Water Pressure

The water pressure within the City of Bremerton's distribution system can range from about 30 pounds per square inch (psi) to 100 psi at the customer's water meter. Pressure within the system varies depending on the elevation of your property in relation to the elevation of the reservoir that provides water service for your area. Peak water use and routine water system operations also can cause water pressure in the distribution system to fluctuate. Other variables that may affect water pressure include plumbing restrictions, point of use treatment devices (cartridge filters, softeners, etc.) and seasonal water demands.

The city cannot adjust the water pressure for specific properties; however, if you have concerns with high pressure or low pressure, there are some steps you can take that may help resolve the issue.

Most home improvement stores sell inexpensive water pressure gauges that can be simply attached to your outside faucet or hose bib. This will be useful when trying to determine the on-site water pressure at your property. You can also call the Bremerton Customer Response Line at 360-473-5920 and a technician can also check the water pressure at your water meter.

High Water Pressure
You may need a pressure reducing valve (PRV) if your water pressure is more than 80 psi. If the water pressure at your property is 80 psi or greater, a PRV will help decrease the water pressure. In accordance with Uniform Plumbing Codes, property owners and/or customers are responsible for installing and maintaining their own individual PRV devices whenever static water pressure exceeds 80 psi.

Most plumbing professionals recommend a PRV setting between 35 and 60 psi. Sustained pressure that exceeds 80 psi can damage on-site plumbing systems and may affect your water fixtures. PRVs should be installed on the customer's side of the water meter and are usually located near the water heater, water softener or on the inlet water line between your home and the water meter.

If your home water system does not have a PRV, you can purchase them from a licensed plumber, who can install the PRV. If a PRV already exists, it may just need an adjustment to decrease the pressure at the property. The city recommends that you consult a licensed plumber for adjustments and service to your PRV.

Low Water Pressure
Decreased water pressure usually denotes a plumbing problem. If you're experiencing a decrease in water pressure at your property, the issue is typically within your plumbing system. The list below may help you identify the cause of the low pressure at your property.
  • Pressure Reducing Valve - If the low pressure is at every faucet in the home and you have a pressure reducing valve (PRV) installed on your home plumbing system, you may want to verify that your PRV is set appropriately. Most PRVs are bell-shaped devices that may be installed outside on the inlet water line between your home and water meter. PRVs should be adjusted by a licensed plumber.
  • Clogged Aerators - If the low pressure is not affecting every faucet, the problem may just be a clogged or blocked faucet aerator. Check the aerator screens for rust, debris, scale or other particles that may be restricting flow. Simply clean or replace the aerator altogether. If you have white particles in your aerator, you may have a hot water heater dip tube failure - please see the separate fact sheet on this issue.
  • Hot Water, Low Pressure - If the low pressure is only affecting the hot water at your property, there could be a problem with your water heater. Check the shut-off valve near the water heater and make sure it is fully open. You may need to consult a licensed plumber to evaluate the condition of your water heater and determine if it is affecting your water pressure.
  • On-site Water Valve - Most homes have an on-site water valve located near other on-site fixtures, like a water heater or water softener. The valve may also be located in the garage or on the inlet line between your home and water meter. This valve, which may be utilized to make plumbing repairs, allows you to shut off the flow of water to the home. Make certain that this valve is open completely; even the slightest closure can restrict flows and decrease the water pressure.
  • On-site Leak - Low pressure also can be caused by a water leak somewhere on the property. Please see the brochure, "Homeowner's Guide to Leak Detection" for more information.
  • Water Softeners - Bremerton's water is naturally on the soft side so most customers do not need a water softener. If you do have a water softener, you may want to evaluate its necessity. If you have a water softener and are experiencing a sudden lowering of your home's water pressure, you may want to consider having a professional service technician evaluate your water softener's condition. One option is to temporarily put the softener on by-pass and see if pressure increases. If it does, the low pressure is probably caused by the water softener and it may need to be serviced or possibly replaced.
Private Pressure Adjustment
The following is Bremerton Municipal Code 15.02.070:
Where water supply is not available to a premises because of low pressure during periods of peak demands for water, or where property is situated at such an elevation that it cannot be assured of adequate pressure, the owner may, at his expense, install an auxiliary storage tank or pump to furnish auxiliary supply pressure. The auxiliary system shall be approved by the department. The department approval shall be based on the protection of the safety and integrity of the utilities system and not on the adequacy of the private systems design for its intended use. The auxiliary system shall remain the property of the property owner, who will be solely responsible for its maintenance and operation.

In the event local conditions result in high pressure (exceeding eighty (80) psi), a pressure reducing valve may be required and installed at the expense of the owner. The pressure reducing valve shall remain the property of the property owner who will be solely responsible for its maintenance and operation. (Ordinance 4454 § 1 (in part), 1994; Ordinance 4309 §2 (in part), 1991.)