How to Fix Super-High Water Pressure

Having super-high water pressure in your home’s plumbing system can cause a number of problems, from leaking pipes and fixtures to damage to appliances. Luckily, there are several steps you can take to reduce high water pressure and protect your plumbing system.

Determine if You Actually Have High Water Pressure

Before trying to fix high water pressure, first confirm that is actually the issue. Here are some signs that your home may have excessive water pressure:

  • Faucets or shower heads that spray forcefully, even when turned to low flow
  • Leaking or dripping faucets and shower heads
  • Pipes that clang or hammer when water is turned off
  • Fixtures that fail prematurely, like washing machine hoses
  • Toilets that run frequently

The easiest way to check your home’s water pressure is with a water pressure gauge. This inexpensive device screws onto an outdoor hose bibb and provides a pressure reading in PSI (pounds per square inch).

Normal water pressure ranges from 30 to 80 PSI. If your home’s pressure exceeds 80 PSI, it’s considered high and should be reduced.

Adjust the Pressure Reducing Valve

If you have high water pressure, the first thing to check is the pressure reducing valve (PRV). This device is usually installed where the main water line enters the home, and its job is to reduce incoming water pressure to a safe level.

Here’s how to adjust a PRV:

  1. Locate the valve. It’s normally found near the main shut-off valve where the water line enters the home.
  2. Turn off the water supply to the valve. The shut-off is usually a gate valve on the inlet side of the PRV.
  3. Open a faucet downstream of the valve to relieve pressure.
  4. Remove the valve’s cover and locate the adjustment screw.
  5. Turn the screw clockwise to increase pressure or counterclockwise to decrease it. Adjust in small increments.
  6. Close the downstream faucet once the pressure gauge reads between 50 and 60 PSI.
  7. Turn the main water supply back on and check pressure. Repeat steps if needed.

Adjusting a PRV requires a water pressure gauge to set it properly. Don’t guess based on flow from faucets, as you could inadvertently increase pressure.

If your home doesn’t have a PRV, have a plumber install one on the main incoming line. Installing this valve should help lower pressure.

Inspect for Partially Closed Valves

Another common cause of high water pressure is a partially closed gate valve somewhere in the plumbing system. As the valve is slowly closed, it restricts flow and increases pressure.

Check all the valves along the main supply line and branch lines to fixtures. Fully open any that aren’t completely open already. This quick inspection can reveal easy fixes to lower pressure.

Partially closed valves are most often found at:

  • The main shut-off valve
  • Below sinks and toilets
  • Behind washing machines and dishwashers
  • At exterior hose bibbs

Opening all valves may provide enough added flow to reduce pressure elevation caused by a partial blockage.

Install Water Pressure Regulators at Fixtures

If adjusting the PRV and valves doesn’t reduce pressure enough, install small water pressure regulators at problem fixtures. These inexpensive, screw-on devices go between the fixture’s shut-off valve and supply line.

Pressure regulators at fixtures help limit flow to:

  • Toilets – Reduces flushing force and potential leaks.
  • Washing machine hoses – Helps prevent burst hoses.
  • Faucets and shower heads – Lowers risk of drips and improves performance of low-flow fixtures.

Install regulators one at a time and check if pressure drops enough before adding more. They don’t lower overall system pressure but do reduce it at specific fixtures prone to problems from high pressure.

Replace Pipe Fittings with Flexible Supply Lines

Another way to protect against high water pressure is to install flexible supply lines to fixtures. These braided stainless steel lines easily absorb pressure surges.

Replace old rigid supply tubes with flex lines at:

  • Below sinks – Provides flex to counteract torque on shut-off valves.
  • Toilets – Helps prevent leaks at tank and bowl connections.
  • Washing machines – Reduces strain on fill hoses.

Flexible supplies should be installed with enough slack to allow unimpeded movement as lines shift and settle. Avoid kinking or tight bends.

Install a Pressure Tank

For homes with private wells, another way to regulate pressure is by adding a pressure tank to the system. These tanks provide a cushion of compressed air to maintain pressure when pump cycles on and off.

Benefits of adding a pressure tank include:

  • Reduces pressure spikes when pump starts.
  • Maintains more consistent pressure between pump cycles.
  • Extends pump life by reducing cycling frequency.
  • Provides storage to handle short bursts of high demand.

Hire a professional well contractor to size and install an appropriate pressure tank for your well system. Proper sizing and setup is crucial for optimum performance.

Replace Pressure Relief Valve

Many water heaters have a pressure relief valve near the top. This safety device is designed to open and release excess pressure if tank pressure gets dangerously high.

A faulty pressure relief valve that doesn’t fully close or reseat properly will allow pressure to escape from the tank and potentially increase system pressure.

Have a plumber inspect the pressure relief valve if all other pressure reduction methods fail. They can test valve performance and replace if needed.

Summary of How to Fix Super-High Water Pressure

Here’s a quick recap of the steps covered to reduce excessive water system pressure:

  • Confirm high pressure with a gauge.
  • Adjust pressure reducing valve to 50-60 PSI.
  • Inspect for partially closed valves.
  • Install pressure regulators at problem fixtures.
  • Use flexible supply lines to absorb pressure surges.
  • Add a pressure tank on well systems.
  • Replace faulty pressure relief valves.

Taking these steps can help protect your plumbing and fixtures from damage due to super-high water pressure levels. If problems persist after following these DIY methods, contact a professional plumber for additional solutions.

Frequently Asked Questions About Fixing High Water Pressure

Here are answers to some common questions about dealing with excessive water pressure in the home.

What are the risks of very high water pressure?

Sustained pressure over 80 PSI can accelerate wear and age plumbing prematurely. The most common damages from high pressure include leaking pipes, burst hoses, dripping faucets, running toilets, and increased water waste. High pressure can also damage appliances like washing machines and dishwashers.

What PSI is considered too high for homes?

Pressure above 80 PSI is considered excessive and risks causing fixture and plumbing damage in homes. Ideal pressure for residential plumbing ranges between 50 and 60 PSI.

Can high water pressure cause low flow at faucets?

Yes, the tremendous force at very high pressures can actually restrict water passage through fixture valves. This causes outlets like faucets to sputter and limits water flow. Reducing pressure restores proper flow rates.

Why does my water pressure spike at times?

Spikes are usually caused by the well pump cycling on and sending pressurized water into the system. Pressure tanks help minimize spikes by providing an air cushion between the pump and plumbing.

Are pressure reducing valves expensive?

Pressure reducing valves are relatively inexpensive, often $50 or less. Installation by a plumber averages $200-$300. PRVs are worth the investment to protect plumbing and cut water waste.

Can I adjust pressure at all fixtures by adjusting the main PRV?

No, because the PRV only reduces pressure coming into the home. Install individual pressure regulators at problem fixtures to further lower pressure reaching that outlet.

How often should the pressure relief valve on a water heater be replaced?

Most experts recommend replacing water heater pressure relief valves every 3-5 years or at the first sign of a leak or failure. Test annually to check for problems.

Can I install a PRV myself or do I need a plumber?

You can install a basic PRV on your own if you’re comfortable working on plumbing. However, a pro can properly size, position, and adjust the PRV while also checking your overall system.


Excessive water pressure is a common problem that can lead to leaks, damage, and wasted water if left unaddressed. Thankfully, following the pressure-reducing tips in this article can help resolve the issue for good.

The key steps are confirming high pressure with a gauge, adjusting the PRV, opening valves, adding regulators at fixtures, using flexible supplies, installing a well pressure tank, and replacing the relief valve.

Relieving high water pressure prevents damages, extends plumbing life, reduces leaks and water waste, and improves fixture performance. With some preventative DIY adjustments, you can enjoy optimal water flow and pressure in your home’s plumbing system.