Having too much water pressure can do harm to basically all of the plumbing fixtures, and can cause blowouts in flex lines or washing machine hoses which in turn can cause flood damage to the house. Some people even have dedicated gauges hooked up somewhere in the water line so they can check the water pressure quickly and easily with just a glance. But this isn’t necessary since it is so easy to connect a standard pressure gauge.
It’s a good idea to test water pressure even if you have a pressure regulator because it isn’t necessarily obvious when one fails. Testing water pressure occasionally can catch a problem with the pressure regulator before the high pressure can damage any plumbing.
To test water pressure you will need a pressure gauge that measures in psi (pounds per square inch). You can purchase a pressure gauge for around $10 at a local hardware or home improvement store. To make it really easy get one with female hose threads so you will be able to screw this onto a hose bib or washing machine bib.
- Remove the hose from any outside hose bib and screw the pressure gauge onto the fixture. There should be a rubber hose gasket inside the pressure gauge which will make it seal easily. You should be able to simply hand tighten the pressure gauge and get a good seal. If it leaks a little then you will have to tighten it a bit more with pliers because a good seal is necessary to accurately read the psi.
- Turn the hose bib on to get a reading of the water pressure. Most common pressure regulators have a maximum adjustment up to 75 psi, so if the reading on the pressure gauge is over 75 psi then you know that the pressure regulator is not working correctly and will have to be repaired or replaced. If you currently don’t have a pressure regulator installed and the water pressure reading is this high a regulator should be installed.
An alternate place to check your water pressure at your house is your washing machine bib. You will have to shut off one of the two valves behind the washing machine and disconnect the washing machine hose. Then simply screw on the pressure gauge and turn the valve on to get a reading.