When looking to purchase a new tap or showerhead, many people are unaware of the importance of knowing their water pressure beforehand. Failing to check this vital piece of information could result in your tap or shower, releasing a weak flow of water.
Low water pressure is a common problem throughout the UK, with many factors that could be impacting your pressure level. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to help improve the water pressure in your home.
Our guide outlines the importance of knowing your water pressure to ensure you purchase taps that can be used to their full potential.
Why is it important to know your water pressure?
Knowing your water pressure is a crucial piece of information as different taps and showerheads require varying water pressures to function at their best. Every household has a unique water pressure system, so identifying this will allow you to choose a relevant tap. Additionally, sudden changes in water pressure could lead to pipe damage.
Is there a difference between water pressure and water flow?
It’s easy to assume that water pressure and water flow are the same, but there is a difference. Water pressure is the force of the water being released from your tap, whilst water flow is the volume of water that comes out of your tap.
How do I find my water pressure?
It’s crucial to check water pressure regularly, as many factors can cause fluctuations. It is possible to do this yourself by following these steps:
- Get a jug of water between 1-2 litres and a stopwatch
- Place the jug under the tap, release the water and time for six seconds before turning the tap off
- Multiply the number of litres of water in the jug by 10 to find the number of litres of water produced per minute
A flow rate of under 10 litres per minute indicates low water pressure. A flow rate between 10 and 15 litres per minute is regarded as reasonable water pressure but can often be improved. A flow rate of more than 15 litres per minute is considered to be good water pressure.
What can affect water pressure?
If you’ve noticed that your water pressure is fluctuating, multiple issues could be affecting this.
Trapped air in the pipes
Air trapped in pipes acts as a plug that can cause sudden bursts of water. Air can enter pipes through several ways, including leaks in the suction line or pipeline, damage to tank bladders, broken pumps, and gas build-up.
Faulty pressure regulator
A fault in the pressure regulating valve could be the culprit of your changing water pressure. A pressure regulator aims to stabilise water pressure as it enters your plumbing system. Should the valve fail, this could cause sudden shifts in water pressure. If you believe this to be the case, you should contact a plumber for an inspection.
Old pipes can often become clogged over time with debris, which can cause the water pressure to fluctuate. Additionally, old pipes can also be prone to leaks and cause further damage. It’s essential to get your pipes replaced if you suspect this could be the cause of the problem.
Problems with the municipal water supply
Any issues in the mains water supply will naturally flow into your personal supply. If you believe there to be issues with the municipal water supply, it’s important to contact the local authorities.
Position of your home
Low water pressure can also be affected by your home’s positioning as it can be more difficult for the water supply to travel. For example, living uphill means your water supply is working against gravity, so the pressure is likely to be lower. Those who live downhill are likely to have higher water pressure as gravity works with the flow of the water supply.
How can I improve my water pressure?
In addition to addressing the above issues, water pressure can also be improved by installing a booster pump.
Installing a booster pump can amend the water pressure before reaching your home, helping households suffering from low water pressure. It’s important to note, however, that there are regulations involved. Pumps must be approved by the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme, and the pressure must not exceed 12 litres per minute.
Booster pumps can be expensive, usually around £300, but they can be a wise investment to improve your water pressure.
What is the best water pressure?
Generally speaking, there is not one particularly ideal figure for water pressure, especially as many people like to have their showers at varying pressures.
In terms of boiling water taps, many require water pressure to be a minimum of 1.5bar and a maximum of 5bar. Most homes tend to have water pressure of between 1-2bar, which is the equivalent of around 1 – 2 litres per 6 seconds.
Which tap is right for my water pressure?
High water pressure works well with all taps, so you are free to choose from a range of tap varieties, including the increasingly popular boiling water tap. If you have low water pressure, there are specific low-pressure taps and showerheads designed for this.