Water pressure can directly affect the function of your faucets. Knowing how to check your property’s water pressure and troubleshooting common high- or low-pressure problems can keep your water flowing properly. Here’s some helpful information to get you started.
Water pressure within Louisville Water Company’s distribution system can range from about 30 pounds per square inch (psi) to 150 psi at the customer's water meter. Pressure within the system varies for many reasons, including: 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 we may run. 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. You can 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. You can also call Louisville Water Company’s main office and a Customer Care Representative will check the water pressure at your water meter. 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. If we notice a line is high (110 psi or greater) a pressure reducing valve (PRV) will be installed. If pressures run between 100 psi and 109 psi, you can request Louisville Water install a PRV. We will do so at the customers’ request once we confirm pressures exceed 100 psi. If you are below the 100 psi threshold yet still feel your water pressure is too high, you may wish to install your own PRV. This is in accordance with Uniform Plumbing Codes.
Most plumbing professionals recommend a PRV setting between 50 and 90 psi. Please keep in mind that 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 actually require pressures above 80 psi in order to work properly. 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. The list below may help you identify the cause of the low pressure at your property.
Pressure Reducing Valve — If the low pressure is at every faucet in the home and you have a pressure reducing valve (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 showerhead in standard vinegar for a few hours will resolve the problem. If you have white particles in your shower head you may have a hot water heater dip tube failure and a replacement may be required. You may need to consult a licensed plumber to further evaluate your hot water heater.
Hot Water, Low Pressure — If the low pressure is only affecting the hot water at your property, there could be a problem with your water heater. Check the shut-off 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 open completely. Even the slightest closure can restrict flows and decrease the water pressure.
On-site Leak — Low pressure also can be caused by a water leak somewhere on the property. Please see the brochure, "Homeowner's Guide to Leak Detection" (link is external) for more information.
Water Softeners — If you have a water softener and are experiencing a sudden lowering of your home's water pressure, you may want to consider having a professional service technician evaluate your water softener's condition. One option is to temporarily put the softener on by-pass 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 residence, talk to your neighbors! If they too are experiencing low pressure, it may be a larger issue such as a main break. This additional information may also help us find the issues faster and restore everyone to the pressure to which they are accustomed.
Private Pressure Adjustment
For homes in which water supply is not available because of low pressure during periods of peak demands for water, or where the property is located at an elevation that we cannot be assured of adequate pressure, the owner may, at his/her expense, install an additional storage tank or pump to furnish additional pressure. The auxiliary system shall be approved by Louisville Water Company. The auxiliary system shall remain the property of the property owner, who will be solely responsible for its maintenance and operation.