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water pressure and flow gaugeIt is not as difficult as you think to understand water pressure and flow. It is due to pressure and flow that you are able to turn on the faucet and wash your hands. The revolution of indoor plumbing has made water pressure a necessity for a majority of the world. Curious to learn a bit more aren’t you?

Water pressure is described as the force or strength that is used to push water through pipes or other pathways. Water pressure is created by altitude or height.  For example, almost every single city has a water tower, which is typically located high on a hill. This water tower is a large tank that hold the city’s water supply. The height of the tank will determine the amount of pressure that the supply of water will have.  Water pressure is also often affected by gravitational pull.

The amount of water passing through a pipe at any given time is described as water flow. The flow of water can be affected by the width of a supply pipe. If many appliances or houses were to receive their water from a supply pipe with a small width, the flow rate would be lower than if the pipe were a wider width. So, if many taps or appliance were all open at the exact same time, there would not be an adequate amount of water available for them. This would result in low flow.

The flow of water from your faucet is determined by water pressure. The more water that is being forced through a pipe, the more pressure there will naturally be. Through any pipe size, higher water pressure will cause greater water flow. The pressure will decrease downstream, however, because of loss of friction and water velocity increase. 

Similarities and Differences Between Pressure and Flow

It must be stated that water pressure and water flow are NOT the same thing. An easy way to describe it would be, water flow is how MUCH water flows down a faucet, and water pressure is how HARD the water falls down the faucet.                   

Both water pressure and water flow are related to friction. Friction will slow down water as it moves through a pipe, depending on the pipe’s texture and diameter. If the water pressure is sufficient, the smoother the pipe, the less friction there is and the faster the water slides through. If there is efficient water flow, the friction in smaller pipes may be subdued so the flow stays high. 

Generally, the larger a pipe is, the higher the water flow. The water pressure level always has to be taken into consideration, however. Even the biggest, smoothest pipes will not have effective water flow if the water pressure is low, because there is not enough strength to defeat the force of friction.

To change water flow, the opening of a pipe must be adjusted. Changing water pressure is different. To adjust pressure, the diameter or texture of the pipe must be altered using a different regulator/pump or regulator/pump setting. The water pressure can also be adapted by changing to amount of water that is raised above the water that is coming through the water line.     

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Topics: Water Bills, Repairs, Leaks, Pressure