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Testing Your Home Water Pressure: A Comprehensive Guide

Take a moment to think about all the different ways you rely on water at your home…

Clean drinking water literally keeps you healthy and safe. Water is necessary for washing clothes, dishes, and more. That includes yourself, as we need water for bathing, showering, rinsing after brushing our teeth, and more. It’s also necessary for cooking.

Don’t forget that water also helps remove waste, whether it’s by flushing the toilet or rinsing food particles down the drain into a garbage disposal.

That’s just inside the house. Outside we use water for watering our lawns and gardens, washing cars and windows, filling pools, sprinklers for children to play in during the summer, and more.

All of those are just the most common uses we have for water in our homes. There might be many more depending on an individual family’s activities and needs.

Obviously, a properly functioning plumbing system is a critical requirement in any home, and a key component of that is water pressure. If there are problems with your system and it does not have the water pressure levels all the components need, some or all of those functions we need our water for can become difficult or impossible to perform.

Knowing how to test water pressure at home allows you to periodically check water pressure, and this can alert you to a problem that you can address before a major problem occurs. When it comes to plumbing, big problems can be expensive and messy, so it’s nice to know how to test water pressure at home.

Understanding the Importance of Water Pressure

First, it’s essential to understand the importance of water pressure, signs that water pressure is too high or too low, and what problems can result from it.

Water pressure is about getting the right amount of volume and force of water to the fixtures. In other words, water pressure is an indicator that water fixtures are working properly.

Identifying Low Water Pressure: Signs and Solutions

Low water pressure is something that’s pretty easy to notice. Weak flow when you’re in the shower is one obvious example. Other places where weak water flow is easily evident include sinks, spigots, and hoses.

Signs to look out for that indicate low water pressure in your home include: water fixtures producing less water, your appliances (like a washing machine or dishwasher) taking longer to do their job or don’t work effectively anymore, and low PSI on a water pressure gauge.

If you suspect problems with your water pressure, Four Seasons Plumbing wants to help you pinpoint the issue and offer the best solution to your situation. Give us a call today and schedule an inspection.

Impact of Low Water Pressure: Immediate Problems and Underlying Issues

When low water pressure exists, the instant problems that result include making it a lot harder to clean dishes and clothing, taking longer to fill items, and turning taking a shower, especially when it comes to rinsing off shampoo or soap, into something of a challenge. However, low water pressure can also be an indicator of a more serious problem somewhere in the system. Such problems can include clogs and leaking pipes that interfere with adequate water flow.

Clogs and leaking pipes can be sources of other troubles, such as further damage to pipes, noxious (and possibly harmful) gasses making their way back into a home, and water damage that can include rot, warping, mold, and mildew.

Recognizing High Water Pressure: Indicators and Consequences

The signs of excessively high water pressure aren’t always so obvious, though some are, such as unusually high pressure and flow when you open a spigot or turn on a faucet. Still, water pressure that’s too high can cause serious trouble. For instance, it can be really hard on plumbing lines and fixtures, possibly damaging them. Sometimes, it can even cause blowouts in washing machine hoses and in flex lines, which in turn can lead to flooding in the home, one of the potentially most damaging and expensive plumbing emergencies that can occur.

The Role of Pressure Regulators and Regular Checks

Suppose your home has a pressure regulator or a pressure-reducing valve on the main water supply line. In that case, you should still be checking your water pressure, though, because the regulator or valve, like any other part, can eventually fail.

It’s therefore important to check your water pressure at least a couple of times a year, not just because of problems you can see but also because of those you can’t see.

Steps to Test Water Pressure at Home

If you’re wondering how to check water pressure at home, here’s some good news: it’s easy and inexpensive. The most convenient scenario is already having a dedicated water pressure gauge hooked up somewhere in the home’s water line. This makes it quick and easy to check water pressure anytime you want.

For homes that don’t have a dedicated water pressure gauge, the process is still pretty simple. You’ll need a water pressure gauge (inexpensive and easily obtainable at a local home and garden center or hardware store), a pair of pliers, and a rag for wiping up any spills.


1. Choose a location to test your water pressure. 

Does your water come from a city or municipal water supply facility? If it does, the best spot for testing your water pressure is the outdoor hose spigot that’s closest to where the main water supply line enters your home. For those whose water comes from a well, the best location is a faucet or other fixture close to the well’s pressure tank. 

Using a fixture that’s fed by a supply pipe that’s the largest size inside the house will give the most accurate reading; bathroom plumbing fixtures often have smaller lines. These largest lines are typically ¾ inch to 1 inch, but they can be as small as half an inch.

2. Shut off other sources of water.

When you check the water pressure and there’s water running elsewhere in the home, you can get a false low reading as a result. So before you install the gauge and check the pressure, make sure no other sinks, spigots, or faucets are running.

Also, make certain that dishwashers, washing machines, and refrigerators that have water lines aren’t operating. You don’t have to shut off the water flow; just ensure none of those things are in operation.

3. Install the water pressure gauge.

If there’s a hose or anything else attached to the spigot or faucet you’re testing, remove it. Next, screw the pressure gauge on. The gauge should give readings in psi (pounds per square inch) and should have female hose threads so that you can attach them to the fixture.

A tight seal is important for an accurate reading, and the rubber gasket inside the pressure gauge should enable an adequate seal just by hand-tightening. Still, if there is any water leaking, that’s when you’ll need those pliers (or an adjustable wrench) to make sure you get a good seal.

4. Check the water pressure.

Now all you have to do is turn the water on all the way and then get a reading from the dial on the pressure gauge.

What if you don’t have a hose bib for checking the water pressure? It’s still easy to check it on your own. Just use the faucet that supplies cold water to your washing machine. First, you’ll have to remove the hose attached to it. That hose will also have water inside it, so be careful to avoid or minimize spills. Once the hose is off, screw the water pressure gauge on and turn the spigot on to full pressure.

Understanding Your Water Pressure Results

Now that you’ve used your water pressure gauge to get a reading, what are those results telling you?

Typically, the water pressure in a home ranges from 40 to 80 psi, and in general, it shouldn’t exceed 60 psi. So, if your reading comes back under 40, your water pressure is lower than it should be, and if it’s over 80, it’s higher than it should be.

If you have a pressure regulator and it’s giving a reading over 80 psi, that’s a sign that the regulator needs to be repaired or replaced; most standard pressure regulators have a maximum adjustment of up to 90 psi. In case you don’t have a pressure regulator, you should consider having one installed if the pressure gauge is reading over 60 psi.

You should take a second reading to make sure you did everything right and to see if you get consistent results. When it seems pretty clear that your water pressure is too high or too low, it’s time to call your water supplier or the utility company to see if someone can come out to make an adjustment, or you can call a plumber for a thorough inspection to determine if repairs are necessary. This is never a situation to ignore, and you should act with special haste the farther above or below normal the water pressure is.


Knowing how to test water pressure at home is a critical skill and a task that isn’t hard to perform. Checking your water pressure at least twice a year can help you discover problems in your system and take steps to resolve them before you’re faced with major repairs that carry a lot of costs and inconvenience.

At Four Seasons Plumbing, we hope you’ve found this guide to testing your home water pressure comprehensive and helpful, and if you have any questions, please let us know!

Max Rose - Owner of Four Seasons Plumbing


Max Rose

Max Rose is the owner of Four Seasons Plumbing, a plumbing company in Asheville, North Carolina.