fbpx

Water Pressure Regulator: Everything You Need To Know

By November 9, 2020Plumbing
high water pressure causing leak

A water pressure regulator also named a pressure-reducing valve (PRV), is a type of plumbing valve that regulates pressure as water passes through the valve.

This valve is frequently installed right after the main water shut-off and is needed on homes with high or variable water pressure. Without one, high water pressure can wreak havoc by bursting pipes, damaging plumbing fixtures, or even damaging appliances over time.

How Does It Work?

The regulator works by an internal diaphragm and spring and an external adjustable screw.

As high water pressure enters, the spring and diaphragm make it more difficult for water to pass. Conversely, as lower water pressure enters the valve, water easily passes since the diaphragm and spring are under less pressure. Thus, the water pressure regulator can regulate water pressure and be adjusted through the external screw that controls spring tension.

For more information, check out this short video:

Where Are They Located?

As mentioned, they are typically found right after the main water shut-off. This is so high pressured water can be limited before reaching the rest of the homes plumbing system and causing damage.

However, this does not mean that they could be found elsewhere. Unprofessional plumbers or homeowners may install pressure regulators in other parts of the home.

Do I Need A Water Pressure Regulator?

If your home is on city water, chances are you have variable or high water pressure at some parts of the day.

Cities require high water pressure for fire hydrants and for water to work against gravity and reach the top levels in multi-story buildings.

Therefore, it is not uncommon for homeowners to find their water pressure to be variable.

You will need a water pressure regulator if your water pressure reaches levels near 80psi. In fact, building code requires water pressure regulators if psi reaches 80.

How To Test Your Water Pressure

To test your water pressure, you can use any pressure gauge that attaches to hose bibs or faucets. They can be found at your local hardware store or on amazon.

Simply attach the gauge to your hose bib, turn on the water, and read the gauge to find your water pressure.

Your home should be at around 50 psi.

How To Install A Water Pressure Regulator

You can find new water pressure regulators on Amazon. Be sure to purchase one that is the right size for your pipes.

Installing a water pressure regulator is fairly simple if you are a handy person. The process is as follows:

  1. Turn off the water at the main and right before the water heater.
  2. Drain the water from the lowest point at your home and open a valve at the highest point in your home.
  3. Cut out the plumbing section needed to install the water pressure regulator right after the water shut-off. Be careful to only cut out the length needed.
  4. Install the water pressure regulator and ensure the water inlet is on the right side.
  5. Slowly turn the water back on to test for leaks and safe water pressure.
  6. Adjust the water pressure regulator if needed.

If you are new to plumbing, it is best to contact a licensed plumber to assist you with this project and make sure it is completed properly.

Here is a more detailed video on installing and adjusting the water pressure regulator:

How To Adjust Your Water Pressure Regulator

Adjusting the water pressure is fairly simple. First, go to your water pressure regulator and located the top screw and lock nut.

Loosen the lock nut, then, then you can either tighten or loosen the top screw to adjust the water pressure. Tightening the screw (to the right) will decrease the overall water pressure. Loosening the screw (to the left) will increase the overall water pressure.

The video linked above shows this in more detail.

Maintenance

As with anything, nothing lasts forever. Water pressure regulators will need to replaced at some point.

If you notice water hammering, misting sprinklers, dripping faucets, or variable water pressure, it might be time to replace your water pressure regulator.

Concluding

Water pressure regulators or water reducing valves help to regulate pressure that enters your home. Too much pressure can damage your appliances, pipes, and fixtures.

These valves may need future replacement or adjustment over time so be sure to check your home’s water pressure.

If you have additional questions, be sure to comment down below!

Aaron Shishilla

Author Aaron Shishilla

Aaron Shishilla is the youngest registered professional inspector in Florida. Coming from a family-owned home inspection company and now the marketing manager at Waypoint.

More posts by Aaron Shishilla

Leave a Reply