Last updated - November 19th, 2021
A common mistake that homeowners make is mistaking water flow and water pressure. Here, we will be discussing the difference between the two and their importance to the water flow rate.
In simple terms, water flow indicates the volume of water coming out of a fixture which may be a faucet, a hose, or a pipe. We measure water flow by the volume of outpour per unit of time.
Water pressure refers to the amount of force applied to that water allowing it to move from one place to another. It measures the force applied to water which is pounds per square inch (PSI) or Pascal.
Water Pressure and Water Flow
The study of water flow provides measurements that are used for various purposes. This is used in planning watershed projects, evaluation, and monitoring of water quality. Water flow and water pressure support agricultural irrigation, outdoor activities, or the creation of a water basin for our public waters systems.
Changes in water flow rate as seen in floods result in transporting pollutants and/or increases the availability of pollutants. In turn, these may upset or support aquatic life and at the same time will affect the processes of water treatment meant for human consumption.
Water pressure pushes your water through the pathways. The strength of that pressure depends on several factors. For starters, elevation and gravity cause water pressure.
A good example of this is our community water source which usually comes from basins. This may be a dam or a reservoir. A high wall (elevation) supports this basin of water. The weight of water creates pressure at varying degrees (gravity) from the bottom to the top of the wall.
It is important to keep in mind that water will follow gravity. It will move down and exit to the nearest available passage or opening. Water pressure is also used to push water from lower grounds to areas higher than the water source.
How Water Flows Into Our Homes
When it comes to household water use, indoor plumbing utilizes the two concepts very well. Water flow is the amount of water that comes out of your faucet when you open the tap.
Water pressure is how strong the water comes out of that tap.
We can opt to have our water source coming from the public water system or through private wells. Either one we pick, water flow and water pressure will be used in our daily activities.
Using Public Water
Even before city water reaches our households, water districts still use the concept of water flow and water pressure. Public utility companies need to use water pressure to ensure that water is distributed evenly across the entire area.
Each household will have to tap into the main public water source to be able to use city water. The acceptable inlet water pressure must have a range between 40 to 45 psi. This is to ensure that the water flow can serve all the points of use, like faucets, showers, or water closets. That’s why you people like water filters that do not reduce water pressure like the Home Master HMF3SDGFEC.
At the same time, the pressure should not exceed 60 psi or higher as very high pressures may cause the pipes to crack or even burst. So, you have to make sure your faucet filter matches the water pressure before buying a faucet water filter.
Low water pressure prevents water heaters from working correctly. Too much water pressure can turn showers and baths into unpleasant experiences.
Measure Water Pressure Without a Gauge
Here are 5 steps to make to measure water pressure at home without the gauge:
- Turn off all faucets and spigots in your house. This includes all water-related apparatuses such as washing machines.
- Pick a water faucet nearest to your main water supply.
- Ensure this faucet is free from obstructions or restrictions in its water flow.
- Put a five-gallon container below the faucet.
- Using a stopwatch, fill the bucket with the faucet open at full capacity.
Let the time you initially got to fill the five-gallon container be Time (T) in seconds. Now, divide 5 by the time you got (T). Note that T is in seconds. The answer you get (A), you multiply by 60.
The final answer you get gives you your gallon per minute. The typical flow rate based on the above calculations is only between 1.0 to 1.5 gallons per minute.
As different standards may differ to each country, a reading you get which is 6 gallons per minute would mean high water pressure. This may pose a cause for early deterioration of water-using appliances and/or your water pipes.
Water Flow and Water Pressure Relationship
Regardless of the water source, deep wells, or public utility providers, correct water pressure is required to achieve an ideal water flow rate. As in any water system, control of the liquid moving (water flow) and/or pressure on that liquid (water pressure) is needed.
Water Pressure and Water Flow Rate are two important aspects when you need to buy a water filtration system for your home.
Note that even if the two are different, they are correlated. As a change of one will impact the other. A wrong combination will lead to an inconsistent and frustrating outcome. Here are a few factors to consider:
Friction plays a role in water pressure and water flow. As water passes through pipes, friction can slow down the water flow rate. In previous household plumbing pipes for instance, where there are sediments that have accumulated over time, this will create friction and slow down the water flow.
Compared to new pipes installed, and with the same water pressure applied in the old pipes, there is a significant difference observed in the flow of water. This means that the smoother the pipe, the less friction and water slides through.
Over the years, there was a shift from galvanized steel pipes to copper or plastics polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). Experts learned that galvanized steel rusted and corroded relatively easily. This will lead to extra friction in water flow.
Other than the texture of the water pipe, the diameter of the pipes will be a factor in water flow and water pressure. Common day intuition dictates the bigger the pipe, the higher the water flow. Even a big pipe will not have enough water flowing through it if there is not enough water pressure to move the water. Likewise, water pressure will slow down the friction in the water pipes.
The water flow coming out from your faucet is dependent on water pressure. The water source which in this case if the public utility service has to have enough water pressure to push it to your household. /the more water pushed into the pipelines, the more pressure it will create.
Regardless of the size of the pipe, the higher the water pressure, the higher the water flow. But strong water pressure and strong water flow may not always mean it is the better choice.
Water Filters Advisor just helped you understand that water pressure and water flow are distinct yet correlated. You cannot alter water flow without affecting water pressure and vice versa. Both play an integral part in our daily lives. The use of water pressure and water flow in each family unit will have different requirements as these are dependent on the family size and water consumption.
Luckily, we can regulate water pressure and water flow. It can be set to acceptable levels to create favorable water flow within the house while creating tolerable water pressures within the household’s plumbing system. It will be a good practice to have a water pump or water regulator. Installing these systems is a great way to safeguard our appliances and for everyone to enjoy the water benefits it brings.