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How to measure water pressure

Water coming out of a tap into a glass

Water pressure is the measure of how much force it takes to push water from the mains supply and into the pipework that runs around your home.

The most common time we notice water pressure is when it is particularly low. This manifests itself in water trickling out of taps or shower leaving you unable to wash your hands or body properly.

The water pressure calculation

a tap with lower water pressure

A figure that is considered ‘good water pressure’ is a flow of 15 litres and above per minute. This will ensure that you have a satisfying shower that feels good and enables you to wash off soap suds comfortably.

To check your water pressure, you need to do a simple bit of math(s). You can do this yourself, but it might be easier if there’s two of you:

  • Find a 2 litre measuring jug
  • Grab a stopwatch or stopwatch app
  • Put jug under a tap and turn the tap on
  • At the same time, start the stopwatch and time 6 seconds
  • After 6 seconds turn the tap off
  • Take the amount of water in the jug and multiply it by 10. For example, 0.6L x 10 = 6 Litres per minute.

The result in our hypothetical sum would mean that the water pressure is far too low and would need the attention of a professional. If you do this calculation and the result comes out as less than 15 Litres per minute, they you may also wish to consult a plumber.

Can water pressure be increased?

A water pressure gauge on a combi boiler.

In most cases, water pressure can be increased without too much disruption.

A plumber can measure your water pressure at the point the water enters the pipework of your property to check that there isn’t a problem with the water supplier.

Water suppliers are duty-bound to provide a mains supply with 1 bar of pressure, so it’s worth getting a professional to check this is indeed the case.

If you have a gravity fed system, then you may need to increase the height of the water tank or use a shower pump to increase the water pressure to your shower.

For systems running on combi boilers, your plumber can check that your central heating system is correctly pressurised to at least 1 bar. This gauge is on your combi boiler and can easily be checked.

Water pressure and whirlpool baths

If you are considering installing a luxury whirlpool bath at home, then it’s definitely worth checking that your water pressure is adequate.

If you have a shower and you’re not happy with the water flow, get this issue sorted out before adding a whirlpool bath. This is especially important if your main bathroom is upstairs.

Whirlpool baths are supposed to add a sense of comfort and relaxation to your home, so anything less than optimum water pressure will cause the filling of the bath to be a drawn out and frustrating affair!


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