If your mains water line delivers water at a high or variable pressure, it can overload and damage your home’s plumbing and piping systems. A water pressure regulator controls and adjusts the pressure of water from the municipal water line, ensuring that your home’s water pressure is within a stable 50 pounds per square inch (psi) to 80 psi range. If your home water pressure is above 80 psi for long periods of time, it can cause the following problems:
- Dripping faucets and rusty fixtures.
- Dripping hoses and leaking sprinkler valves.
- Running toilets and showers.
- Banging pipe noise, also known as water hammering.
- Malfunctioning dishwashers, washing machines, and hot water systems.
- Burst pipes and interior flooding.
- Exorbitantly high water and energy bills.
To check if your home requires a water pressure regulator, you can either ask your local water company or manually test your home’s water pressure. If you check the water pressure yourself, remember to turn off any water appliances while taking measurements.
How to Use a Water Pressure Regulator?
Water pressure regulators are fitted at the juncture point between the municipal water line and your home water system. When water enters the main shut off valve, a spring-loaded diaphragm in the water pressure regulator constricts flow and re-releases the water at a lower pressure.
Without a water pressure regulator, your home’s plumbing system must hold and direct water at the pressure set by the municipal line. For reference, mains water usually enters your home’s water system at 150 psi. Over time, sustained high-pressure plumbing can put stress on your piping, fixtures, and valves.
Installing Your Water Pressure Regulator
Installing a water pressure regulator is a relatively simple task. Firstly, turn off your home’s water system and wait a few minutes for the piped water pressure to equalize. Secondly, access the main’s juncture point — it will either be located at the water cutoff valve or on the main water line — and use fastening screws to secure the water pressure regulator in position.
Adjusting Your Water Pressure Regulator
If you have noticed a sudden surge or drop in water pressure, you can adjust your water pressure regulator accordingly. When you access the regulator unit, use a locking wrench to slowly loosen the pressure locking nut. Turn the nut counterclockwise to decrease pressure or clockwise to increase pressure. While you adjust the regulator, it’s best to have someone manually checking the water pressure at the same time — when they report that the water pressure is within a 50 psi to 80 psi range, you can re-tighten the locking nut and turn the home water system back on.
Replacing Your Water Pressure Regulator
Although low usage and regular maintenance can extend component lifespan, home water pressure regulators typically need to be replaced every five years. If you notice fluctuating water pressure levels or hear water hammering, there’s a good chance your water pressure regulator needs replacing. Every six months, homeowners should use a pressure gauge to manually check the water pressure — if you notice pressure irregularities, you can replace or repair the water pressure regulator before it fails and damages other plumbing systems.
Always try to replace your pressure regulator with a unit that is the same brand and model. If you have to install a new type of pressure regulator, you may need to hire a plumber to reposition the main water shutoff valve.
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