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Plumber says he measured my water pressure at 130 psi -- Is this possible?

Plumber says he measured my water pressure at 130 psi -- Is this possible?

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  #1  
Old 12-03-02, 11:42 AM
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Plumber says he measured my water pressure at 130 psi -- Is this possible?

Now that I've got everyone's attention, let me add some details about my water service:

1) House built in 1949, oldest home in neighborhood is 1923.

2) 1/2 mile proximity to a pump station

3) Most homes have galvanized leads from the street to the house, I have copper (probably 10-15 years old)

4) Most homes still have their galvanized plumbing, due to the pressures the pump station provides.

5) I installed a water softener and whole house filter two weeks ago. In the process, I removed a good chunk of the original galvanized lines and put in 3/4" copper. (Yes, I used dialectric unions whenever I connected to the old galvanized.)

6) In the two weeks since, my hot water heater's relief valve has spewed a half dozen times. The heater used to be connected with 1/2" copper (connected to 3/4" galvanized no union, it's now gone), it's now 3/4". My hot water pressure has increased dramatically as a result.

7) After installing the copper pipes, I noticed that my main valve was "weeping" a bit (first time I really examined it closely), so I had it replaced by a very reputable pro.

He said he measured my pressure at 130 psi! I'm in disbelief it can go that high. So, my questions are:

1) Is there a tester I can get at HD/Lowe's to independently confirm this?

2) Will these extreme pressures damage my water heater, faucets, etc?

3) I was quoted $175 to install a 3/4" PRV, and $340 for a "temperature expansion" tank, which he claimed is required for code complaince in Indiana.

Before shelling out $500, I plan to do some research and independantly confirm my pressure.
 
  #2  
Old 12-03-02, 12:21 PM
Rick Krakora
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Yes the high water pressure can damage the faucets, etc.....as I suggest that you to have someone to install water pressure regulator on the main water line that goes into your house so that it can control the pressure....As I recalled seeing that on a TV show called "The Old House", where it had shown the similar situation you have.....(as the house that was shown on TV had about 120 PSI pressure...)

Yes the closer you are to the water pumping tower, the higher output pressure you get....and yes it can go that high, depending on the town itself, as to what towns the pumping tower deliver to...

Rick
 
  #3  
Old 12-03-02, 02:57 PM
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Cool

I agree with Rick.
Yes, your pressure could be that high from the public main line without a Pressure Reducing Valve (this is exactly what PRVs are for).
You can get a water pressure gauge at most hardware stores that just screws onto any outdoor hose faucet to check your water pressure.
Install an adjustable PRV and the heater expansion tank. The PRV will create a "closed" system, and the expansion tank will be necessary to take the heated water expansion and prevent it from spewing out of your T&P valve on the heater.
Your plumber is right. You need both. Especially since you've replaced the old galvanized.
Good luck!
Mike
 
  #4  
Old 12-03-02, 05:07 PM
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I have seen water pressure at fire hydrants at 180 PSI and, yes, there were PRV's on every house supply.
Listen to OldGuy...
 
  #5  
Old 12-03-02, 06:19 PM
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Well, first of all DONT cofuse VOLUME with PRESSURE.... you can have a trickle of water coming out of your shower and the pressure could still be 100+... all the stuff about galvanized before and copper now, or with the 1/2" old galvanized being changed to 3/4" copper at the heater is really meaningless as to the pressure on the system... 130 is actually very common in most locales regardless of distance to station... but as Old Guy said, that is what prv's are made for... you probably have a prv somewhere already, they have been around forever... It has probably just gone bad... So the higher pressure is not great for the system but frankly nothing is going to BLOW LOOSE because of it... Things that will wear a little sooner are your faucet washers, your fill valves in commodes and your washer connection hoses... The burst pressure on most of your copper is in the range of 2000 to 6000 pounds... (less to blow a fitting apart of course)... so it is not in danger of bursting...

One final thing... what makes a system CLOSED and therefore in need of a thermal expansion tank is having a check valve at the meter and most places in rural areas still dont have them... so while code will ask you to put one in if you have it permitted, you dont NEED one unlesss there is a check valve at the meter... You can check this for yourself by checking out the meter and posting back here with a description if you like... If you just want to do the work yourself, there is a cheaper valve than the tank that can be put inline in the copper also, and is about the same amount of labor for you if you have a crawlspace, but I do prefer the tank if it has to be done...

And one final thing, the weeping at the main valve? If you are talking about under the handle around the stem, this will happen even with a new valve if the packing nut is not snug... the packing nut is the little nut that screws around the base of the stem and its sole purpose is to keep water from dripping around the stem... Anytime you have to turn that valve on or off for any reason, you should resnug that nut to keep it from dripping...
 
  #6  
Old 12-03-02, 09:02 PM
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Thanks for the help guys

Follow up questions/statments follow:

1) The only place there could have been a PRV was either the main valve itself, or somewhere between my basement and the street, which is unlikely.

2) Can somebody tell me what I should look for in my meter that would be the check valve? I'm a little confused here. The meter has threads on each side, no additional valves/controls.

3) I've got a basement, and would do the soldering myself if that's all the installation consists of. I no longer need somebody to turn the water off at the street. $500 is too much for me to shell out if all it may do is help out the water heater.

4) To answer Ragnar's specific question, the "weeping" wasn't the full reason I got the main valve replaced. There was a galvanized nipple between the copper lead and the main valve, no dialectrics between it. The weeping merely sped up my motivation to get it replaced.

5) I'm still seeing a little water coming out of the relief valve at the water heater every now and then. Is there a way to determine that this is in fact pressure related? The water heater claims to be rated to 150 psi max. (It's a Reliance 501, 40 gallon, natural gas)

6) The reason I ask #5 is, I haven't checked the diptube or flushed the water heater yet; all other variables haven't been ruled out.
 
  #7  
Old 12-03-02, 09:44 PM
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Well, the meter is the part with the little key shutoff and the guage itself... on the HOUSE side of that you would see a brass piece with a large hex head or it might just look like a very bulky coupler,... otherwise it would be in its OWN box just on the house side of the meter... if you dont have the check valve in, then DONT do the thermal expansion tank yet... The county will leave you a cute little letter the day they add the check valve to your system, and will tell you it is time for the tank...

As to the relief valve on the water heater, it is almost certainly due to the excessive pressure on the house,... in any case, you wont know for sure til you add the prv valve... so add it and if the relief valve is still dripping, then replace it... it is cheap and easy to do...

You will almost certainly have a prv... even if it is out in the yard... i have seen many of them buried, or in an old box that has since been covered up in a wall or underground... in any case, it doesnt much matter at this point... just add the new one in a convenient place... As for the relief line being rated for 150 psi, that is why you are only getting a trickle... at 130 with HOT water in the heater, i would expect a trickle... if the spring were badly worn out you would get nearly full flow... so just get the house pressure down and then check it again... also, double check that the heater isn't set over about 125 or 130 degrees...

One final thing... you dont need all those dielectric unions anymore... most of the new teflon pipe dopes are designed to transition between differing metals... even code allows for using pipe dope as the transition... save the money on the unions...
 
  #8  
Old 12-04-02, 07:09 PM
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expansion tank

A friend of mine had a problem with the water heater safety valve popping all the time, not much water but a nuisance.
He has a pressure regulator in the line to the house, which acts just like a check valve. I put in a small expansion tank which I bought at a local plumbing parts distributor; that took care of his problem. It was made by Zurn (see www.zurn.com for info and installation instructions).
 
  #9  
Old 12-04-02, 07:13 PM
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Well he has 2 separate problems... first 130 pounds on the pressure, and a closed system... many new prv's have a thermal expansion bypass and therefore do not create a closed system... but in any case, the safest route is to put in a prv AND a thermal expansion device... double check the pressure first though... check it with a pressure guage on a front faucet of the house AND a back faucet...
 
  #10  
Old 12-16-02, 07:09 AM
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Hey everybody, just wanted to follow up on my situation:

I flushed the tank and replaced the TRP valve on the water heater. It's been 36 hours and nothing has been discharged. Lowe's did not carry a pressure gauge, but did recommend a plumbing speciality store that did.

Hopefully next monday I'll be posting the results of my own pressure tests.
 
 

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