First time getting acquainted with the water pressure regulator that has always been there in your home?
Knowing how to adjust a water pressure regulator is important, and we’ve simplified it for you.
Many people haven’t yet realized how intricate and complex their home plumbing system is until they hear a banging sound or even a screech and moan coming from their pipes.
If you’re one of these homeowners…
…it’s understandable that you may be feeling intimidated by all the pipework and worried about screwing up your plumbing system – a fear that you’ll mess everything up.
But then, it wouldn’t be practical to call a local plumber for something so simple.
Yes, I said simple!
It just takes a few observations and a few tweaks. Then, do it a few more times, and adjusting pressure regulators will be a piece of cake for you!
Read on to see how it’s done – plus a few more things you need to know.
Table of Contents
- 1 How Do Pressure Reducing Valves Work?
- 2 How To Adjust Your Pressure Reducing Valve
- 3 How to Monitor your Water Pressure
- 4 Why Do I Need To Adjust High Water Pressure?
- 5 Effects of High Water Pressure
- 6 When To Replace Your Pressure Reducing Valve
- 7 Conclusion: How to Adjust a Water Pressure Regulator
How Do Pressure Reducing Valves Work?
Sometimes called a water pressure regulator, a pressure reducing valve is a plumbing attachment valve that lowers the incoming water pressure to your home.
Before the water reaches any plumbing fixtures within the house, this valve lowers the pressure to a safe level so your pipes and faucets won’t burst and cause a flood inside your home.
You may not know it yet…
…but most water fixtures and appliances are designed to work at the maximum pressure of 60 to 80 psi. And to add to that, the municipal water supply usually releases water at a high temperature to cater to the demands of the city.
And that’s what pressure regulators are for. They control the pressure of water entering your home to the desired water pressure.
And you can tweak and adjust it, too, and that’s what we’re covering today.
How To Adjust Your Pressure Reducing Valve
Step 1 – Locate the Supply Line
To adjust your water pressure, you need to find the supply line. This is because generally, the pressure valve is located on the same pipe as the water meter.
In case you don’t have any idea…
…it’s usually in the utility room or under the kitchen sink. Some homes also have theirs in the basement but almost never in a crawl space as it could freeze there during winter.
Step 2 – Adjust the Screw
After finding the valve, you can now turn and adjust.
The screw itself is the adjustment screw. Before adjusting, you must loosen the lock nut first with your crescent wrench.
In most designs, turning it clockwise will increase the temperature of the water that’s coming out of the regulator, and turning it counter clockwise will decrease it.
Now, remember this…
…just like driving a car, it’s better to turn the valve slowly and carefully to avoid a sudden burst of pressure. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Step 3 – Check the Pressure
You’re not quite done yet. Before leaving the valve, you must check the pressure first and observe if it’s consistent.
First of all…
…make sure that no water fixture is running back inside your house. After that, attach a water pressure gauge to the tap. You can do so by using a short hose.
It should be between 40 to 80 psi.
80 psi is already high, but it’s still within the allowable pressure, being the maximum rate.
To make sure that it’s consistent…
…you can tap or shake the meter and see if the reading changes.
How to Monitor your Water Pressure
1. Record the Initial Reading
To test or monitor your home’s water pressure, you must know its initial water pressure first. This is done by using a water meter and water pressure gauge.
In testing your water pressure, you must keep in mind that the pressure reading shouldn’t be changing when the water is not being used or run at home.
Now, once a water fixture or faucet turns on and runs water, you should see a change in the pressure on the gauge. That change should restore the water pressure to its original calibrated reading.
Now, you can further observe overnight, around 6 to 8 hours. The water pressure should stay the same. This is best done at night as water isn’t usually used at this time period because most people at home are supposed to be already sleeping.
…you can attach a water pressure gauge that’s designed as an add-on to your pipe. You can connect most units to a sill cock, hose, or a clothes washer machine hookup at your home. The gauge can read the water pressure instantly and conveniently.
Just make sure that you’ve already taken and noted down the initial static reading.
If you already have a gauge installed at home, then you can just take a look at the reading and record them at intervals.
On the other hand…
…some homes come ready with a water pressure gauge that’s already installed, usually near the water pressure regulator.
But in case you’re wondering, you can get one from a hardware shop near you.
Take note: This sometimes depends on the gauge, but the reading may not always be accurate. To test it up, you can gently tap the gauge to see if the reading will change.
2. Record the Final Pressure Reading
After monitoring the water pressure for 6 to 8 hours without turning any water fixtures on overnight, you can then take the ending static water pressure reading.
If you notice that the ending water pressure is much lower than the initial reading, it most probably means that something is broken in your home plumbing system. It could be a leaky pipe or a broken faucet.
On the other hand, if the ending water pressure is higher than the initial water pressure reading, it might mean a few things.
It could be that your water pressure valve or regulator is broken, which resulted in a leak. If that’s the case, it’s best to double-check the regulator for any damage and replace it if needed.
Aside from that…
…another reason could be the water pressure coming from the municipal supply itself. It could be too high for your home, or it could also mean that at the time of your initial reading, the municipal water pressure is lower than the setpoint in your own water pressure regulator.
Why Do I Need To Adjust High Water Pressure?
1. To conserve water and save Money
The average family in America uses around 300 gallons of water and waste about 120 to 150 gallons per day.
And 70% of it is done at home.
Quite grim, especially if you’re the one paying your own bills, isn’t it?
That’s why monitoring and maintaining proper water pressure at home is a small but significant detail in conserving water, and eventually, your money.
After installing or learning how to adjust the high pressure, you might notice barely any difference in your expenses or lifestyle. But one small thing always snowballs into something bigger, and it’s good knowing you’re using less excess pressure and water every day.
2. To Avoid Flooding
This may not have crossed your mind yet, but your city or municipality may be making changes several times a year without you knowing.
This is not always the case, but it could also be the reason for the occasional changes in your home’s water pressure.
…your area switching to another water main may result in a much higher water pressure than your old one.
And if it’s linked to a flimsy hose like the rubber one in your washing machine or any other hoses you’ve picked up at your local home improvement or hardware store, chances are you’re about to face a blasted water hose.
What if it’s the bidet in the bedroom’s bathroom?
Well, good luck draining everything out of your room.
That’s why it’s important to always monitor and regulate high pressure in your home’s plumbing system. These scenarios may be hard to imagine, but trust me, I’ve already seen one or two unfold in front of me.
3. To Save Your Fixtures and Appliances
Great stress is put on your appliances and fixtures when your water comes with very high pressure.
Seals and tapes can only handle a moderate amount of pressure as they’re not built for industrial uses.
Aside from that, you also have your dishwashers, water heater, washing machine, and shower heads which also take the burden of a heavy water flow.
They’re all investments and were actually made to last long and even be used by your family’s next generation (a good brand is, at least), and using them under high pressure will surely shorten their lifespan.
That’s why if you still don’t have a water pressure regulator installed at home, it’s about time to get one.
And since most appliances include guidelines regarding high water pressure…
…damaging them may also cause your warranty to be voided.
Effects of High Water Pressure
1. Heater not Working
If your water heater isn’t heating your bath water as well as before, or you notice that the heat doesn’t last long, it could be due to high water pressure.
Your heater works in a way that in order to adjust for the water being used, there’s just a fixed rate with which it takes water. This is to maintain a nice, unchanging temperature until all the water in the tank is used.
…if your water pressure is too high, the tank will fill up quickly, and there will be more cold water than hot.
2. High Water Bill
The higher your water pressure is, the more volume of water is being spent every minute. And the fact that you’re actually not using all of it? Not only a waste of money but a waste of water, as well.
3. Noisy and Faulty Appliances
Water fixtures and appliances are only supported by gaskets and seals, and they can only take so much.
So if your water pressure is high, your appliances can be stressed and strained too. It will eventually lead to instant permanent damage or a slowly building one.
When To Replace Your Pressure Reducing Valve
Your pressure reducing valve can’t last forever. That goes especially true if you’re using water much heavier than regular homeowners.
In addition to that…
…water pressure regulators are supposed to be replaced every five to six, but it could be much later if you’re not using them too heavily. It depends on your usage.
But then, not all of us are knowledgeable about plumbing, right? And it’s always difficult to see the signs if you’re a light user.
So here are some signs you might want to keep your eyes on so you’d know if it’s time to replace your pressure reducing valve.
1. Leaks in Faucets
If you notice water leaking not only from the mouth of your faucet but its handles, too, then this might be a sign of high water pressure.
It could also come in the form of a dripping faucet, even though you’ve already locked or turned it tightly.
These things happen because a very heavy pressure pushes the water out at an alarming rate, causing cracks and other damages to your pipes, fixtures, and even your water pressure regulator.
So how would you know if it’s time for a replacement?
If these leaks happen and you know that your water pressure regulator is already old, this may just be high time for a replacement. I mean, you can adjust the regulator, sure. But if it’s already old, you’re risking turning it and then having it not work altogether at all.
2. Low Water Pressure
We’re talking about high-pressure today, but if you have unusually low or no pressure at all throughout your home, then the culprit might be a damaged water pressure regulator.
Now, you might not notice it immediately, especially if you’re just using one water fixture at a time.
But if your water pressure gets very low and light upon using two or more water fixtures all at the same time, this could be a sign of a broken water pressure regulator.
And that’s not all…
..a bad water pressure reducing valve can also be such a traitor and not give any signs. You’d just wake up one day with no pressure in your faucet at all.
On the flip side, it could also just be your hot and cold water regulator, so make sure to check them first to see if they’re the defective ones.
If they’re alright, you may want to check up on your water pressure regulator.
But if that’s not the case, and you’re experiencing a trickle namely in the shower…
… then up-level your experience with the best shower head for low water pressure and maximal purification.
3. Loud or Banging Noises or Water Hammer
Now, this is one hint that most people often just brush off. It’s the noises or vibrations you hear whenever you turn your water fixtures on or off.
It could come in the form of a very loud banging noise, a screech-like noise, or a hushed hammering.
And no, this isn’t ASMR!
It’s probably because of a failing pressure regulator and the previously relieved leftover pressure that might be building up again and putting stress and force on the pipes.
When the previously relieved additional pressure builds up again, it puts a strain on your pipes. This strain shakes the pipe, causing it to vibrate and produce the sound you’re hearing.
To check if it’s your pressure regulator…
…go to your water pressure valve and listen. If the noises are caused by a faulty regulator, then the sound should be loudest near it.
4. Damaged Fixtures and Appliances
Most fixtures and appliances’ maximum working pressure rating is 80 psi because it’s also the maximum recommended pressure for residential homes.
Anything more than that will most definitely damage your toilet, water heater/cooler, washing machine, dishwasher, and more.
This is because, just like faucets, other fixtures also have to be turned on and off to control water.
High water pressure, along with hard water, are the top reasons for water fixtures and appliances damage.
This is why a good working pressure regulator is important and should be maintained.
5. Muddy or Flooding Flower Bed
In most homes, the water pressure regulator is usually connected to the main line around the house’s perimeter. And most of the time, it’s just right next to the flower bed.
One of the most obvious signs of a failing pressure regulator is a burst valve. As a result, your flower bed might flood or at least get muddier than usual.
If you see this, check your pressure regulator for any damage.
…if your house is a new model, the valve may be located in other places besides the flower bed, so it could be the wall panels, garage, or other places that may be bathing with leaking water.
Conclusion: How to Adjust a Water Pressure Regulator
It’s the little thing that matters. A hushed sound coming from a broken pipe maybe something not worthwhile for now. But these little things are just building up to become one great watery mess one day.
That is why monitoring and maintaining proper water pressure and flow rate for your home is more important than most people realize.
…we only want high water pressure in the shower, right?
And speaking of which, if you want a regulated high water pressure from your shower head, you can also check out the guide that we made about all the best high-pressure shower heads on the market today.
We had a blast checking them all out!