Nobody likes to take a low-pressure shower, much like how nobody likes taking a high-pressure shower either. That’s why there is a device that balances out the pressure of the water coming through the city’s main water network, which is known as a water pressure regulator.
What is a Water Pressure Regulator?
A water pressure regulator (also known as a pressure-reducing valve) is a special plumbing valve that slows down in the amount of water pressure coming into houses through the main water supply line. It helps bring the pressure of the water to a safer level before it reaches any of the house’s plumbing fixtures.
Although it’s not actually essential for every plumbing installation, water pressure regulators are important only when the municipal water supply enters households at very high pressure or when the pressure is irregular.
How long do water pressure regulators last?
When we ask “how long does a water pressure regulator last”, it’s usually between 10 to 15 years. However, a simple malfunction would deplete the life of your regulator within 3 years. But if you were to timely maintain your regulator, you’ll see that it can last up to 20 years. Most water pressure regulator manufacturers suggest getting the valve swapped every 5 years while many plumbing contractors suggest changing the valve after every decade. Of course, since the device is regularly being opened and closed thousands of times, it will wear out after a period of time just like any other moving part in your house.
Issues Homeowners Face When A WPR Breaks Down
A water pressure regulator isn’t built to last forever and if you don’t replace it soon, it could lead to the following plumbing issues:
1. Plumbing Leaks
If the pressure within your water pipes increases, it will put immense strain on those pipes along with the fittings and the joints that are pieced together. High water pressure is really bad for the weak points in your pipes, and if nothing is done to correct this, then you’ll be facing a severe plumbing issue.
Many plumbing leaks are typically small, which makes them pretty hard to isolate and can wreak havoc on your household after some time. Bigger leaks, on the other hand, are even worse and can lead to large amounts of damage in a short amount of time.
2. Water Heater and Appliances Could Be Damaged
The appliances in a house that are able to switch the water either on or off, including the washing machine water heater, water filtration system, and dishwater, are affected if the pressure builds up too much. And if nothing is done then it could damage your appliances and more.
Some of the most common problems why appliances typically breakdown are due to high water pressure as well as hard water. Although it won’t happen right away, the high pressure in your water pipes could result in wear and tear eventually. That’s why it’s crucial to have your PRV fixed as soon as possible. If you don’t do this right away, you’ll have to account for overwhelming repair and replacement costs.
3. Leaky Water Faucets
This is a common problem in just about any household. Leaky faucets are typically a sign that your household water pressure is very high. If you don’t do anything to rectify this, it could lead to the gaskets along with other parts of the faucet to crack and wear out because of the escalating water pressure.
Of course, it is possible to fix the leaky faucet, but it’s going to lead to a lot of wasted water in the long run if you don’t act quickly and result in the faucet wearing out as well. Worst of all, the water will start splashing out at an incredibly faster rate, making it impossible to bathe or even wash your hands or face.
4. Banging or Thumping Water Pipes
If your water pipes start banging or thumping, you’ll notice that the pipes will vibrate causing them to move on their own and create a hammering type noise. This puts alarming stress on the pipes. In some cases, the hammering noise is light or barely noticeable, whereas other times, it’s louder and very hard to ignore. Whatever the case may be, you need to deal with this issue right away instead of leaving it for later.
Recommended Water Pressure Level
The recommended water pressure level for any household in America is 55 PSI (pounds per square inch). The California Plumbing Code says that the maximum water pressure level for any building is 80 PSI. And if this were to happen, most toilets, water heaters, and faucet manufacturers will void their warranties. What’s worse is that some warranty companies will void your warranty even if you have a home warranty if there’s the excessive water pressure in your house.
For proper adjustment of a water pressure regulator, visit this website – it walks you through adjusting the pressure step by step.
The moment you notice any type of water hammering or even experience any inconsistencies or variations in your house’s water pressure, you should take that as a sign that the water pressure regulator is not working as it should. Make it a habit to test the water pressure at least once a year or whenever you might have questions regarding the regulator valve’s effectiveness. If the device’s adjustment screw no longer allows you to change the water pressure, then you must replace the valve.
Just remember that if there is plenty of water pressure, it will cause a lot of strain in your house’s plumbing systems and could cause your faucets to drip, toilets to run, water hammering in walls, or could even cause your pipes to burst in extreme cases. For such reasons, you need to call in a plumber to have your water pressure regulator replaced as soon as possible.