With today's modern water delivery systems, pressure regulator valves are a necessity. In fact, most municipalities require them. The pressure on a water system is directly proportionate to the number of houses serviced. In order to maintain adequate pressure throughout the entire system, a massive amount of pressure is needed.
Without some sort of regulator, the pressure would be such as to cause serious problems to plumbing and appliances. Any pressure exceeding 80 psi – pounds per square inch – can damage such appliances as water heaters, commodes, faucets, dishwashers. A high enough pressure can even cause water pipes to burst.
A water pressure regulator is typically installed by a plumbing contractor and is ideally set from 45 to 60 psi. Regulators are adjustable to accommodate the needs to different homes. This procedure is fairly simple and the average homeowner can usually accomplish this himself.
Over time – usually five to 10 years – even the highest quality water regulator will need replacing. Depending on the level of comfort with do-it-yourself projects, a homeowner can often perform this task themselves. If the water pressure has remained overly high for too long, however, it may be wise to contact a plumbing contractor to address the problems this situation has caused.
Some of the first signs of a failing pressure regulator are likely a leaking water heater or commode. The water coming from a faucet may also exit with such force that splashing or water "hammering" may occur. Water hammering takes place when the force of the water is too strong, causing the pipes to make a banging or hammering noise.
Frequent repair of leaking faucets is also a sign of water pressure that is above the suggested level. In many cases, adjusting the regulator itself will correct the problem. If this is unsuccessful, it is probably time for a new regulator.
A periodic test of the incoming water pressure is easily performed by attaching an inexpensive gauge to any faucet that has threads. By making this a part of routine maintenance, you can greatly extend the life of the water–related devices in your home.
You can often save money by hiring a plumbing contractor to perform the procedures that you are not comfortable doing yourself. The trail-and-error method of water system repair will rapidly drain your wallet and your patience. There is no shame in calling a professional when you need to do the project right the first time.