A water pressure regulator is a plumbing valve controlling the pressure from your main water line. This specialized component’s primary goal is to reduce incoming water pressure to a safe level for your home and prevent damage to your pipes and appliances.
So how exactly does it work, and why do you need one in your house? First, let’s go into water pressure reducing valves in a little more detail.
How Pressure Reducing Valves Work
Water pressure regulators are found just past the main shutoff valve (where the mains water enters your home), typically made of brass and shaped like a dome. Inside, there is a diaphragm that automatically narrows and widens depending on the amount of pressure.
For example, if you have high incoming water pressure, the inner mechanism of the valve will construct the diaphragm and narrow the flow to about 50 to 80 psi.
This feature, which takes a high-pressure inlet and reduces it, is one of the most important criteria when selecting the perfect pressure regulator for your home. Most valves also have a strainer to protect your pipework from debris.
The Importance of a Pressure Reducing Valve
Too much pressure coming from the water main supply can put a strain on your plumbing fixtures and cause joints to fail. Faucets and other features can also begin to leak.
Many appliances, such as dishwashers and clothes washers, already come with built-in pressure regulators. However, there are many advantages to having a pressure-reducing valve that can control the water pressure for your whole house.
Main Benefits of Pressure Regulators
- When you have a water pressure regulator protecting your home, you know there will be less stress on all of your faucets, shutoff valves, and also on the inner valves of appliances.
- Any fluctuations in water flow will also be evened out, and your system will be less prone to leaking and cracking of pipes.
- A water pressure regulator can also help you save water because the lower the pressure in the system, the less water you will consume. You don’t need to change your habits to help save the environment.
- Of course, less consumption also means you can reduce the cost of your bills – not just water ones, but also energy as a whole.
- When your water pressure is lower, your appliances also require fewer repairs, and you will prevent costly leaks. High pressure is not suitable for your home’s pipes, and if left unattended, it can lead to big lines blowing out!
- This could cause extreme damage to your house and require major construction restoration – not to mention damage to your floors, walls, cabinets, and undesired mold.
How To Know if You Need a Pressure Reducing Valve
- Determining whether your home needs a water pressure regulator is relatively straightforward. All you need to do is test the water pressure of your main water line.
- It is easy to do this by purchasing a pressure gauge (you can find them in hardware and home improvement stores), screwing it to a hose bib, and turning on the cold water tap.
- A standard pressure range is between 40 and 60 psi. If you have above 80 psi, this means your mains is causing excessive stress on your pipes and fixtures.
How to Install a Water Pressure Regulator
The best way to install water pressure regulators is to position them immediately after your main shutoff valve. This way, you will be able to control the water line that comes into your home and protect all your internal pipes.
Replacing a water pressure regulator is generally easier, especially if you want to keep the same brand and model. However, a new installation will require you to work on the main water line.
Unless you are experienced at plumbing, it’s best to call an expert to help you reposition the shutoff valve and create the space required to install the pressure-reducing valve.
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