One of the problems we commonly see in residential homes that can create a large headache is a broken pressure regulator valve, or one that is not fully functioning as it should. By learning how to check your pressure regulator at your main water source, you can prevent a large plumbing pitfall.
WHY DO WE NEED PRESSURE REGULATORS
INCREASED WATER WASTE AND WATER BILLS
Water pressure that is too high when running through your pipes and fixtures could have a number of negative affects. Imagine that every time you washed your hands your faucet was pumping out twice the amount of water it currently does. All your safe water goes right down the drain. And almost as importantly, you are paying for it in water charges and sewer expenses. Twice as much water pressure can mean twice the water bill and twice the utility bill from heating all your family's water.
COSTLY REPAIRS AND REPLACEMENTS
Faucets, toilets and appliances are manufactured to be able to handle water at a certain pressure. The higher the pressure, the more damage can be caused to the faucets, cartridges and seals (which means you dole out money for a repair or replacement plus the increased water bill). High water pressure is also hard on water softeners and water heaters' life expectancy. These appliances can also be expensive to repair or replace.
CORRECTING HIGH PRESSURE
HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR HOME HAS A WATER PRESSURE ISSUE
HOW TO TEST YOUR WATER PRESSURE REGULATOR
Testing your water pressure regulator is a quick and easy check that all homeowners should familiarize themselves with to avoid the headache of having their main water shutoff for an extended period of time.
1. First you will need to purchase a water pressure gauge. These are often times found at your local hardware store in the sprinkler section. Or, you can order one online for around $10.00; similar to the one on the right.
2. Make sure all faucets and appliances that use water are off when you are testing your water pressure. You want your home's water pressure to be accurate when you are testing it.
4. Slowly turn on the water at the faucet until it is fully opened. You will see the needle on the gauge move up the dial to show you what your water pressure is on your hose bib.
Your reading should be between 50 and 80 PSI. If it is above or below that range, your water pressure regulator may be faulty or installed incorrectly. Double checking your reading never hurts either. Wait a few minutes and repeat the steps above to check the pressure.
HOW TO ADJUST YOUR PRESSURE REGULATOR VALVE
If you are a do-it-yourself kind of homeowner, you can attempt to adjust the water pressure regulator yourself. If you are unsure or uncomfortable, don't hesitate to contact a local plumbing professional to safely adjust the regulator for you.
1. Make sure your home's main water is turned off. We always warn homeowners to be extra careful when turning off water at your main source. Older valves that are difficult to turn can fail or break.
3. Once you have made the adjustments carefully turn on your home's water and test your water pressure again with the steps above.
If you have completed the steps above and still have issues with water pressure, we encourage you to find a trusted plumbing professional that can trouble-shoot and accurately solve your pressure problems.