What is the Average Household Water Pressure? (Updated: 2023) (2023)

If you’ve ever tried to take a shower while the washing machine is in use, and discovered that only a trickle of water would come out of your shower head, you’ve probably dealt with low water pressure.

It’s natural for your home’s water pressure to drop when multiple appliances are being used at once. But some homes may have a lower water pressure than others, and this can lead to problems, especially if you have a family of four or more.

In this guide, I’ll be sharing the typical household water pressure, and what can cause water pressure to drop.

Table of Contents

  • 🆚 Water Pressure vs Water Flow Rate
  • 📋 What Affects Average Residential Water Pressure?
  • 📌 What is the Average Residential Water Flow Rate (GPM)?
  • ❔ How Do You Calculate Water Flow Rate?
  • 🧠 How Many Gallons Per Minute Do I Need for My Home?

🆚 Water Pressure vs Water Flow Rate

First off, it’s important to understand that water pressure and flow rate aren’t the same thing. While these terms are often used interchangeably, they are actually different measurements.

What is the Average Household Water Pressure? (Updated: 2023) (1)

The flow rate of your water is the amount of water that flows out of your faucet within a specific time period. Flow rate is measured in gallons per minute, or GPM, and essentially indicates how much water could leave a faucet in your home at a given time.

Water pressure isn’t determined by speed; it’s determined by gravity. Your home’s water pressure is the force applied to the water in your pipes to get it to where it needs to be.

Your water pressure affects your water flow rate. The lower your water pressure, the slower the flow of water through your faucets.

📋 What Affects Average Residential Water Pressure?

There are several factors that can affect your home’s water pressure, including leaking pipes, scale build-up, a failed pressure regulator, and more.

Leaking Pipes

A leak in a pipe leading up to your home may cause a loss of water pressure. You may not notice that a pipe is leaking, especially if it isn’t inside your home, but the gap created by the leak can cause pressure to escape.

Related: No water in house suddenly

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If you think you have an issue with leaking pipes, it’s wise to call a plumber for a professional evaluation. A leak in your main water line presents the risk of microbiological contamination, and you certainly don’t want to be drinking bacteria, viruses or protozoa in your water.

Scale Buildup

Scale build-up is a very common cause of reduced water flow rate. Even if your water pressure itself hasn’t dropped, scale can affect the flow of water through your pipes, creating friction and dragging the water back.

You can remove scale from your pipes using a scale removal solution, but be aware that it will eventually come back if you have hard water.

The best way to prevent a build-up of limescale is to use a water softener. This will remove the limescale and magnesium responsible for water hardness, eliminating scale formation entirely.

Pressure Regulator Has Failed

Another common water pressure issue is linked to the pressure regulator or PRV, pressure-reducing valve itself. If this regulator becomes faulty, it might not properly control the input pressure in your plumbing system.

What is the Average Household Water Pressure? (Updated: 2023) (3)

Not all homes have a regulator for water pressure, but if yours does, and you’ve noticed that your water pressure has suddenly dropped, it’s worth checking that everything is in order. In most cases, you will need to call a professional to replace the regulator for you.

Water Meter Valve Isn’t Open

Most homes have two water shutoff valves that are used to control water flow into your home. The first of these valves is the water meter valve. You can find it near to your water meter on the water line leading into your home.

You usually won’t have to touch this valve, as it’s technically the property of your water supplier. However, if your water pressure is low, it’s worth checking this valve to see if it isn’t fully open. This is especially worth doing if you have recently had some plumbing work done around your home.

Corroded Pipes

If the plumbing in your home is old and worn, corrosion may be causing a drop in water flow.

As with limescale, corrosion in your plumbing won’t affect your water pressure itself, but it will slow down your water flow rate in gallons per minute.

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Corrosion is most likely to be a problem in a household with galvanized steel water lines. Corrosion can build up in the water system, eventually restricting water flow.

You won’t notice a sudden drop in your water’s flow rate in this case; the problem builds up gradually over a number of decades. The only suitable solution is to re-pipe the plumbing and fixtures in your whole house, which can be quite an expensive job.

Time of the Day

There may be certain times in the day when there’s an increased demand for appliances in your home that use water.

A common time for water pressure to dip is from 7 am to 9 am, when people typically get ready for work and school. Showers, washing hands, and perhaps even a last-minute washing machine cycle can all contribute to decreased water pressure when they occur simultaneously.

You may also experience pressure drops in the evening, when you might be using the dishwasher and washing machine at the same time as following a bathtime-bedtime routine with your children.

📌 What is the Average Residential Water Flow Rate (GPM)?

Most small households in America have an average water flow rate of around 6 to 12 gallons per minute (GPM).

It’s difficult to determine a daily flow rate per household, as it depends on factors such as the number of people in your household, the newness of your plumbing and appliances, the amount of water you use per shower, and so on. A general estimate for most homes is between 100 and 120 gallons per day.

Of course, having a large household doesn’t automatically mean that your home water usage will be higher. However, it does mean that there’s an increased chance of more people using water in your house at the same time, which might affect how much water is used at certain times in the day.

Flow Rate & Square Footage

Aside from your family size, the square footage of your house can affect your water pressure, and the flow rate of water in gallons per minute.

Most households have an inlet water pressure of 40-45 PSI (pounds per square inch). A standard household shouldn’t exceed 80 PSI, as this could damage your plumbing, fixtures and appliances, including your water heater. This is why a plumber will usually regulate a household’s water pressure to about 50 PSI.

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However, if your home’s square footage is larger than the average house square footage in the US (just over 1,300 sq. feet), then it won’t be classed as a “standard” household. You might need to reconfigure your water pressure to up to 75 PSI if your flow rate is low. I would recommend consulting an expert before increasing your water pressure to stay on the safe side.

❔ How Do You Calculate Water Flow Rate?

How many gallons per minute (GPM) of water does your own house use? We know by now that flow rates can vary from one house to another, so knowing your own exact flow rate will prove useful.

It’s relatively easy to calculate your home’s flow rate in GPM per faucet. Simply turn your faucet all the way on and hold a measuring jug beneath the running water for 10 seconds.

When the time is up, remove the measuring jug and look at how many gallons of water the jug contains. Next, multiply this amount by 6, which will calculate the number of gallons per minute your whole house water system can produce.

To know whether your flow rate is higher or lower than the typical flow rate in the US, compare to the following figures:

  • A kitchen faucet usually has a flow rate of between 1.5 and 3 gallons per minute
  • A shower has a flow rate of approximately 2.5 to 3 gallons per minute
  • A dishwasher operates at between 1.5 and 3 GPM
  • Washing machines have an average flow rate of 2 to 4 GPM

Judging by these average flow rates, you should expect your water pressure to drop if you were using these four appliances at once.

🧠 How Many Gallons Per Minute Do I Need for My Home?

A minimum flow of 6 GPM is recommended for most standard households. For most people, this GPM will be high enough to meet water usage requirements, even when water is in peak demand. However, the exact GPM for your household will depend on your home water usage, and whether you plan to use appliances that may slow down your flow rate.

For instance, if you intend to use a whole house water filter to remove contaminants from your drinking water, your flow rate in GPM might decrease slightly. This is because water meets resistance from the filter media, which prevents it from flowing freely through your plumbing.

This doesn’t mean that you should adjust your water pressure too high, though, as elevated flow rates can be both dangerous to your home and damaging to your water filter.

It’s best looking instead for filters with flow rates of at least 5 GPM or more – preferably those with an NSF certification, so you know they’ll live up to expectations. You could also consider a filter system that wouldn’t affect your whole home’s flow rate, such as a point-of-use filter.

If you think your home’s flow rate is far too high or too slow, I recommend calling a licensed plumber to assess your situation, rather than attempting to remedy the issue yourself.


What is the average household water pressure? ›

The typical inlet water pressure to a standard size home is usually between 40 to 45 pressure-per-square-inch (psi). For a standard household, it should never exceed 60 psi— that's why many plumbers automatically set your pressure regulator to 50 psi.

What is considered good water pressure GPM? ›

A toilet will normally use about 2.2 to 5.0 GPM, a shower from 2.5 to 5.0 GPM, a bathtub from 4.0 to 8.0 GPM, a bathroom or kitchen faucet from 2.5 to 3.0 GPM, a dishwasher from 2.0 to 3.0 GPM, and a washing machine from 4.0 to 5.0 GPM.

Is 55 psi good water pressure? ›

The water pressure in a plumbing system should be between 45 and 55 psi (pounds per square inch). If the pressure rises above 60 psi, it can create problems for the plumbing, including damage to the pipes. In most cases of high water pressure, a professional must analyze the problem and find a solution.

Is 110 water pressure too high? ›

In residential homes, pipes have a higher chance of breaking, cracking, and eroding when water pressure exceeds 80 psi. In commercial properties, water pressure levels vary, but usually sit in the 100–110 psi range. Pipes have a higher chance of eroding when pressure exceeds 160–170 psi.

Is 65 psi too high for water pressure? ›

The ideal water pressure for a house will be somewhere in the range of about 45 to 65 psi. Anything higher than 80 psi can cause damage, and anything much lower than 45 psi may result in issues when you use your shower, toilet, dishwasher and other water-consuming appliances.

Is 130 psi water pressure too high? ›

According to statistics, water pressure above 80 psi (pounds per square inch) causes the failure of water fixtures. The most common signs are spitting or leaking faucets, especially if it's out of the cold tap. Another telltale sign is when a small stream of spraying water appears at the sides of the stream.

How many GPM should a 3 bathroom house have? ›

Estimating Home Water Use Needs
# of bedrooms in homeNumber of bathrooms in home
38 GPM10 GPM
410 GPM12 GPM
2 more rows
Aug 26, 2022

What is normal residential water flow rate? ›

The water flow rate is the measurement of how fast treated water will come out of your faucets throughout your home. It's measured in gallons per minute (GPM). The average household has a water flow rate of 6 to 12 GPM. Therefore, most households use roughly 100 to 120 gallons of water each day.

How many GPM should a family of 4 have? ›

🏠 Tankless Water Heater Size For Different Family Sizes
Household SizeFlow Rate
Family of 37-9 GPM
Family of 48-10 GPM
Family of 59-11 GPM
Family of 611+ GPM
1 more row
Jun 17, 2023

How can I increase water pressure in my house? ›

If your pressure gauge reading was low, make slight adjustments to your regulator. The regulator will have an adjustment screw that can be turned clockwise to increase pressure. Start by making very small changes to the water pressure, and continue to test to see if your home's water pressure improves.

Will a bigger well pump increase water pressure? ›

Consider a Pump with a Higher Flow Capacity

The flow rate of a well pump is measured in gallons per minute (GPM). If you currently have a well pump with a GPM rating of 8, you may notice that your home water pressure improves greatly after you upgrade to a pump with a 12 GPM rating.

How low is too low water pressure in house? ›

The average in-home water pressure is about 40 to 45 pounds per square inch (or PSI). If you feel like you're dealing with low water pressure, chances are your pressure has slipped below this number.

What is an unsafe water pressure? ›

Consider calling a professional if the water pressure reading goes above 80 psi.

What if my house water pressure is 100 psi? ›

Most residential plumbing systems are designed to handle 40 to 60 PSI of pressure, with 80 PSI being the typical maximum and anything over 100 PSI being possibly detrimental to plumbing components.

What if my home water pressure is 100 psi? ›

For most houses, 80 psi (pounds per square inch) is about right. If the water pressure is over 100 psi, that's too much. This increase in pressure is usually the fault of the municipal water company, which sets the pressure higher in order to accommodate fire hydrants and tall commercial buildings.

Is 70 psi too high for water pressure? ›

Normal psi for a home pipe system is between 30 and 80 psi. While you don't want the psi to be too low, it violates code to be above 80. Instead, you should aim for a psi that's between 60 and 70.

Is 20 psi enough water pressure? ›

Normal water pressure is generally between 40 and 60 PSI. Most homeowners prefer something right in the middle around 50 PSI. Once you measure the water pressure in your house, you can adjust it to a setting that is ideal for all family members and household uses.

Is 20 psi water pressure good? ›

Residential water pressure tends to range between 45 and 80 psi (pounds per square inch). Anything below 40 psi is considered low and anything below 30 psi is considered too low; the minimum pressure required by code is 20 psi . Pressures above 80 psi are too high.

Is 120 psi too high for water pressure? ›

Most residential plumbing systems are designed to handle 40 to 60 PSI of pressure, with 80 PSI being the typical maximum and anything over 100 PSI being possibly detrimental to plumbing components.


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