Tried everything? Learn how to increase water pressure with a water pressure booster pump.
Abridged from the Family Handyman website.
Do you have low water pressure even though the pipes are new? There are several possible causes, but if nothing else works, you can always install a water pressure booster at the water meter.
FYI – In most cases, the main pipeline from the street to your home is either 3/4 or 1 inch in diameter, supply branches use 3/4-inch-diameter pipe, and pipes for individual components are 1/2 inch. Remember that water pressure decreases by a half-pound per square inch for every foot pipes extend above your water supply.
Ways to check for possible water pressure problems
Test your water pressure valve using an outdoor water spigot.
On older homes, poor water pressure can be caused by clogged pipes. But if you’ve already replaced them or have a newer house with new pipes, try the obvious first. Make sure the shutoff valves near the water meter are fully open. Then check the water pressure. If you’re on city water, ask the city’s water department for a pressure reading. A reading of 45 to 55 psi is ideal.
You can also test the water pressure yourself with a pressure gauge (sold at home centers). Hook up the gauge to an outside water spigot, turn on the water, and you’ll get an instant reading. If the reading is low, the city may be delivering water at a low pressure (less than 40 psi). If the city isn’t likely to boost the pressure, consider installing a water pressure booster system. They’re not cheap, starting at $300 at a hardware or plumbing store – check online, too, but make sure quality is built-in. Price and value don’t always go hand in hand. And FYI – any setting over 80 psi will wear out the washers on your plumbing fixtures. Some municipalities require a reduced pressure and backflow preventer to be installed when a water pressure booster is hooked up.
If the pressure reading is adequate, you may have obstructions or some pipes that are too small. Call in a licensed plumber to evaluate your system to see how to increase water pressure.
If your water department can’t deliver more pressure and you have a 3/4-in. or bigger copper or plastic water main coming into your house, consider installing a water pressure booster. It takes the water coming in from the street and increases its pressure by means of an electric pump and a pressure tank. A dial on top adjusts the pressure to an ideal setting of 45 to 55 psi. The tank holds a reserve of pressurized water so that the pump doesn’t have to run every time somebody opens a faucet. It also helps boost flow when the demand for water is high (like when your teenagers are all showering at the same time). Water pressure boosters like the one shown here are available at home centers and online for about $900.
Inspect your pressure-reducing valve
Learn how to measure water pressure and if your pressure test reads lower than 40 psi, see if you have a pressure-reducing valve (PRV) mounted on your water main. It’ll look similar to the one pictured here, and it needs to be adjusted correctly. Most come set from the factory for 50 psi, but you can adjust them up or down by turning a screw on top. PRVs can also go bad after 10 to 20 years and cause too little (or too much) pressure. So if yours is old, it might be time to replace it. Just about any DIYer with a little plumbing experience can handle the job. A new PRV will cost you $35 to $120, and you might have to special-order it.
Call city hall
If after all that you’ve still got low water pressure, call your local water department to see if there’s a problem with the pressure coming from the street to your house and with the recommended residential water pressure. If you get your water from a private well, your well pump might be the cause of your pressure woes.
Too MUCH water pressure?
When it comes to water pressure, you actually can have too much of a good thing. Pressure over 80 psi can cause you to waste water and the energy required to heat it. It can also damage water softeners, water heaters, faucets, appliances and seals. If your pressure test shows more than 80 psi, make sure you have a working pressure-reducing valve and keep it set between 50 and 60 psi.
Required Tools for this water pressure valve Project
Have the necessary tools for this DIY how to increase water pressure project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
- Adjustable wrench
- Air compressor
- Air hose
- Soldering torch
- Tube cutter
You’ll also need a wire brush for cleaning copper fittings and joints
Required Materials for this water pressure valve Project
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.
- Copper pipe and fittings
- Teflon tape
- Water pressure booster