Platinum Plumbing Inc.

Water Pressure and the Damage Done: An After School Special

[The scene opens to a kitchen faucet. Behind the faucet is a window that shows a sunny afternoon with the soft focus of 1980s/1990s cinematography. We see the faucet begin to leak slowly at the base. Instrumental music that is somehow both peaceful and ominous plays—think 1976’s Carrie–as the camera pans across the kitchen to the dining room. There are obscene amounts of country blue and mauve and…goose décor? The camera comes to rest on a woman and her son eating lunch. The woman is dressed, confusingly, in aerobics attire, but her hair and makeup are on full display. The son basically looks like Mikey from Life Cereal. Pretty unremarkable.]

Mom: (in a soft tone) Jimmy, you need to hurry up and eat your sandwich. It’s almost bath time.

Jimmy: (with a look of utter confusion) Bath time? It’s only lunchtime. I haven’t even played outside yet.

Mom: Now, Jimmy, you run along and do as you’re told. Your father will be home soon.

Jimmy slinks down and begins to pick at breadcrumbs on his plate, avoiding eye contact.

Mom: Jimmy, what is it? What’s the matter?

Jimmy: (keeping his eyes on his plate) Well… the thing is (he pauses) sometimes the water hurts me.

Mom: (exasperated) Oh, Jimmy, not this again.

Jimmy: (protesting) But it’s true! It feels like someone is throwing rocks at me over and over again!

Mom: Your father and I both shower in that same shower, and we’ve never noticed anything. You can’t just make up lies to get out of bath time, Jimmy. I’m on to you.

Jimmy: But I’m not making up lies!

Mom gives the warning glance, and Jimmy reluctantly mopes offscreen. Mom exhales and walks to the kitchen and, because it’s the 80s or 90s, pulls a pack of cigarettes from a cracker box on the top shelf. As she strikes the match, her husband walks onscreen and looks at her in astonishment.

Mom: Don’t worry. Jimmy is in the bath.

Father: At 12:30?

Mom: (blowing smoke towards her husband, making direct eye contact) Mommy needed a minute.

Father shuffles past her, dropping his briefcase on the counter. He opens the refrigerator and starts rummaging through Tupperware containers.

Mom: Jimmy brought it up again.

Father: Brought what up?

Mom: You know… (dropping to a whisper) the water pressure.

Father: (with a flash of anger that the audience is supposed to view as a totally acceptable reaction) That boy. There’s nothing wrong with the water pressure. I checked it myself.

Mom: But, like, what if we just called a plumber to take a look? Just to see. Then we can ease Jimmy’s mind about it all. I heard of this very reputable company. They would only charge $49 for an inspection. They’re called Platinum—

Father: (red and spitting mad) I am not paying someone to come to my house to tell me that the work I’ve done is just fine. I am the man of this house, and it is my job to—

Jimmy: (offscreen) Mommy? It hurts.

The camera cuts to Jimmy. His skin is fire engine red, his hair is sopping wet, and he’s crying. Mom rushes over to him, drops to her knees, and holds him against her. Just then, there’s a loud whistle, and water erupts from the sink, blowing the faucet to the ceiling. Dad drops to the ground dramatically and army crawls his way toward the geyser. He manages to get to the cabinet and turns off the water from below the sink, but not before he is drenched. He rolls over onto his back, panting.

Father: What did you say the name of that plumbing company was?

Mom and Jimmy rush over to Father. Mom takes his face in her hands.

Mom: Platinum Plumbing! They’re called Platinum Plumbing, and they’re right here in Bloomington-Normal!

Father: I’ll call them right away.

Father sits up, and they all hug and laugh. Eerie/happy music plays, but the laughter can still be heard. The camera fades to black.

Okay, fine. Maybe it’s not quite that dramatic, but high water-pressure can be a serious deal. There are, surprisingly, a few takeaways from this exquisitely written melodrama about the dangers of high water-pressure:

1) Pipes really can burst due to high water-pressure.

2) Don’t be a hero. If something doesn’t feel right, call a plumber. Preferably an experienced plumber from Platinum Plumbing.

3) After School Specials are unexpectedly dark. I did a lot of research for this, and it was all really uncomfortable.

Water Pressure Explained

The long and short of it is that somewhere there is a reservoir (a water tower in towns and cities and pressure tanks for well water in more rural areas) that holds the treated water. Apparently, height plays a large factor in water pressure in water towers, so the higher up the water tower is, the more pounds of pressure per square inch (PSI). For well water, there is also a reservoir that holds the water, and because of the mechanisms in these systems, the water pressure is based on a pump. Your water pressure should, ideally, be between 45 and 55 PSI. Anything above or below can either be the cause or effect of damage to your pipes and/or home.

High Water Pressure

When I think of high water pressure, I think of either high blood pressure (bad) or the boiler at the end of the Shining book (spoiler)—also, sorry about all of the Stephen King references; the After School Specials really did put me in a dark place—neither of which prove to have positive outcomes. High water pressure can cause damage to your pipes. Here are some typically easy signs to know that you may have an issue:

Faucet Leaks – As shown in the very effective and descriptive story above, a good indicator of high pressure is faucet leaks. While this is not the only cause of a faucet leak, there are telltale signs like if a faucet is leaking at certain times of the day or multiple faucets leak.

Noisy Pipes – Stop. Water hammer time. A water hammer is a very loud sound that kind of sounds like an air compressor. The water shakes the pipes as it tries to get through. From personal experience, it’s great to deem it as “Toilet Monster” and scare children. But I digress; it’s actually really hard on your pipes. Water hammer isn’t only due to high water pressure, so be sure to look for other signs.

Rattling Pipes – It’s pretty self-explanatory, but this might be the biggest sign that tells you that your water pressure is too high.

Steep Water Bills – If you notice that your water bill has skyrocketed, that’s a good time to call a plumber regardless of what you think the issue is, but it fits here as a sign of high water pressure.

Even if any of these issues don’t seem like a big deal, the fact is that high water pressure can contribute to serious and expensive plumbing issues. It can hurt any water-usage appliances like dishwashers and laundry washers. It can also cause serious leaks and bursting pipes.

Low Water Pressure

Obviously, the cautionary tale is about high water pressure, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention low water pressure in my water pressure post. There are some issues that can be checked before you make the decision to call a plumber, and these are novice fixes. You can check your water valves to make sure they are fully open. You can also check your water fixtures to make sure there isn’t some sort of lime or mineral buildup that can contribute to lower pressures. If neither of these is a problem, it’s time to call Platinum Plumbing. Low water pressure issues can be a result of an array of plumbing problems. Here are just a few:

· Corroded Pipes

· Faulty Pressure Regulator

· Remodeling projects that led to more water fixtures (main supply line is too small)

Call Platinum Plumbing Today

Look. Don’t be like Father and Mom who let their water pressure issues build for far too long. Platinum Plumbing will, in fact, come inspect your pipes for $49. If you hire us to do the work, that service fee will be wrapped into the final total. No commitment to keep us on, but we’ll prove to you that our licensed and expert plumbers only have your and your household’s best interests in mind. Whether it’s an emergency or just a precaution, don’t be the one who gets a faucet stuck in your ceiling.

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