The Pressure Regulator Valve (PRV)

The Pressure Regulator Valve (PRV)

The Basic Home Maintenance Series

5 Signs Indicating It’s Time To Replace Your Pressure Regulator Valve

Have you ever noticed that when you turn on your water faucet, the water tends to come out at a consistent pressure level; Thank the Pressure Regulator Valve or PRV for short! The water pressure in most municipalities water systems is usually far too high for homes to effectively use and is also prone to fluctuations as homes increase and decrease their water usage needs. A PRV reduces the high pressure and evens out the ebbs and flows so the water entering your home is both at a manageable and even pressure level.

But as with any part of your home, your PRV will wear out and fail.  A broken or worn PRV can cause some serious issues in your home. Here are some of the things that can happen if you don’t replace a pressure regulating valve when it breaks down.

Here are five symptoms that could indicate that your pressure reducing valve is going bad.

1. Diminishing water pressure.

If your water pressure doesn’t seem to be as strong as it once was, or you notice a significant loss of pressure when you use more than one fixture at the same time. Your pressure reducing valve (PRV) may be bad.

2. No water pressure.

If you have no water pressure throughout the house on both the hot and cold, your PRV may be bad. If there is good pressure on the cold and not the hot it may be an issue with the water heater or the fixture itself.

3. Thumping, Banging, Hammering or vibrating noises in your walls.

These noises can be caused by multiple things such as a PRV, expansion tank, quick closing solenoid valves on new appliances, faulty valves with loose washers, toilets fill valves, improperly strapped pipes, etcetera.

Sometimes it can be a combination of these contributing factors. Things to look for that will indicate the PRV is failing. The hammering noise is originating from the PRV, or the noise occurs when you operate different fixtures in the home.

When you turn the water off, do you notice a sudden loud thumping or banging from inside your walls? This is the previously-alleviated extra pressure suddenly building up and putting stress on your pipes again. This creates a vibration in the pipe, which can cause the pipe to move and creates the hammering noise. Sometimes the hammer is soft and barely noticeable, while in other instances it’s significantly louder and difficult to ignore. In either case, this signals a potentially serious problem may not be far off.

4. Plumbing Leaks; A leak in your landscaping, crawlspace, or basement could be a leaking PRV.

Most PRV’s are located in these areas. However, they can also be located them under stairs, in garages, pantries, and laundry rooms.

When the pressure in your pipes is too high, it puts a lot of strain on the pipes themselves as well as all of the joints and fittings where they are pieced together. All this extra pressure is particularly bad on the weak points in your plumbing, and yes, every home has weak points.

  • When the pressure becomes too much, the weak point gives out and suddenly you’re facing a plumbing leak.

Most plumbing leaks are small, which makes them difficult to detect.  Small leaks are capable of wreaking some havoc on your home, causing damage slowly. Wood rot, insect infestation, mold, mildew, discolored drywall, and other maladies are the result of slow water infiltration.  Conversely, big plumbing leaks can deal with an unbelievable amount of damage in a short period of time, basically flooding your home.

5. High water pressure Water Leaking From Faucet, Toilet Running Constantly

If your faucets, toilets, or appliances need frequent repair. This could be a symptom of high water pressure. Most fixtures are rated for a maximum working pressure of eighty pounds. To fix this could take a simple adjustment or possible replacement of the PRV depending on the age and condition of the valve.

Is water leaking from the handles on your faucet, even when the faucet is turned off?  Toilet running non stop?

  • This is a sign that the gaskets and other parts of your fixtures have started to wear out and crack under the stress caused by high water pressure.

Plumbing fixtures have a water pressure rating, usually below 60 PSI.  When the pressure is high, it can cause failures. It is possible to fix this, but it’s going to result in a lot of wasted water and over time the fixtures are going to fail again. Not to mention when you turn on the water the water will simply spew out at an alarming rate rather than at a much easier and more controllable flow.

High Water Pressure Damaging Your Water Heater & Appliances

Your home’s appliances are all similar to faucets in that they need to be able to turn the water on and off. So when the pressure builds up too high, this could present all sorts of problems for your water heater, washing machine, reverse osmosis or another type of water filtration system, dishwasher, and so much more.

  • In fact, high water pressure and hard water are two of the most common reasons why a water-connected appliance experiences a breakdown.

While it may not happen immediately, high water pressure can quickly contribute to wear and tear, so it’s important to get your PRV fixed quickly if you want to avoid having to pay for even more costly repairs or appliance replacement.

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