Water Pressure and Water Flow

What is the difference between water flow and water pressure?

Water Pressure – What is Water Pressure?

Water pressure is the force that pushes water through pipes. Pressure is needed to get water into homes, businesses and also local public services, regardless of whether they are bungalows or really tall skyscrapers, or whether they are on lower or higher ground. Water Pressure is measured in ‘bars’, the force needed to raise water 10 metres is equivalent to one bar of force. Did you know the height of your home can effect water pressure? Homes at the top of a hills may receive a lower pressure than homes which are at the bottom of hills.

Your water pressure can also change depending on the time of day. You will probably find that your water pressure is higher later on at night. This is because less water is taken from your water service provider’s network as the majority of peoples taps are turned off. On balance water is often lower at times when people are taking baths or showers or when they are filling up their paddling pools or watering the garden in the summer. The amount of pressure at your tap may depend on how high your water service providers’ reservoir or water tower is above your home, or it could be on how much water is being used by their other customers.

It is possible to increase your water pressure by making changes to the internal plumbing in your home or business. A good starting point would be to make sure your stop tap is open fully. Making sure all of the systems that rely on the pressure of water reaching your property are set to the minimum level of one bar/ 10 metres head.

Water Flow – What is Water Flow?

The water flow in your home is the maximum quantity of water you receive and this depends on the size of the pipe that connects between your home and your water service provider.

For example: You will most probably get a satisfactory supply of water from a single tap connected to a small pipe. If however you connect many taps and appliances to this same small pipe and try to run them at the same time there would probably not be enough water coming at each point. This means you would have a 'low water flow' - perhaps just a trickle of water coming out of the taps.

Water pipes are half an inch in diameter (approx 15mm) in older properties and back then was enough to supply water to a group of properties. When modern appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines and power showers are used, the amount of water used can cause low flow problems.

The first appliance turned on draws most or all of the water from the pipe and there will not be enough for any other taps or appliances you may want to use at the same time. This can be a problem for people living in converted houses. Usually the ground floor receives adequate flow but higher floors sometimes benefit from the installation of additional water pumping arrangements.

Properties built more recently usually have bigger pipes - 25mm diameter (outside diameter). This means the water flow will be a lot higher, so there is enough for numerous appliances to be used at once.

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