As a homeowner, there may come the point when you’ll want to test your water pressure. Water pressure is the rate at which water flows from your taps that are determined by outside influences such as the height of the reservoir or water tower from your home (and the distance). Houses built on hills generally have lower water pressure than homes built in depressions. Water pumped uphill slows down but will speed up when moving downhill resulting in better water pressure.
Water pressure can go up and down throughout the day, during times of high usage (in the morning when you and your neighbours are taking baths and showers for example)
Good water pressure will ensure you can fill a kettle or cistern quickly and is optimal for your appliances. Those with high water pressure are lucky and will enjoy a disruption-free home.
Low water pressure will have the opposite effect, with water reduced to a slow trickle your kettle will take forever to fill, and your shower and boiler may not work correctly. Lots of showers and boilers won’t work at all if the water pressure’s too low due to built-in safety systems designed to prevent scalding (from your shower) and boiler damage.
Do you have low water pressure?
Firstly establish if you have low pressure all the time, it could be that you usually have good water pressure but have suffered a sudden drop. An unusual sudden drop in water pressure could be caused by a burst water main in your area. You can check for incidents in your area here
Here are some common signs that your water pressure is low
- Shower Pressure drops when someone in the house flushes the toilet
- Toilet cisterns take a long time to fill (a standard cistern should take about 1 minute 30 seconds)
- Bath takes a long time to fill (a standard bath should take 5 minutes)
The Pressure Test
Here’s the simple water pressure test you can run to establish if you have low water pressure.
1, Make sure all taps, showers and appliances that use water (washing machine, dishwasher) are switched off.
2, Place a measuring jug underneath a tap in the home (the bath is the easiest)
3, Get a stopwatch ready (you should have one on your smartphone)
4, Open the tap fully and run for six seconds then close the tap
5, Measure the amount of water in the jug and multiply by 10, this is your flow rate for one minute, for example
- 0.5 litres x 10 = 5 litres a minute
- 1 litre x 10 = 10 litres a minute
- 1.5 litres x10 = 15 litres a minute
6, Now you can determine if you have low water pressure
- Water pressure that’s below 10 litres a minute is poor and will need improving
- Water pressure of 10-15 litres a minute is ok you can improve on this if you wish
- Water pressure above 15 litres is good and can be left alone
Don’t worry if you have low water pressure simply read our article on How To Improve Water Pressure for more information.