What is the conventional pressure range for a city water supply? The
one at my mom's house is at 110 PSI and rising, and it's causing
multiple failures in the 60-year-old pipes that were originally
installed for a 30-40 PSI deep well supply.
At this point we're incurring a lot of expenses in repairs and, now,
replacing the entire line from main to house (~200 yards). I'm just
interested in whether the water district might have some liability for
pumping the water pressure so high.
Wow, that sounds really high.
I measured the pressure once when I lived in a city and it was around
70 psi. Now I live rural and have a well, and it starts at 30, stops
On Thu, 07 Aug 2003 03:40:44 GMT, email@example.com (Scott) wrote:
Normally city water should be between 20 to 80 psi, but usually there is
not too much concern if it is somewhat higher, as long as it is normally
that high. I grew up in Milwaukee, WI where we always had 80 psi on the
outskirts of town, and downtown it might vary from 90-120. And Chippawa
Falls, WI has always had 125 psi down by the river.
But if the pressure has been rising or is surging, the city might have a
pressure regulating valve or pump controls that need work. You could get
your own pressure regulating valve to protect her house. But if you use
one of those or there is a backflow preventer on your meter connection,
the house may need an expansion tank on the cold water supply to the water
heater to handle thermal expansion (cold water expands and can build
pressure when heated).
David Efflandt - All spam ignored http://www.de-srv.com /
On Thu, 7 Aug 2003 06:27:17 +0000 (UTC), firstname.lastname@example.org (David
That's part of the issue. The pressure has risen from 50 to 110 over
the course of a decade or so.
IMO it's deliberate. My mom's place is on the sloping plane area
below the foothills. When city water became available, hers was just
about the highest house. The supply pressure at that time was around
50 PSI. In the years since, an expensive McSuburb has sprouted in the
foothills above my mom's old farmhouse, and they're all on the same
water main. I reckon the city has been cranking the pressure on that
main to keep the new houses supplied.
We've had the city engineer out, but his opinion is that it's normal.
My mom's opinion of the city engineer is...well, let's not go there.
I did that, once I figured out what was going on, and stopped the
pressure problems in the house. But that leaves the 200 yards of old
supply line between the house and the main, buried at 5' under a
driveway, mature shade trees and outbuildings. The cost and impact of
replacing it are decidedly non-trivial.
On one hand, it's a huge expense and hassle caused in part by the city
increasing the supply pressure; my mom really can't afford the repair
work, so maybe the city needs to pitch in. On the other hand, it's a
60 year old pipe that was designed to work with a 40 PSI well pump,
and really can't be faulted for failing. Ugh...perhaps it really
would be best to get a lawyer involved.
If we had that problem I never knew it. Installing the regulator
introduced a serious water hammer in the house. A couple of hammer
arrestors fixed it. There haven't been any further pressure-related
problems in the house; perhaps the hammer arrestors are able to soak
up the thermal expansion as well.
The main's less than 20 years old. I dimly remember watching our
water line being connected to it, and I recall it being blue plastic.
Regulators at the street meter are unusual around here, AFAIK, but
then I'm not a professional plumber. I'll call one and ask.
Of course not, but I wanted to get an idea of how our situation
compares to some others.
That's the type of plastic I suggested but I see I said 1". Depending on
the water co's pressure, that might have to be 1.25" or 1.5".
I've seen some 20 yo galvanized that wouldn't hold 50 psi. It depends on
the water quality run through the line, not the age.
Quality Water Associates
Do you actually have estimates for replacement of the line? You may find
it isn't as expensive as you may think. Find someone that trenching for
water service lines and get quotes if you haven't. If you're handy, rent
a ditch witch and buy a 500' and a 200' (or 1000') rolls of 200 psi
rated 1" PE tubing that is used for well installations and DIY.
IMO a lawyer isn't going to get the water company to pay for this, it's
her service line and she installed it many years ago. And why should
they pay simply because they raised the pressure to serve customers past
her? That's usually the way it's done or they build pump stations and
raise everyone's rates while they listen to people complain about the
pump station and how it looks. Although I guess some people would
rather have complaints about the expense to fix a low pressure problem.
Quality Water Associates
I have seen the pressure go as high as 120 psi. It was caused by bad
pressure reducing valve. Look and see if you have one on the system. You
can't miss it as it should be near where the water enters the hose.
If you don't have one, install one and get a decent brand like watts, no
You have lots of good answers - save for perhaps one. Let
me suggest moving the pressure reduction valve (replace it
if it is not a good name brand one!) out to the meter, and
see if you can find a plumber with leak detection equipment
so the leak can be fixed without replacing the entire line.
Another suggestion - there is the possibility that either
local, State or Federal agencies (Like the AWWA) connected
to the "water industry" offer free services to
municipalities for evaluating leaks in water systems. If
so, perhaps if your local water board (authority,
municipality or whatever) were in need, and able to obtain
free services in this regard after your suggestion or help -
they might be grateful enough to try and persuade the agency
performing the services to check out your mom's property
"while they are in the neighborhood".
Just some thoughts... .
I hope this helps.
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