How a Water Pressure Regulator Works

A water pressure regulator (sometimes known as a pressure-reducing valve, or PRV) is a technical plumbing valve that lowers the water pressure coming into the house through the primary water line. This valve brings the pressure to a safe level before the water reaches on any plumbing fixtures within the house. An excessive amount of water pressure can lead to a number of plumbing problems, therefore it’s essential to maintain the water pressure in check. Though it isn’t essential for each plumbing set up, a water pressure regulator may be crucial in conditions where the municipal water supply passes the house at a really large pressure, or in which water pressure is more irregular.

How a Water Pressure Regulator Works
How a Water Pressure Regulator Works

House plumbing fixtures

Most house plumbing fixtures are designed to work in a pressure of approximately 50 psi (pounds per square inch), however, it’s not unusual for municipal water supplies to get into the house with pressures as large as 150 or 200 psi. If these high pressures exist on a standard basis, the pressure can finally cause joints to neglect, faucets, and other fixtures to flow, and appliances to the crackdown. Clothes dishwashers, washers, and some other home appliances possess built-in pressure labs, however, a whole-house water pressure regulator offers protection to all those appliances, and it also functions to shield most of the pipes and fixtures throughout the home.

The Way To Water Pressure Regulator Works

A water pressure regulator is a dome-shaped brass fitting which normally is located just past the primary shutoff valve, in which the main water line enters the home. It typically has an adjustment twist. Indoors, a water pressure regulator includes a changeable spring-loaded diaphragm which automatically expands and narrows based on the total amount of water pressure going into the valve.

Internal mechanism

After the water passes the regulator in elevated pressure, the internal mechanism constricts the diaphragm to narrow the stream of water. This can lessen the pressure into a variety of 50 to 80 psi, significantly reducing the strain on plumbing and fixtures installed beyond the valve. Conversely, once the incoming water pressure drops, the diagram opens wider to allow more water to flow through the valve. An adjustment screw at the surface of the regulator may be substituted to increase the pressure on the internal spring (thereby reducing the strain of the water as it leaves the valve), or loosened allowing water to flow more freely throughout the valve (thereby increasing the incoming water pressure).

After the machine is shielded by a water pressure regulator, there is less pressure on the internal valves of faucets, appliances and shutoff valves won’t be as prone to flow, and changes in water pressure have been evened out.

Do I Want One?

To decide whether you require a water pressure regulator, then check the water pressure of the principal water source to your residence. You can purchase a simple, powerful pressure gauge at local hardware or home improvement store. Twist the pressure gauge on some other hose bib or washing machine faucet and turn on the cold water faucet to assess the water pressure. If the pressure is between 40 and 60 psi generally, then you should be OK, but water pressure that’s frequently above 80 psi is likely causing excessive strain on plumbing, fittings, and fixtures. City water pressure may vary considerably, often increasing at nighttime once the general load goes down, so be certain that you test at different times daily. And during the evaluation, be certain water is not used anywhere else in the home, like in the office spigots or appliances.

You might also ask the regional water company, that will probably have the ability to let you know whether a pressure regulator is advocated in your area.

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Setup Tips

Should you require a water pressure regulator, then it’s best installed immediately following the primary shutoff valve controlling the water line coming into your house. This position permits the regulator to guard all plumbing in your property, and it also makes it simple to rapidly shut off the water valve should you have to replace or repair the regulator.

If you currently have a present pressure regulator, then it generally is rather simple to replace it with exactly the identical brand and version. Most producers don’t alter the form or dimensions of the regulators, thus a brand new one from precisely the exact same brand should match just as the old one did. It is often as simple as shutting off the water, disconnecting one or two marriage fittings, then replacing the ruler using a new one set up in precisely the exact same manner.

A brand new setup, on the other hand, is harder since it is going to need some work on the primary water line. Unless you’re quite experienced at plumbing work, it could be best to call in a plumber, even since the setup might require repositioning the water shutoff valve to produce the essential space for your water pressure regulator.

After installation, check the water pressure and fix the regulator, even if needed. To adjust, loosen the locknut on the adjustment screw, then twist the screw down or up till the water pressure reaches the desired level, as measured by a pressure gauge attached to a threaded hose bib somewhere from the house.


Like most of plumbing fixtures and valves, water pressure regulators finally grow older and neglect. If you become aware of water hammering of any sort, or experience variants or inconsistencies in water pressure, then it might be an indication that the water pressure regulator is no longer working properly. Assessing the water pressure at least once per year is always a fantastic idea, or if you have any questions regarding the operator’s effectiveness. If the operator’s adjustment screw no longer has any impact on altering the water pressure, the valve is due for replacement.

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Bear in mind that a lot of water pressure will place additional strain on the property’s plumbing systems and may cause toilets to operate, faucets to drip water hammer to happen at the walls, and in extreme instances, it may even induce burst pipes which may flood your property. For all these reasons, a failing water pressure regulator ought to be substituted whenever possible.

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