In a residential setting, water pressure is set to approximately 45-50psi, as the valves and seals in your water system and appliances are designed for this pressure. Over time, code has allowed the usage of different materials to construct water piping systems; some materials are more reliable than others. As they age, it becomes even more important that the water pressure be set to a reasonable level.
City water supply lines come in to the home usually between 85-110psi. Upon entering the home, it passes through a Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV) which regulates the pressure at 45psi. This PRV is essential to protect your water system against excess pressure and increased chance of rupture and flooding. Building code requires their installation, and it’s important to test and replace them as necessary. When they fail over time (they will usually last approximately 5-15 years) they stop regulating the pressure at all, allowing full city pressure into your home’s system. It’s also not uncommon for the city’s water supply pressure to spike well above normal, further increasing risk of damage. Any compromised piping, seals, gaskets etc. are at high risk of leaking. Burst pipes from excessive water pressure make up the majority of our insurance-related calls.
Telltale signs of high water pressure include: dripping water at the relief valve on your hot water tank, or at water pipe connections, excessive water flow at taps and noisy fill valves on toilets. If you notice any of these taking place, a certified plumber should come check the pressure in the home. If it’s above normal, the PRV will need adjustment or replacement. Often overlooked, this is such an important step in protecting your home and its contents. In the event of a flood, getting your insurance to go through smoothly will be much easier if you have stayed on top of the required maintenance of your water system.
With regular maintenance and replacement as needed, your PRV reduces risk of flood damage to your home.