Thursday, November 21, 2019

City Water Pressure Under the Microscope-- In Screenshots

Is the City Being Truthful About Water Pressure? You Be The Judge! 

I will allow the official City statement issued in 2016 speak for itself-   

"most plumbing fixtures are rated to 150psi"
"Water pressures on the City's northern border can reach 105psi"
"while unnecessary in Germantown, pressure regulating valves can be installed at the owner's expense" 

What do Other Sources Say?   

"80 is code throughout most of the U.S." 

From Angie's List--

"Most plumbing fixture manufacturers recommend their products be used with water pressure no higher than 80psi. Anything higher than that can cause fixtures such as water heaters, faucets, shut-off valves and toilet parts to fail prematurely.

"To reduce water pressure supply you'll need a pressure reducing valve. In fact, these are often required by code for water pressures above 80psi."

From Kohler 

Toilet fill valves, gravity toilet tanks, electro-hydraulic Toilets, pressure assist toilets and flushometers all have maximum water pressure at 80psi


From Popular Mechanics 

The typical inlet water pressure to a home is about 40 to 45 psi. Normally, it should not exceed 60 psi.

Is this "Excellence Every Day"? Really, truly?


  1. Reading through this, there's a couple of things that jump out to me:

    1) The city's email makes sense. Water pressure is highest at elevations farthest from the top of the water tower. Pressure regulators for individual homes are pretty cheap. Many are less than $100 and they have a really long life. Most of them have 50-yr warranties. But, pressure regulators for city water mains are expensive, have to be inspected yearly at great cost, and require the street to be dug up in each and every neighborhood. That would be very costly and be a huge inconvenience. Installing those could cause everyone's taxes or water bills to go up by more than $100 each year. It would be cheaper to get a pressure regulator for your home if you want one.

    2) All of your evidence screenshots are from popular press articles or internet message boards. None of them are from primary sources. Instead of citing some internet message board post claiming what a code says, why not post the actual code?

    1. The only subject I addressed was whether the City was being truthful, not who pays for it or how the pressure is regulated. Our City needs to have a code that recognizes that the pressure is too high in many parts of town. It is a lie that plumbing fixtures can handle 150 psi when plumbing manufacturers clearly say that is not the case.

      You asked for examples of codes. They are easy to find. Here is one from College Station, Texas. Any water pressure over 80 PSI must have a pressure regulator installed. And older homes and buildings should be tested.

    2. Brentwood, TN code is the same as College Station.

    3. The Uniform Plumbing Code

  2. Sure a lot of the text makes sense. What does NOT make sense is that it misleads us into believing that water pressure over 80 psi is okay. It is not. I found no sources saying that it is. If the City thinks it is more cost effective for each individual to fix the problem, then fine, show us the analysis. But don't lie to us and say the water pressure is fine when it is not.

    The screenshots included plumbing supply companies, who actually make the parts that go bad when the pressure goes too high. Our code does not set a maximum PSI, but most apparently do. I am not going to look up every code in every part of the country. Do your own research.

  3. We don't live in those other towns. We live in Germantown. My wife and I have lived here for 31 years on the north side of town, where the water pressure can be the highest. We've never had a plumbing problem and we've never met anybody who has.

    On another note, look at the codes you posted. For both College Station and Brentwood, the code says that the public water system is required to deliver MINIMUM pressures, but is not bound to a maximum. However, if pressures in a building exceed 80 PSI, they require property owners to install a pressure regulator. They don't have pressure regulators on the public water system and the pressure can be higher than 80. If it is, they make it the property owner's responsibility to protect their own property with a regulator.

    Are you suggesting that City of Germantown adopt he same code and require home owners to buy pressure regulators if the pressure in their own home is above 80 PSI?

    1. If you will read my post carefully, I never stated that the City should install pressure regulators. I only stated that the City should tell the truth. The City needs to change its codes to be consistent with The Uniform Plumbing Code. I am happy you have had no plumbing problems but you know very well that you and who you happen to know have nothing to do with statistics, and I know a lot of people who have been flooded out of their homes and had to go to extended stay places. Please read my posts more carefully in the future and do not attack me for things I did not say.

      I do think it is amusing that you asked me to find some other codes, and, when I find them, you say we don't live in those towns. LOL!

  4. I'm having trouble finding your message. Are you saying that City of Germantown is maintaining its water system at a pressure that's too high? Are you saying that they should require homeowners to get pressure regulators if the pressure in their home is above 80 PSI?

    Also, I didn't ask you for plumbing codes for other towns. I just said that it would be better if you used primary sources, instead of 2nd, 3rd, or 4th hand internet message board sources.

    If you're going to say that something is "against code" it only makes sense that you would mention the code in the town you want to highlight, which I would guess is Germantown. Similar to discussing speed limits, you wouldn't say that drivers on Poplar Ave should be ticketed for exceeding 25 mph because that's the law in some other town. That wouldn't make sense, because that's not the law here.

    If you happen to look at neighboring municipalities, Collierville, Bartlett, and Memphis do not require homes to have pressure regulators, even in circumstances when pressure can exceed 80 PSI.

    So, what do you want to see come from this? What do you want the city to do? Although you claim in your Nov 28 post that most other cites set a maximum PSI, the codes you posted show that you were incorrect. They don't set a maximum PSI. Some may require that homeowners install a regulator. No local communities require that. What would you like to see?

  5. I want the City to retract the false statement that they put out in 2016, saying 1) that plumbing fixtures can withstand pressures up to 150 psi, and 2) that there is no need for homeowners to get water pressure regulators. Further, the City should note that the Uniform Plumbing Code calls for pressure no higher than 80 psi.

    That retraction would be a great first step. It is misleading to homeowners, and they have been suffering for it. That apparently does not include you, but you are at least now on notice that you are taking a risk. Not thanks to the City's statement, though.

    I have not made any recommendations on what the City should DO about this, but the City should not lie.

  6. I was curious about this over the weekend, so I looked at all the owner's manuals I could find for our plumbing fixtures. The ones I found were the water heater, washing machine, dishwasher, and new kitchen faucet. They all said that they would withstand pressures of up to either 150 or 200 PSI. Standard operating pressures were 50-100 PSI. So, I don't think there's a problem with your first point.

    On your second point, the note you posted from the city says that pressure regulating valves can be installed if you're concerned about the water pressure and that you should get the professional advice of a professional plumber if you think you may need one. That sounds pretty good to me.

    It sounds like you want the government to make a definitive statement about everyone's individual situation and you want them to require everyone to pay extra for something they may not need. I think it would be better to let homeowners consult professionals for their own situations and not be shoved into a government one-size-fits-all program.

    1. Obviously you did not check the specs for Kohler, probably the largest faucet and toilet maker in the country.