From the rituals of brushing your teeth and taking a shower, to filling dishwashers and washing machines, plumbing pipes take a beating. Over time, pipe stress can result in plumbing leaks and costly repairs.
Here’s how to preserve the integrity of pipes and save money on replacements by following two plumbing tips.
Reduce Water Pressure
Sure, high water pressure may sound great if you’re filling a tub or taking a shower, but it puts added stress on the pipes and increases the likelihood of a leak. The higher the water pressure, the harder your faucets, appliance valves, and pipe joints must work.
To keep an eye on water pressure, use a hose bib gauge (easily found at any hardware store for around $10). Simply attach it to an outside spigot and open the line. Normal water pressure should register between 40 and 85 psi. If you get a reading outside that range, contact a licensed plumber to install a pressure reducer.
Fun fact: Installing low-flow shower heads and faucets does nothing to reduce water pressure. They just reduce the amount of water coming out.
Soften Hard Water
Water with a high mineral content is most commonly referred to as “hard water”. In addition to making drinking water taste funny and potentially stripping your hair and skin of its natural moisture, it can shorten the lifespan of your plumbing pipes and water-using appliances. As minerals build up over time, they can increase the water pressure and corrode fittings and joints.
Not sure whether you have hard water? Look for a white build-up on faucets and shower heads, spots on just-washed glasses and dishes, and freshly-laundered clothing that feels scratchy and dull. If your water is supplied by a municipal service, you can contact the municipality for their annual water quality report that needs to be filed yearly with the Environmental Protection Agency. If you have well water, have it tested regularly and monitor the hardness levels. If it’s over 140 parts per million, consider installing a water softener.
Another great way to protect the integrity of your plumbing system is with an annual whole-house plumbing inspection by Connor Plumbing. Further evidence that prevention is almost always the best medicine.