Residential Water Pressure Regulating Valves | 12/01/09 Residential Water Pressure Regulating Valves
Water-related damage causes millions of dollars of losses each year in the United States.

Insurance companies report that water-related losses totaled $1.7 billion between 1997 and 2001. Based on survey data, the average cost of a water damage claim in 2001 was $4,730, up from $2,537 in 1997, nearly doubling in four years.

Homeowner’s insurance generally covers household water damage if the damage is sudden and accidental, such as damage caused by frozen pipes or high pressure. It does not cover damage of the sort covered by flood insurance, i.e., rising water from outside; or damage caused over time by lack of maintenance.

A water damage claim can be a red flag to insurers as well as to future home buyers, signaling a likelihood of repeat water claims. It is better to maintain a home for water issues than face the risks of increased insurance costs and reduced home marketability.

The Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) calls for water to be delivered to homes for domestic use at between 50 to 70 psi. Angle stops (valves) and supply lines as well as appliances are generally designed to withstand working static water pressure of up to 75 pounds per square inch.

Water pressure regulators are an essential component of every building on the public water supply. Pressure regulators are mounted inline on the incoming water supply and can be exposed or buried, depending on local ordinances and prevailing plumbing codes.

Water pressure regulators control both the water pressure and the flow rate of the incoming water supply. Water pressure regulators regulate pressure to between 50 and 70 psi. The components in the water pressure regulator that reduce the water pressure are made of rubber and metal. Over a period of time, they will fail. A damaged or worn out pressure regulator can result in destructively high water pressure in the building. This increased water pressure can damage valves, hoses, faucets, fixtures, washing machines, dishwashers, ice makers, water filters, water softeners, water conditioners and other water-using appliances.

The most common symptoms of a malfunctioning regulator are:

-High/low water pressure
-High/low water flow
-Surging/fluctuating water pressure or flow
-Leaking toilet fill valves
-Leaking hot water temperature and pressure (T&P)relief valve
-Broken pipe/s
-leaking faucet/s
-Banging pipe/s
-Vibrating pipe/s
-Leaking water filter
-Leaking water softener or conditioner

Recommended water pressure in a home is 55 psi static. Most faucet, toilet, water softener, and water heater manufacturers void their warranties when water pressure exceeds 80 PSI,...and if you have a home warranty, some warranty companies will completely void your coverage if your home has excessive pressure.

The life expectancy of a water pressure regulator is advertised to be in the range of 10 to 15 years. However, most manufacturers and plumbing professionals recommend replacing the valve every 5 years.

A pressure test gauge can inform the homeowner if water pressure is excessive. Simply connect the gauge to an outdoor faucet, and turn on the water to determine the water pressure. Make sure the faucet used is "regulated". Many outdoor faucets are unregulated. If the pipe connected to the faucet comes out of the wall, there is a fairly good chance that faucet is regulated. After confirming outdoor pressure, test indoor pressure at a washer box, or with a water softener test adapter kit.

Generally speaking, replacing the water pressure regulator including parts and labor, will cost less than a homeowner’s standard $1,000 deductible. A working water pressure regulator reduces the strain on plumbing fixtures, faucets, appliances and water treatment devices, subsequently increasing their service life.

Lic. # M1527    Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners PO Box 4200 Austin, TX 78765