The water in the pipes coming to your property is under pressure, which is important to maintain good water quality. Knowing how to check your property’s water pressure and troubleshooting common high or low-pressure problems can keep water flowing properly.
Water pressure can range from about 30 pounds per square inch (psi) to 150 psi at the customer’s water meter.
Pressure within our system can vary based on the elevation of your property in relation to the elevation of the reservoir or tank providing your water service, water use during peak hours, and routine water system operations.
Other variables that may affect water pressure include plumbing restrictions, in-home treatment devices (cartridge filters, softeners, etc.), and seasonal water demands.
There are several ways to determine your home’s water pressure:
- Visit a hardware store and purchase an inexpensive water pressure gauge, which easily attaches to a faucet. The gauge helps you determine the on-site water pressure at your property.
- If a customer has low pressure throughout their entire home, Louisville Water may send an emergency turner to review the situation. The emergency turner will then determine if it is a Louisville Water issue or if the customer needs to contact a plumber.
Note: Louisville Water cannot adjust the water pressure for specific properties; however, there are some steps you can take that may help resolve the issues:
High Water Pressure
Louisville Water constantly monitors system pressures. When we review new service applications and see that they are in a high-pressure area (100 psi or greater), we install a pressure reducing valve.
Most plumbing professionals recommend a pressure reducing valve setting between 50 and 90 psi. Many modern fixtures are designed to be low-flow, meaning the device is made to lower the output pressure at the fixture outlet, thereby limiting flow.
Often the popular multi-outlet shower fixtures require pressures above 80 psi. Please keep your home’s fixtures in mind when concerns arise over water pressure from a specific point within the home.
Low Water Pressure
If you’re experiencing a decrease in normal water pressure at your property, the issue is typically within your own plumbing system. This list may help you identify the cause:
- Pressure Reducing Valve— If the low pressure is at every faucet in the home and you have a PRV installed, you may want to verify that your PRV is set appropriately. If a PRV was installed by Louisville Water, call a Customer Care Representative to set up an inspection. An adjustment or replacement may be required.
- Clogged Fixture— If the low pressure is not affecting every faucet, the problem may just be a clogged or blocked faucet or shower head. Check the faucet’s screens for rust, debris, scale, or other particles that may be restricting flow. Many times, simply soaking the shower head in standard vinegar for a few hours will resolve the problem. If you have white particles in your shower head, you may have a water heater dip tube failure and a replacement may be required. You may need to consult a licensed plumber to further evaluate your water heater.
- Hot Water, Low Pressure— If the low pressure is only affecting the hot water, there could be a problem with your water heater. Check the shutoff valve near the water heater and make sure it is fully open. You may need to consult a licensed plumber to evaluate the condition of your water heater and determine if it is affecting your water pressure. Proper annual maintenance is recommended to keep your water heater performing optimally.
- On-site Water Valve or Main Water Valve— Most homes have an on-site water valve located near other on-site fixtures, like a water heater or water softener. The valve may also be located in the garage or on the inlet line between your home and water meter. This valve allows you to shut off the primary flow of water to the home. Make sure this valve is opened completely. Even the slightest closure can restrict flows and decrease the water pressure.
- On-site Leak— A water leak on your property can also cause low water pressure . Learn more about leak protection .
- Water Softeners— If you have a water softener and notice a sudden drop in water pressure, consider having a licensed plumber evaluate your water softener’s condition. One option is to temporarily put the softener on bypass and see if pressure increases. If it does, the low pressure is probably caused by the water softener, and it may need to be serviced or possibly replaced.
- Neighborhood Low Pressure– If you’ve confirmed the issue is throughout your home, talk to your neighbors! If they also notice low water pressure, it may be due to a larger issue such as a water main break. Please share this additional information as it may help us identify the issue and resolve the matter faster.
Private Pressure Adjustment
If water supply is not available to a home because of low pressure during periods of peak demands for water, or where the property is located at an elevation that we cannot confirm adequate pressure, the owner may, at his/her expense, install an additional storage tank or pump to furnish additional pressure.
Please note: While Louisville Water will need to approve the auxiliary system, it will remain the property of the property owner, who is solely responsible for its maintenance and operation.
Learn more about how you can protect your home here.