Oh dear, the toilet is running again. And lo and behold, the sink has started leaking at exactly the same time. These common plumbing problems are just a few that you’ll come across on a regular basis, so it’s easy to think that these minor issues are something that’s just a part of life. However, they may not be as routine and expected as you might think. What do we mean? We mean there’s a reason why these things seem to happen more often than they should, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the fixtures themselves.
Water pressure is an incredibly vital part of your plumbing system, and yet it’s something that few people pay nearly enough attention to. Believe it or not, those plumbing problems you’re consistently having could very well be traced back to excessive water pressure, and few people ever think to test it. Here are four common signs that your water pressure is too high as well as a few tips on what you can do to bring it back down to normal levels.
Leaking Fill Valves
Does it sound like your toilet is constantly dripping and letting water down into the bowl from the tank above? There are two possible causes for this: either the flapper in the bottom of the tank has worn out or the fill valve is slowly allowing water into the tank itself. There’s a rather easy way to tell: pay attention to your tank for a few minutes and see if the fill valve opens. If it does, then the flapper is the issue. However, if the water continues to trickle but the toilet never actually turns on then it’s because your fill valve is continually dumping water into the tank, causing it to drain away down the emergency drain valve. What causes a fill valve to go bad? Too much water pressure is one of the most common reasons—when the delicate components that open and close a fill valve have to contain too much pressure, they eventually give out and start to leak.
Much like the fill valve issue, you may notice leaking coming from a faucet either in your kitchen or in one of your bathrooms. This is not all that uncommon either—over time the plastic or rubber seals will eventually corrode and need replaced. However, this corrosion and wear is expedited when the seals are containing a high amount of water pressure. Replacing the seals can, of course, make the issue go away for now, but it doesn’t resolve the true source of your problem: your water pressure. Only when you fix your water pressure will you start to see seals and gaskets that last for as long as they should.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you have to fix a faucet that’s leaking from the handle or base more than once every two years, there’s a good chance that your water pressure is your problem.
Appliances like washing machines, water heaters, and dishwashers depend on a water connection to do their jobs. This means they also depend on a number of seals and stoppers to contain the water that flows into them. These seals and stoppers are designed and built to last, but too much water pressure can also cause them to fail. A leak in your dishwasher or washing machine could cause tremendous damage to your home and even destroy your valuable appliance. Likewise, a leak in your appliance’s water containing hardware could waste a ton of water and that just means a ton of extra money out of your pocket each and every month.
While some issues relating to water connections can be repaired, this could very well be the costliest effect of high water pressure: premature appliance replacement. If your dishwasher is supposed to last for ten years or more, but you have to replace your dishwasher after just five years because of water pressure, then you’re going to wind up spending a lot more money on dishwashers over the years due to your water pressure being too high. In this way, one small check could save you thousands of dollars as the years go by.
Finally, high water pressure can negatively impact the plumbing in your home. If you find you have leaks in your walls or beneath your floors fairly frequently, the problem may not be that your plumbing is old, but rather that the water flowing through it is under too much pressure. If you find you’re frequently calling a plumber due to a new leak somewhere else in your home, then water pressure is more than likely the problem.
When there’s too much pressure on a pipe, the pipe itself endures considerable strain, and when it’s under too much strain for too long, it eventually gives way. Most of the time, this strain doesn’t lead to a burst pipe, but usually just a pinhole leak that then stretches and expands into a serious disaster. You may also be able to tell your pipes are under too much pressure if you experience “water hammer,” or a loud banging noise coming from your walls immediately after your toilet, shower, sink, or another water-using device shuts off.
Got a problem with your water pressure? Have it checked by the pros from Moe Plumbing! Dial (818) 396-8002 today to request an estimate.