Jump to content

Water Pressure Gauge


Mark P
 Share

Recommended Posts

Originally posted by AHIS

Time for me to buy a new gadget, so I wanted to ask if any one has an opinion of water pressure gauges. I’ve been look at a few on the net and in the tool magazines and there are a variety designs. Anyone have advice on buying one over another?

Get a glycerine filled one. The needle doesn't bounce around as much so they last longer.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a water pressure gauge when I first started this gig and used it several times. Can't say I've used one it the last 8 years or so.

I was at a vacant house this morning and I reached in my bag to get my voltage detector (garage door opener didn't work so I figured I would check for power to the unit) and kind of chuckled at how few tools one really needs to do this job.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by caryseidner

I bought one too a while back too. I don't use it anymore. Functional flow is more relevant, IMHO, than the actual number.

Very true. However, when you find low flow it's nice to be able to compare it with the static pressure of the system. High pressure with low flow requires a very different fix than low pressure with low flow.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Look at this one here. Do any of you know if the shank swivels on the hose fitting? I have one that does not. The problem is, sometimes when I screw it into a hose bibb, its tight when the gauge face is facing the wall so I cant read it. I then have to get my little telescoping mirror to check the reading on the gauge.

Just somthing to consider I thought.

http://www.professionalequipment.com/ma ... re-gauges/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Jim Katen

Originally posted by caryseidner

I bought one too a while back too. I don't use it anymore. Functional flow is more relevant, IMHO, than the actual number.

Very true. However, when you find low flow it's nice to be able to compare it with the static pressure of the system. High pressure with low flow requires a very different fix than low pressure with low flow.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Good point Jim. That's probably why I still keep it in my tool bag.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did a house last week that had low pressure. It was nice to document the pressure at 20 lbs. We also have a few areas that can run over 80 lbs.

I'd love to have the gauge that would give dynamic pressure but if I really want to get a feel for that I'll run the water on the other end of the house.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by John Dirks Jr

Look at this one here. Do any of you know if the shank swivels on the hose fitting? I have one that does not. The problem is, sometimes when I screw it into a hose bibb, its tight when the gauge face is facing the wall so I cant read it. I then have to get my little telescoping mirror to check the reading on the gauge.

Just somthing to consider I thought.

http://www.professionalequipment.com/ma ... re-gauges/

I've bought about a dozen over the years and I've never had one where the shank didn't swivel. What a stupid design.

The one in your link is fine but a tad expensive. The last one that I bought was a Wika at Johnstone Supply. I paid $15 but I had to attach my own hose-thread adapter. It's a very robust guage.

I found this one on the web:

http://www.gaugestore.com/prodinfo.asp?number=38545

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use one on every job, because water pressure can vary wildly around here. I've had readings everywhere from 25 - 120 PSI. I bought a cheapo gauge from somewhere or other, but it still works fine.

I did one today where the pressure was just over 75 psi, but the flow was terrible. I'm sure the client will be interested in finding out what the problem is.

Brian G.

Pressure, Pressure, Pressure [:-crazy]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi,

Yeah, I had the toro gauge too. One day I accidentally forgot to pack it and when I went back the next day everyone pleaded ignorance - guess someone added it to their lawn irrigation system. It did the job fine. At the time I bought it, Professional Equipment was selling it for about $120 and it was for sale at Home Depot for just a tad over $40.

I never replaced it; by the time I'd lost it, I'd already figured out just about everything I needed to in order to understand the pressure vs. volume issue in the average home. Plus, the hydrants in Seattle where I do most of my work are color coded so one knows immediately what pressures there are in the street. The only way that I'd add it to by tool bag again is if it somehow became mandatory for me to go back to checking pressure.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lots of different opinions on this – good discussion – thanks for the tips everyone.

I've never owned one because I never thought I'd need one, until this month when I wanted one twice. One house with all copper lines had very poor functional flow and a pressure gauge would have been useful in figuring out – or eliminating – what the cause of the problem was. In another home, that neither I nor my customer had any concerns with the water flow/pressure, the lender called me (and wanted a letter) because the appraiser wrote up that the house had a low pressure problem. Again the gauge would have come in handy in qualifying my opinion that the pressure was fine.

Now that I’m going to have one in my tool box, it may be another 3 years before I have a need for it. That is usually the way it works anyway.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use mine to get a glimpse of what the water pressure to the building is, but mainly to see check to see if the exterior frost-free spigots are cracked, usually from freezing.

Turn on the water to an exterior spigot and it will flow fine, until some pressure is applied (like attaching a gauge or hose or just holding your thumb over the nozzle). If it's cracked, you won't get any pressure (or very little) because the water's leaking into the building.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm only mildly embarassed to say I haven't checked pressure on a job in over 10 years. There's lots of stuff I do to check plumbing, but pressure testing isn't one of them.

If there are good arguments, I might implement pressure testing into standard practice.

What's your folks protocol for using it? Every job? On suspicion?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Had a client specifically ask if I could/would check the water pressure. They had poor pressure at the kitchen sink only, rest of house was fine. Builder sent out some people and they messed around. Pressure at kitchen sink got better but was still low. Different guys came back and messed around some more, better flow but still inaduquate according to homeowner. Wife starts worrying that they turned up the pressure house wide and it might effect rest of plumbing.

I used to have a pressure guage 20 years ago. Could not find it. Spent about $20 building one at the big box store. The gauge came with a male end so I had to add a fittings to end up with a female hose fitting.

100+ PSI at the clients hose bib. Took photo and emailed to client. Now I have one in the tool box in the truck. Only pull it out if there is a specific reason or request.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by AHIS

A follow up question for those that do test for pressure – what do you consider low, normal, high pressure?

Hey Kurt whaz up with the new avatar? Planning on smoking some goat this fall?

High is above 80psi and low is anything below 40psi. Happy is around 60psi.

I started checking when I lived in MS. I had several areas with new homes that had pressure above 125psi and builders were not putting in PRV's.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've had the basic Toro pressure and volume unit for over 6 years and have had to replace the volume portion once. I have used it probably 20 times total. It is nice to be able to document a measurement for comparison when you observe an issue (low pressure or low flow), so that I why I carry this tool still.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by AHIS

One house with all copper lines had very poor functional flow and a pressure gauge would have been useful in figuring out – or eliminating – what the cause of the problem was.

Speaking for myself, I'd consider trying to figure it out a waste of time. I'm not a plumber and ultimately a plumber needs to come and fix it, so why bother? Write it up.
In another home, that neither I nor my customer had any concerns with the water flow/pressure, the lender called me (and wanted a letter) because the appraiser wrote up that the house had a low pressure problem. Again the gauge would have come in handy in qualifying my opinion that the pressure was fine.
Pressure Smesher!

I think the only place that you get real value out of a pressure gauge is if you've got a 2-story house with lousy delivery to the second floor and you're trying do determine how much push the system is giving that water. It might tell you that the plumbing to the second floor should have been down-sized but that's about all. Other than Bill's example of head pressure at a well, I don't see the point because pressure is going to be contingent upon whoever is delivering the water; ie. city, private community, etc..

You can have 120+ psi and if you've got an occluded pipe anywhere in the structure, or even a little bit of crud in an aerator screen, a sink can act like there's not even 20 psi. It's all about volume and flow - not pressure.

There are parts of Seattle where the static pressure on the system is less than 30 psi. In those neighborhoods, if you've got an old rusted 3/4-inch galvanized main coming into the house you're lucky to be able to take a shower and flush a toilet at the same time. However, replace the main line from the meter into the house with a 1-1/4inch line and clean out the aerators and it's like you're hooked up to a fire engine.

I walked into an estate sale house to do an inspection one day and the kitchen sink barely peed. The house had old galvanized pipe. I took all of the aerators out of all of the faucets and then stationed the client at one exterior sillcock, his wife at another, the realtor at the kitchen sink, and then we turned on all of the water at one time. I instructed them to turn their respective faucets off and on at random times and I walked back and forth between the bathrooms turning the faucets off and on. We ran the water for about 5 to 10 minutes and then stopped. By then, most of the rust had been broken loose and had flushed out of the pipes. I went around, rinsed out the aerators and put them back on and the water volume was danged near normal. I told them to contact Ace DuraFlo to find out what it would cost to have that pipe cleaned and rehabilitated.

That's why I stopped screwing around testing pressure. I can roll into a neighborhood and see immediately from the nearest hydrant in what range of pressure the static pressure should be. From there, depending on the size and type of main line coming into the house and the age of the plumbing, just about everything that one thinks is related to "pressure" is actually related to the volume of water that's actually making it to the house and through the distribution lines.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mike, that isn't quite right. Checking the pressure within a house plumbed with galvanized pipes is, indeed, an exercise in futility, especially since the hot-water pipes typically corrode more quickly than the cold water pipe connected to a hose bibb.

I check the pressure 'cause of what Scott said. If it's over 80 PSI, it can cause internal valves in dishwashers, fridges, etc. to fail.

Another benefit--I looked at an 80 year old house a few months ago that had been "totally updated." When I checked the water pressure, though, it was only 30 PSI. Turns out the original galvanized line between the meter and the house had not been fully replaced. The sellers wound up paying for replacing the galvanized portion of the main rather than the buyers. The foregoing = John was a hero.

I agree there's a big difference between pressure and flow, but putting a gauge on an exterior faucet takes less than a minute and can often reveal problems one otherwise wouldn't have known about.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...