High water pressure could cost you on your utility bills every month, so you’d like to reduce the pressure if you can. What options can you utilize today that won’t cost your household a cent?
To reduce home water pressure for free, adjust the external stop valve. (Just don’t turn it all the way off, or you’ll have no water!) You can also contact your water company and ask them to turn down the water pressure.
In today’s guide, we’ll discuss your options for reducing water pressure for free. We’ll also delve into the benefits of cutting back on water pressure and how to gauge whether your pressure is too high, so make sure you keep reading! You won’t want to miss it.
Want to Reduce Home Water Pressure For Free? Try These Methods
Admittedly, there aren’t many things in this life that are free, but when it comes to reducing your household water pressure, that’s fortunately not the case.
You have two free methods at your disposal that you should take full advantage of if you want to begin enjoying lower utility bills for the next billing cycle. First thing first, though. I recommend checking to see your current water pressure and go from there. To learn how to do this, check out our article “How to Know If Your Home Water Pressure is Right?”
Use the External Stop Valve
Some call it the outside stop valve, others the external stop valve, and others the external stop tap.
Whatever you want to call it, this valve prevents how much cold water enters your home at any given time, depending on its settings.
When the external stop valve is on, you get water to your home. When it’s off, the water stops. That’s all water, by the way, so you couldn’t use your sink, your shower, the whole nine.
That’s why we recommend only adjusting the external stop valve slightly. After all, the goal is to reduce your water pressure, not stop water flow entirely. That will save on utility bills, but you’ll also have to go without water.
So, where is your external stop valve anyway? Well, it can be in one of several spots.
One area you can check is at the end of your street. Older homes that divvy up the water supply among several houses on the block will usually have a streetside external stop valve.
If not there, then find your water meter. You might see the external stop valve right in the vicinity.
You’re not looking for a valve, per se, but a metal grated cover.
You can’t just open the cover and adjust the external stop gap. Instead, you have to access the inside stop valve, which some refer to as a stop tap or stopcock.
The inside stop valve is always in your home somewhere, hence the name. You have plenty of places to check, depending on the age and layout of your home.
The usual culprits are the cellar, bathroom, utility room, or garage. If not in any of those places, check near your front door. Your home might have an airing cupboard; if so, the inside stop valve could be in there.
What if you haven’t found the inside stop valve so far? Then it’s likely either underneath the floorboards or the stairs, which makes it much harder to reach.
Hopefully, your inside stop valve is easily accessible. Once you find it, rotate the valve clockwise. You don’t want to turn it too many times, as then you can turn off the water supply entirely.
Sometimes, it can take several minutes for the water supply to stop, especially if you’ve never tinkered with the inside stop valve before. Thus, it’s worth taking the time to rotate the valve once, wait a few minutes, and then rotate again if need be.
If, by chance, it’s easier for you to reach the external stop valve than it is for the inside stop valve, you can always turn that valve to create the same effect.
Once again, all you need are clockwise rotations. When turning the inside stop valve, as you adjust the external stop valve, turn it once, wait a few minutes, and then turn it again if necessary.
With both valves, you may eventually feel resistance when trying to turn them. This is a sign that you’ve rotated the valves as far as they can go.
If you keep twisting and turning now, you’ll end up with a broken valve or two and an expensive problem on your hands. Plus, if you accidentally turned your water supply off, you’d have to hope you can reach either the external or inside stop valve to fix the problem.
If not, you’d be without water until the plumber could get there!
Contact Your Water Company
Another option you have to reduce home water pressure for free is to call or email your water company and ask if they can reduce your home’s water pressure.
If the issue is somehow attributed to your water company, they should be more than willing to help you reduce your water pressure. They’ll come out and address the issue, typically at no cost to you.
Don’t Mind Paying a Little? Here’s How to Reduce Home Water Pressure
That’s it for the free means of reducing water pressure in the house, but there is another method you can use if you don’t mind spending about $30 plus maybe $125 more in labor fees (unless you’re the DIY type).
That option is to use a pressure regulator. This is a safety valve that determines the amount of pressure the plumbing system receives.
It’s more of a fine-tuned solution than tinkering with the external or inside stop valves, as those control water flow to reduce water pressure and are therefore an imperfect solution. With a pressure regulator, you can adjust just what you want.
The pressure regulator goes on your home’s main water line.
Your home might already have a pressure regulator, so you don’t have to spend any money. That said, determining which is the pressure regulator versus, say, the stop valve can be difficult to the uninitiated.
The reason? Pressure regulators come in various sizes and shapes, so determining what the regulator is won’t be easy.
Most of them look like metal pipe attachments and have a gauge attached to them.
Inside the pressure regulator are a series of parts, including a valve plug, an inlet port, an outlet port, a valve stem, a diaphragm, an adjusting spring, and an adjustment screw.
You’d tinker with the adjustment screw, which would, in turn, affect the other components.
Depending on how open the diaphragm is, the amount of water pressure is either higher or lower. High water pressure means the diaphragm is open, while low water pressure causes the diaphragm to narrow.
Not all households necessarily require a pressure valve, but if you have concerns about your home’s water pressure or you’ve done water pressure tests that have come back high, we’d especially recommend one.
Why Should You Want Low Water Pressure in Your Home?
We know the answer to this question seems obvious – to save more money on your utility bills! Yet wishing to lower your home’s water pressure should be a higher priority for many more reasons than merely pocketing some cash.
For instance, you care about the plumbing throughout your home, right? Of course, you do.
Well, when water pressure rises continually for long periods, your plumbing system degrades at an accelerated rate than a plumbing system exposed to lower water pressure.
The further the degeneration of the plumbing system’s condition, the likelier that piping leaks are to occur.
These leaks can be impossible to perceive with the naked eye at first, as the leak is the size of a pinhole. Of course, as the high water pressure continues to put pressure on the pipes, that pinhole-sized leak eventually becomes a chasm.
Once a plumbing line ruptures or bursts like that, the catastrophic damage that can befall your home is devastating. We’re talking about rushing water flowing throughout the bathroom and possibly adjacent rooms.
The water can destroy flooring, walls, furniture, plumbing fixtures, electronics – basically, anything and everything.
You’d have to spend thousands of dollars on water remediation to get the water levels down and the humidity removed. Then you’d have to spend thousands more on replacement items unless you have really good insurance.
All said, you could end up spending tens of thousands of dollars!
How Do You Know If Your Water Pressure Is Too High?
As you can see then, high water pressure has a lot more to do with pricy utility bills. It’s for the betterment of your home that you reduce water pressure if it’s too high.
How can you be sure where your water pressure is at? The best way to confirm is to do a pressure test, but these signs and symptoms also indicate something is wrong.
Your Toilet Runs for a While After Flushing
When you flush your toilet, does it run, and run, and then run some more for several minutes afterward? Can it sometimes take close to an hour before the toilet stops running?
The high water pressure can wear down the toilet fill valve faster than usual, so you’ll have to constantly replace this valve. If you don’t, your toilet will continue to run.
Your Faucet Spits After Use
You turn your kitchen or bathroom faucet off after washing your hands, but the faucet continues to spit or dribble even when the taps are off.
That and a constant dripping are further indications that the water pressure in your home is too high. If the faucet always sprays water at you when you turn it on, that too is another sign to pay attention to.
Your Hot Water Never Lasts Long
You love taking a hot shower, but they’ve become a rarity in your house lately.
The reason? The high water pressure in your household could make the hot water tank fill up too quickly. This allows more cold water to come through than hot water, which means another freezing cold shower for you.
Your Appliances Run Loud
Your household appliances are in pretty good shape, which is why it’s surprising to you that they’re making so much noise. From the washing machine to the fridge and the dishwasher, it seems like all at once, your appliances are on the fritz.
Indeed, they are. The high water pressure rate in your home breaks down the mechanics and seals of your expensive appliances quickly. The sounds you’re hearing are indicative of strain.
You Hear Banging in the Pipes
That’s not the only noise you hear. Your pipes also bang and clang a lot every time you or another family member uses the water in your house.
Your pipes are trying to accommodate the higher water pressure and not doing a great job, hence the noise.
Other Tips for Reducing Your Water Bill
Reducing your home’s water pressure will make a big difference in how much you pay on your monthly utility bills, but you can also try the following methods for lessening your water use.
Collect Rainwater and Reuse It
Whether it’s tending to your lawn, doing laundry, washing the car, showering, or keeping a garden green, rainwater is useful for a lot.
Plus, rainwater is mostly infinite, so begin harvesting it, and you could save a lot of money on water usage throughout the year.
Insulate Your Plumbing
Uninsulated pipes are colder. The heat loss can make the pipes work harder, not to mention you don’t have as much hot water as you wish you did.
Although paying to get your pipes insulated can be expensive, the improvement is worth it. Your pipes will be anywhere from two to four degrees Fahrenheit warmer than they were, which means more hot water for you!
Grow Plants That Need Less Water
Do you have a lot of greenery around your home? Then you know that some plants need a lot more water than others.
The amount of water you use to hydrate your plants does add up with time. By switching to plants that require far less water such as succulents, you’ll reduce your utility bills.
Reducing your home’s water pressure can be done for free, and it’s something we highly recommend. High water pressure can damage your pipes and eventually lead to catastrophic water damage. For further tips on how to conserve water, take a look at our article, “Should I turn off the water to my house when I leave on vacation?”