher in the late evening or early morning hours. Thermal expansion is also a concern in high pressure areas. You can review our 3/14/14 blog entry about this subject. Like any mechanical device, PRV’s don’t last forever. Often when they fail, it will be gradual so you may not notice it. The average life of an installed PRV is about 10 years.
When a doctor says you need to lower your blood pressure, they know it is for the benefit of your overall health and he/she will generally check your pressure each visit. When we perform service at your home we routinely check the water pressure because your water system could be at risk and you need to know about it. We stock a wide array of PRV valves and can install one for you or help you do it yourself.