Do You Have Low Water Pressure Inside Your Home? or Problems With The Sprinklers Not Working Correctly? Can Anything Be Done About It?

If you feel like your water pressure just isn't what it used to be or maybe it never has been really great, there may be something that you can do to fix the problem or at least determine what is going on before you call a plumber or handyman.

The first thing you can do is go to Home Depot and purchase a Water Pressure Gauge. This is what you are looking for among the Rain Bird products. A little green box. You may have to find it yourself--as this seems to be a little known item among the Home Depot sprinkler supply products. The plumbing guys will look for it in the plumbing supplies, but you will have to go to where all the sprinkler supplies are to find this one. (Or you an buy it online via Amazon below). After you buy it, take it home and attach it to your water facet outside.

The gauge should give you an almost immediate pressure reading to let you know how much water pressure you have in your home. The reason Rain Bird sells these gauges is because sprinkler systems work off of water pressure and if there is not enough pressure to push the sprinkler heads up above your grass--that zone will not get good coverage and the grass or plants will begin to burn and die. So, it is not just what is happening inside your home that is affected by water pressure--outside the home is also important. 

As you can see from the photos to the right, my water pressure was showing about 48 psi of pressure. That explains why I was feeling like the water pressure in the bathrooms and kitchen were just not performing to a comfortable level and why the sprinklers were not getting good zone coverage in the yard.

NOTE: You may want to talk to your city water department about how much water pressure you should be getting before you decide to make adjustments or take steps on your own without the assistance of a professional.


So, what did I do? Well, this is not the first time I have had this problem over the past ten years and the last time I had an issue, the city water team came out and told me that the city supply was fine. They also told me that I would have to adjust the Pressure Reducing Value (PRV) to increase the water pressure to the house.

NOTE: The PRV has a dual function. To increase or to decrease water pressure coming into the house. If you have one installed, you should be able to find it on the home-owner side of the water meter--normally within 1-2 feet from the water meter cover. Keep in mind, you may have too little or too much water pressure. Too much pressure can cause water fixtures and fittings to loosen and stress and this could cause pipes or fittings to break or explode under the pressure--causing a flood inside or outside your home. In fact, there are all kinds of problems that can occur if your water pressure is too high that may not be obvious at first. If you have any questions about how much is too much or too little water pressure--consult a professional before you make any changes to your water pressure or plumbing.

How do you locate your PRV? Locate your home's water meter cover. Make sure it is your water meter--not your neighbor's meter. Next, look for a small round lid cover straight out from the main water supply pipe on the house side of the meter (between the meter and the house). Inside the cover you should find a small bell shaped value with a screw on the top. You may need a flash light to see into the hole and you may have to dig out the dirt around the value to get to it. Be careful--you may find creepy crawly critters hiding inside this cylinder. If can't find the lid cover, your builder may not have installed a PRV. This would be a very good time to stop and call a professional.

Make sure you have the pressure gauge attached to the outside water facet with the water turned on and you should have a friend standing at that gauge monitoring the pressure as you make adjustments. You should adjust the screw only in very small increments and ask your friend to tell you how each small adjustment affects the pressure coming into the house--as shown on the pressure gauge. Don't get carried away with this by making big adjustments. And if you plan to adjust your water pressure to the max limits of the acceptable range, I do recommend that you call your local plumber and get
him involved before you do something that may cause damage to your plumbing or home. 

I also recommend that you do additional research before you decide to make changes to your water pressure--just so that you know what is "typical or normal" for your area.

You can order your PRV from Amazon here:

Rain Bird P2A - Pressure Gauge


Here are some references to get you started:

Pressure Regulator Valves 

DIY Plumbing

Yahoo Answers

Sprinkler Pressure

Q&A -- Pressure Regulator Values


PLEASE NOTE: I am not a plumber or water supply expert. I am just a simple Realtor, Homeowner and Investor. I like to do my own repairs and home management when I have the time and experience, but I also recognize that sometimes it is just better, smarter and cheaper to hire a professional to do the work for me. If you have any questions or concerns about what you are doing, take this one piece of advise--call a professional. I am not a plumber!

This article was written for your enjoyment and information.


Comments

  1. You would be amazed at the number of people who live with low water pressure, and have been for years. They either see it as a quirk of the house they are living in and don’t realise it can be fixed very simply, or they think it will be very expensive and time-consuming to sort out. Water pressure is a simple plumbing job, if you’re not confident to take a look yourself then call a plumber in and have a decent shower for once!

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