Consistent water pressure is something many of us take for granted. So, when it tapers off or surges, we notice. In an ideal scenario, the water pressure in your home should remain constant, free of any significant variation. When variations occur, there could be a problem with your home’s water system.
Sometimes, the cause of a water pressure surge in your home is as simple as having multiple water-using devices engaged, then turning one off (such as the outdoor sprinkler). However, water pressure surges occasionally indicate something more serious that requires attention. Here’s what you need to know.
What Is A Surge In Water Pressure?
To understand what a surge in water pressure is, we need to explain what water pressure itself is. Many folks get confused with water pressure and flow rates. While the flow rate refers to how much water comes out of your tap, water pressure refers to how forcefully it comes out of the tap.
A surge in water pressure is when the water suddenly comes out of the tap more forcefully than before. Generally, surges in water pressure don’t last long, especially if they’re the result of you turning off another water-using device. However, if the surge lasts a while, there could be something else at play.
What Does It Mean When Your Water Pressure Surges?
The water pressure in your home can surge for various reasons, some simpler than others. In some cases, the surge is relatively standard and isn’t a cause for concern. In others, the surge can indicate faulty parts or a problem with part of the system, so it’s important to isolate what is causing it.
Here are a few of the most common causes leading to water pressure surges:
Household Appliance Water Consumption
Most of us have nearly a dozen appliances consuming water in our homes. We use tons of water daily from the water heater to the bathtubs, showers, sinks, dishwasher, and washing machine.
These appliances demand water from the system as we run them, requiring the system to work harder to meet the demand. Consider your water heater, for example. After you use the tank of heated water, the valve opens and allows the water tank to refill.
While the tank is filling, you might notice the water pressure drop briefly while using the faucet before it surges to full pressure again. The same thing can happen with other appliances throughout your home, including your shower, dishwasher, tub, and sinks.
Undersized Or Corroded Plumbing
Sometimes, the fluctuation in water pressure may occur as a result of undersized or corroded plumbing. Although some times of pipe, like copper and PVC, don’t corrode, many other types of plumbing are susceptible. When the plumbing corrodes, this can lead to buildup in the pipes, causing fluctuations in water pressure.
The same thing can happen if the pipes in your home are too small for your water demands. Generally, the only solution to this problem is to replace the pipes altogether.
Well System Problems
Many folks living out of city limits or in the countryside operate using a well system. In some scenarios, the pressure surges may indicate a problem with one of the well’s components. For instance, in a standard well tank, water can reach the air in the tank, allowing it to become waterlogged
On the other hand, in a bladder pressure tank, the internal air bladder could tear or burst, causing water pressure surges. To fix this issue, you usually need a new pressure tank.
Alternatively, the problem could originate in the electric pressure switch. When this switch gets corroded, it can’t regulate the pressure effectively, in turn allowing surges to happen.
Or, it could be an issue with the water supply, where the pump is too efficient, and water doesn’t fill the well fast enough. Once the water rises again, allowing the pump to send it out, you might notice a surge in water pressure.
Fluctuation In Municipal Water Supply
Well systems have their own share of potential problems, but so do municipal water systems. In a municipal setting, the issues you’re having with water pressure might be widespread and not isolated to your home.
The water pressure from the municipal source may fluctuate, leading to a change in pressure at your home. Breaks in the water main could cause the pressure to drop suddenly before returning to normal pressure after the repair is complete.
If you can’t find any cause for the pressure issue in your home, check with your neighbors. If they’re noticing the same problem, call your water company to see if there are any repairs in progress or issues they’re aware of.
Faulty Water Pressure Regulator
Water pressure regulators are an essential part of your home’s water system. These regulators do precisely as the name implies – they regulate the water pressure as it enters your home from the municipal source. The water pressure coming in from the municipal source is often too high for your home’s plumbing, so the regulator adjusts as necessary.
When the regulator stops working correctly, it could cause variations in the water pressure in your home. This could include temporary lapses in pressure and abrupt surges in pressure. If the regulator is the problem, the fix is as simple as replacing the pressure regulator.
Sprinkler System Demands
While you might not consider it, the sprinkler system could be the root of the problem, especially if you have an automated system. The surge could occur when the sprinkler system shuts down at the end of the cycle.
If you have an extensive sprinkler system, it will require quite a bit of pressure to feed the lines. So, when the system finishes its cycle, you might notice pressure changes when using water inside the house. You might notice the flow slows down at first before building up to normal. When the sprinkler system shuts off, you might notice a final surge before the water pressure returns to normal.
To fix this problem, it’s usually best to have the system water your lawn in sections. This lessens the demand on your water system, preventing abrupt surges or lapses in pressure.
How Do You Fix Surging Water Pressure?
Fixing water pressure surges comes down to isolating the problem. First, you need to narrow down the potential causes of the surge. Once you isolate the culprit causing the problem, you can troubleshoot and adjust as necessary to fix the issue.
For instance, consider your sprinkler system as the culprit. It might be as simple as setting the system to water in sections instead of the entire lawn at once. This will relieve stress on the system, allowing the pressure to remain more constant.
Or, let’s say you determine the problem is a lousy water pressure regulator. Until you replace the regulator, the issues will persist. So, replace the regulator to resolve the problems.
Sometimes, isolating the problem might be complicated. In this case, we recommend seeking the assistance of a professional, as they can help you find where the problem originates. Then, they can advise you on the proper changes or replacements necessary to fix the issue.
How Can Pressure Surges Be Avoided?
In an ideal setting, the water pressure in your home would remain constant. However, some fluctuation is normal. You’ll need to isolate the culprit causing the instability to prevent significant surges or falls in water pressure. From there, you can make the necessary adjustments to avoid substantial surges in the future.
You can always talk to a professional for advice on stabilizing water pressure in your home, especially if you’re unsure what’s causing it. Since fluctuating water pressure can indicate a problem, it’s best to stay on the safe side and isolate what’s causing the problem.