Water pressure gauge installed on a water tank outlet tee © Daniel FriedmanWater Pressure Gauge Installation Guide
How to measure house water pressure by installing a permanent or temporary pressure gauge

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Water pressure gauge installation & troubleshooting:

How & where to install a water pressure gauge to measure house or building water pressure: this article describes installing a water pressure gauge, starting with the best locations for installing a water pressure gauge on building water supply systems. We give step by step instructions for installing a water pressure measuring or monitoring gauge, and we include several alternative ways to measure water pressure if no gauge is present.

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Where to Install the Water Pressure Gauge & How to Measure Water Pressure

Reader Question: how do I know if my pump and tank are properly adjusted to the right pressure?

Dynamic water pressure measurement (C) Daniel FriedmanGeoff Asked: I have bought a new Davey X50 water pump with a 40 liter tank but it has no pressure gauge. How should I know if it is working at the right pressure please? - 2/15/2014

[Click to enlarge any image]

Reply:

Geoff,

You are quite right that without reading the water tank pressure or system water pressure it's not possible to know quite what the water system is doing.

Temporary Measures of Water "Pressure"

You would have a clue that things are not right if you observe the water pump SHORT CYCLING,

or if water pressure at the fixtures appears subjectively weak (WELL WATER PRESSURE DIAGNOSIS) when you simply observe water flow at a faucet (my photo at left).

Even without installing a water pressure gauge permanently on the pump or tank or tank tee, you can of course measure water pressure using an ordinary tire-pressure gauge - if there is a schrader valve on the water pressure tank.

Depending on where this valve is mounted it may be sensing air pressure (at the top or upper portion of a water pressure tank) or it may be sensing water pressure (if the valve is mounted on a water pipe or on the water tank tee fitting). At below left we show a close-up of an air valve or pressure testing point on the tank tee at the bottom of a water tank. And at below right we show a nice tire pressure gauge in use measuring water pressure at one of these fittings.

Water tank air valve - shrader valve - is a location for measuring system pressure (C) Daniel Friedman Accurate dial gauge (C) Daniel Friedman

You can also buy or make a simple water pressure test gauge that combines a water pressure gauge with a garden hose female fitting that lets you install the pressure gauge on a clothes washer hook-up in the home, at a laundry sink, or at an outdoor garden hose fitting connection (photo at left).

Water pressure test gauge on a hose bibb (C) Daniel Friedman

Watch out: many people confuse water pressure and water flow.

Someone may complain of poor water flow at a fixture (not many liters per minute of water are delivered) by calling that "water pressure" - which makes some sense in that a low flow rate means the water doesn't strike you very hard in the shower.

For more explanation see WATER PRESSURE MEASUREMENT

Install a Permanently-Mounted Water Pressure Gauge

Photograph of a water pressure tank air valveBut reading actual water pressure is such important and easy diagnostic tool for both private well and pump systems and also for MUNICIPAL WATER PRESSURE DIAGNOSIS too that installing a permanently-mounted pressure gauge is a good idea. If your water supply system has no water pressure gauge installed, adding one is the best bet. Water pressure gauges are not expensive.

Typically around $10. U.S. For best accuracy buy a pressure gauge whose range covers your pump operating range but not much higher.

For example a pressure gauge that displays pressures between 0 psi and 100 psi is a good match for a home water system that typically operates in the 20 to 70 psi range. You'll be able to read water pressure more accurately than if you installed a 0-500 psi gauge whose scale will leave you peering always at just the scale's low end.

(WATER PRESSURE GAUGE ACCURACY )

Where to Mount the Water Pressure Gauge

In our photograph at left you'll see the most common location for water pressure gauges on a private pump and well system - at a tank tee fitting at the water tank outlet. The tank tee includes a tapping intended to accept a 1/8" or 1/4" NPT threaded water pressure gauge.

Other water pressure gauge tappings may be present such as on the pressure tank itself on its top or side, or even on the water pump housing. Because vibration of the pump can jiggle the tank gauge needle making it hard to read, I prefer to see the pressure gauge mounted on the tank or on a tank tee rather than on the pump itself.

For municipal water supply systems it's common to install the water pressure gauge in line on a fitting close to the water pressure regulator, on the house-side of the regulator - photo below right.

Water pressure gauge mounted at a water pressure regulator - municipal supply (C) Daniel Friedman

Below we show a water pressure gauge installed at a water pressure booster pump outlet tee.

Water pressure booster pump closeup (C) Daniel Friedman

How to Install a New Water Pressure Indicator Gauge on a Water Tank or Pump

Water pressure gauge mounted directly on a water pump (C) Daniel FriedmanWatch out: before opening plumbing pipes or fittings to install a pressure gauge at an existing threaded tapping, turn off water equipment electrical power and remove pressure from the system. The well pump is turned off, pressure is drained from the system (you do not have to let all of the water out of the tank, just be prepared for a little spillage).

 

Water pressure gauge on pipe tee (C) Daniel Friedman SharkBite water pressure quick-install gauge

Water pressure gauge installed on a water tank air volume control © Daniel Friedman

Question: gauge jumps from 0 to 50 but we have no water

(Feb 23, 2016) larry.carpenter@windstream.net said:
Question: With no power on well, gauge is on 0. As soon as power is turned on, pressure jumps to 50 lbs, but NO water.

Reply:

Sounds wierd to me too. I wonder if the gauge is functioning properly and if the pump is even delivering water. I'd start by checking right at the pump to see if it's delivering water or not.

Search InspectApedia for DIAGNOSTIC TABLE for WATER PUMPS or search for NO WATER PRESSURE to see detailed procedures and suggestions.

Question: water pressure gauge drops to zero - is this a bad switch or a clog?

(Apr 13, 2016) jeff said:

I have a problem the pump pool pump up to 60 shut off then if you turn the shower on and run it long enough it'll get to 40 and then the whole pressure switch gauge drops to zero and then later it gets back on is the switch bad or is there a clog in the line going to the switch

(July 6, 2016) Bryan said:

having issue with the pump/silinoid not cutting in when the pressure drops. it is a square D valve with the single but adjustment.

Reply:

Jeff, I'm a bit confused: a pool pump? that sounds like part of a swimming pool - it ought have nothing to do with shower water supply.

It sounds as if your water supply is running out (pressure drops to zero, later recovers) or the switch could be sticking and not switching on the pump when it should.

Bryan, Chances are the switch pressure sensing port or tube that carries pressure to the switch is clogged; I'd replace the switch and tube.

Water pressure gauge articles

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Continue reading at WATER PRESSURE GAUGE or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.

Or see WATER PRESSURE LOSS DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR

To buy or make your own portable water pressure measurement gauge, see WATER PRESSURE MEASUREMENT.

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WATER PRESSURE GAUGE INSTALLATION at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

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