Reducing the amount of pressure in your life is a good thing whether it’s the pressures of work, the pressures of parenting, the pressures of relationships, or the pressures of being a homeowner.
While we have no advice to offer you on reducing the pressure of your boss giving you an unrealistic deadline, your toddler screaming at you for not letting them climb on the kitchen counter, or your partner trying to talk you into visiting their parents for the weekend, we do know how to alleviate some of the pressures of being a homeowner, and it starts with reducing the pressure in your home’s water system.
Reducing water pressure in your home is so vital to the longevity of your plumbing system, that every home comes equip with a device called a Pressure Reducing Valve. Knowing the purpose, location, and when your home’s Pressure Reducing Valve needs repair, is a fantastic way to keep your plumbing in great shape and therefore removing one more pressure in your life.
Today we are going over the basics of Pressure Reducing Valves, how they can save you money, they symptoms to watch out for if they need repair, and how to fix them.
What is a Pressure Reducing Valve and what is its purpose?
In simple terms, a Pressure Reducing Valve is a fixture that is installed on the main water line of your house. Its purpose is to decrease the pressure of water that is going through the pipes in your home, making anything you use in your home that is water-related, operate effectively and efficiently.
Why is a Pressure Reducing Valve important?
Making sure your Pressure Reducing Valve is working effectively, will save you money. If the water pressure going into your home is too high, it can place stress on your pipes and plumbing fittings causing damage, leaks, and ultimately a burst pipe that will need to be replaced.
A properly working Pressure Reducing Valve also saves you money by reducing the amount of water coming into your home, which reduces your water bill. Additionally, when water is coming in at a lower pressure, less energy will need to be used to heat the water. So, not only does a Pressure Reducing Valve keep your water bill low, but maintaining your Pressure Reducing Valve can also help you save on your energy bill.
Where is a Pressure Reducing Valve located?
Finding your home’s specific Pressure Reducing Valve can sometimes be like playing hide-and-seek! Every house’s plumbing is different; therefore, every Pressure Reducing Valve will be in a different location. Here are some tips for finding your home’s Pressure Reducing Valve.
Tip 1: Know what you are looking for. A Pressure Reducing Valve has a general bell shape to it and is attached to a main water pipe.
Tip 2: Know where you are looking. Your Pressure Reducing Valve will be next to the main shut-off valve.
Tip 3: Figure out what a main shut-off valve is. The main shut off valve is attached to the main piping system that goes into your house and is often located outside unless you live in colder climates. In this case, you should start by looking for the main shut-off valve in the basement or garage.
Tip 4: Check out the water meter. If your water meter is nearby, the Pressure Reducing Valve will be downstream from it.
And if you still cannot find the Pressure Reducing Valve…..
Tip 5: Search for something outside of your home that looks like a small manhole cover. Open the cover and look inside…(unless you are afraid of bugs, then just call Heiland Home Services)
And if you still cannot find the Pressure Reducing Valve…
Tip 6: Look at the home inspection report you were given when you bought your home. This will show the location of the shut-off valve, and as mentioned earlier, once you find the shut-off valve, you will find your Pressure Reducing Valve.
And after this game of hide-and-seek if you still can’t find the Pressure Reducing Valve…
Tip 7: Call Heiland Home Services to find it for you!
How do I know if my pressure valve is failing?
Before going to all the hassle of playing-hide-and-seek with your home’s Pressure Reducing Valve, first you should demine if you even need to find and adjust it. Here are some things you might notice if the Pressure Reducing Valve is broken, or not adjusted properly.
Low, high, or fluctuating water pressure
If you start to notice that it’s taking longer to rinse the shampoo out of your hair because the water isn’t coming out of your shower head fast enough, your Pressure Reducing Valve might be to blame. You might also notice the opposite is true, and that the water is coming out of your shower head so vigorously that it hurts your skin. Or you could notice that when the kitchen sink is on, the water pressure in the shower is inconsistent. Most people notice fluctuation issues with their plumbing when having houseguests over for the holidays (yet another reason to make your in-laws stay in a hotel!).
No water pressure
It is more common for Pressure Reducing Valve issues to happen slowly, but there are some instances where there is suddenly no water pressure throughout the house. If this happens in your home, it is important to check both the cold and the hot water flow. If just the hot water is lacking pressure, there could be an issue with the water heater and not the Pressure Reducing Valve.
Hammering or vibrating
If your Pressure Reducing Valve needs repair, you might hear some repetitive knocking or humming noises. These noises can seem to come from the walls when you are using different water fixtures. Keep in mind that noises don’t always mean valve issues and can be a symptom of a larger issue. To determine if the noises you hear are related to bad water pressure, locate your Pressure Reducing Valve, and listen to see if the noises are louder when you are next to the valve.
Leaking from any of your pipes can mean a faulty Pressure Reducing Valve. As we mentioned earlier, too much pressure can cause pipes to crack and rupture over time. Not all leaks are obvious though, some homeowners notice something as simple as muddy or flooded areas in their landscaping even though they have not increased the minutes on the sprinkler timer.
If it seems like there is always an issue with your water appliances, toilets, or faucets, this could be due to a malfunctioning Pressure Reducing Valve that is failing to lower the water pressure in your home. If your pressure is consistently too high, your appliances, pipes and fixtures will suffer because of it.
How do I adjust my pressure reducing valve?
Now that you know how to locate your Pressure Reducing Valve and how to tell if it isn’t working properly, what should you do?
Step #1: Test your pressure. Before adjusting your Pressure Reducing Valve, first you need to get an exact reading on the pressure. Just because you noticed some symptoms of a Pressure Reducing Valve issue, that doesn’t mean that there is one, so you will need to test the pressure with a gauge to be sure.
Step #2: Identify howthe Pressure Reducing Valve needs to be adjusted. Most valves can be adjusted by a screw, knob, or nut that is attached to the pressure reducing valve so you can use common tools to make the adjustments yourself.
Step #3: Adjust the screw, knob or nut. Rotate the screw, knob or nut in a clockwise direction to increase the water pressure or turn them counterclockwise to lower the pressure.
Step #4 Keep an eye on your gauge. As you make your adjustment, watch your pressure gauge closely. Your gauge should read somewhere between 30-80 psi. Adjust slowly, (about a quarter turn each time) then stop to check the psi on the gauge.
Step #5: Try out the water pressure in your house. Return to your home and try some of the facets or appliances that were giving you issues to see if they are now resolved.
Heiland Home Services is here for you if you are still having trouble with the water pressure in your home. Our job is to reduce the pressures of being a homeowner and we can start by fixing your Pressure Reducing Valve.