A Guide to Water Pressure Regulator Valves

Nov 23, 2020

Pressure-Reducing Valves and Low Water Pressure

“How do I increase my home's water pressure?”

This is a common plumbing question with a complex set of potential answers. Your water pressure issues may originate from a plumbing leak, which redirects water away from your showers and faucets. It could also be caused by an old showerhead or outdated plumbing fixtures. However, one regularly overlooked source of low water pressure is also often the easiest to fix: regulator valve issues. The Raleigh plumbers at Newcomb and Company are here with insight into this common plumbing problem.

What Is a Pressure Regulator Valve?

Water pressure is measured in PSI (pound-force per square inch). Home water pressure can range from 45-80 PSI. For your home's safety, city-wide standards often require that your water pressure does not exceed 80 PSI, while some cities cap water pressure at 60 PSI.

Most newer homes meet these standards by connecting a pressure regulator valve (also called a pressure-reducing valve, or PRV) to their mainline. As the name suggests, this device works to regulate or reduce your water pressure. When a pressure-reducing valve is too tight or needs replacing, it can create low water pressure in your home.

Why Do I Need a Pressure-Reducing Valve?

We often think of high water pressure as a good thing, but overly-high water pressure can create serious and costly trouble for your home. Water pressure-reducing valves are installed for one (or more) of three reasons:

City Regulations and Home Inspections

City guidelines often keep a strict cap on water pressure to keep homes safe. As mentioned above, this is commonly 60-80 PSI. However, the municipal water pressure is often much higher (up to 150+ PSI) to ensure fire hydrants and other city-wide water needs are met. Some homes naturally meet pressure guidelines, while others need pressure regulator valves. Without a PRV, overly-high water pressure may cause you to fail a home inspection.

Safe Plumbing Precautions

Why do cities, builders, and home inspectors care so much about your water pressure? It is to keep your plumbing systems safe and protected. Excessively high water pressure can increase the turbulence within your plumbing system, which puts your pipes, appliances, and home at risk. High water pressure can cause frequent leaks, pipe bursts, faucet troubles, connector failure, and more. Your pressure regulator valve could be preventing dangerously high water pressure.

Water Efficiency

High water pressure can also lead to increased water waste. Your PRV may have been installed to help you save water/money. As such, your water pressure PSI may be tailored to meet the efficiency needs and preferences of a previous homeowner. For example, your pressure regulator valve may be keeping your home at 45 PSI, where you may be used to water pressure closer to 80 PSI.

While all of these needs are important, sometimes they let your water pressure slip well below your PSI limits. If your pressure-reducing valve is the source of your water pressure issues, a simple adjustment can fix your plumbing problems.

Can I Adjust my Water Pressure Regulator?

Do you think your pressure regulator valve is restricting your water pressure? This valve can be easily adjusted by a professional plumber. First, an expert will inspect your regulator valve and read your PSI to determine whether you are below the area’s limits. A professional may also check to ensure that you are not facing another plumbing issue causing the low water pressure. Depending on your home and your settings, your plumber may be able to adjust your water pressure slightly so that your PRV can maintain its purpose while still giving you the pressure boost you need.

Failing Water Pressure Regulator Valve

Alternatively, low water pressure may indicate that your pressure-reducing valve is at the end of its lifespan, which will cause it to stop working. This issue will require a replacement PRV rather than an adjustment before restoring your water pressure. A plumber can inspect your pressure-reducing valve and let you know whether or not you need a replacement.

This service offers a variety of benefits to your home. Not only will increased water pressure improve the performance of your showers and faucets, but it may also provide better appliance functionality. For example, if your dishwasher, washing machine, and other water-driven appliances do not clean well, a new pressure regulating valve may help.

Newcomb and Company Water Pressure Help

Is your water pressure struggling? The Raleigh plumbers at Newcomb and Company can help. We can examine whether you need a PRV adjustment, replacement, or another plumbing service. Our experts proudly serve the plumbing needs of the larger Raleigh area, including Knightdale, Clayton, Garner, Cary, Durham, Raleigh, and beyond! Contact our plumbing experts to make your appointment today!

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