Pressure Reducer Valve

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by James55, Oct 20, 2004.

  1. James55

    James55 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    The water pressure in my house is kind of low. When I moved in 18 years ago, it was too high, and I had a pressure reducer valve installed. I'm thinking that I might need to adjust the valve to increase my water pressure. How do I do that? I'm also thinking that there may be other reasons why my water pressure is low, but don't know what they would be. What should I check? Both the hot and cold water pressure are low. Does anyone have any suggestions at all??

    - James

    PS - I have copper pipes
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,139
    Location:
    New England
    The pressure reducing valve can be adjusted, but you should probably check a few things first. has there been a bunch of new homes put up since you moved in? If so, you may have had high pressure once, but no longer do. You could have a clog in the valve or the water meter or supply pipe (I assume that you don't have a well, as you wouldn't need a reduction valve if you did). You can buy a pressure gauge and put it on a faucet designed for a hose. That would give you an idea of what you really have. If you have a friendly neighbor, you could attach it to their house and see if their pressure is much different than yours. Is this an old house (you might have said, I forgot)? If so, then it may have a galvanized supply line, even if your interior piping is (now?) copper. Has there been any construction around you around the time you noticed the pressure dropped? Normally, the pipes are burried deep enough where construction equipment don't hurt them (unless they are digging!), but it could happen. I don't know what happens if a pressure reduction valve fails. It might restrict flow. Do you have a whole-house filter system, or a water softener? either of these could cause restrictions. Maybe the most obvious question, has someone recently turned the main water supply valve off? Maybe they didn't turn it all the way on!

    Some pros will probably have some other, maybe more obvious things for you to check.
  3. James55

    James55 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Thanks for the reply. The house is 18 years old, I bought it new. Since we first moved in and put in the pressure reducing valve, more houses have been built, which would account for some of the drop in pressure. Also, I did put in two new tubs (soldering is a pain). I turned the water off at the meter to do so. I will go and check to see whether I turned it all the way back on. That would be great if that's the problem. If that isn't it, I will get a water pressure guage and test the water faucet in the front yard near the water feed line to see what my pressure is. I'll let you know what I find out.
    - James
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,139
    Location:
    New England
    Sometimes the washer on the shutoff valve starts to shred if it is really old when you use it. This could clog up things a little. You may need a new washer in the valve. now, thatcan be a pain to replace, since you need to have the water turned off before it. sometimes there is a shutoff out near the street. If that is the case, you may need to call the water company for help with shutting it off while you replace the washer in the house shutoff. Hopefully, that valve is just not fully turned on...
  5. Deb

    Deb Plumber

    Messages:
    200
    Location:
    Idaho
    Deb

    Pressure reducers are required by code to be proceeded by a strainer. Some pressure reducers have strainer screens as an integral part of the pressure reducer. I have seen them so clogged with debris that it shut the flow of water completely.
    Deb
    The Pipewench
  6. James55

    James55 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Hi,

    OK, I shut off the water at the meter in the street. I opened up my Pressure Reducer Valve and cleaned the screen. It wasn't very dirty. Next, I purchased a pressure gauge and put it on the outside faucet to check my water pressure. It was a little low, so I turned the screw on my pressure reducer valve until it reads 50 psi. I gather that this is about the right pressure??

    Now I seem to be getting pretty good presure out of the kitchen faucet. Still, when I go into my two bathrooms, my pressure is kind of low. Not REALLY BAD, but just a little lower than I would like it to be.

    I just replaced the faucets and tubs a month ago. Prior to that, the water pressure was low. I started to get paranoid that maybe I had made some mistake in plumbing. But no, it was low before. I was even starting to think that maybe the new fixtures are somehow "low flow".

    I'm not really sure what to do next. I think I will have to break down and call a plumber to troubleshoot my system. Anyone know any good plumbers that will come out to Federal Way??

    Thanks for you help you guys!

    - James
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,139
    Location:
    New England
    The only new fixture you can usually buy that is not flow restricted is the tub filler. Almost all new showerheads and faucets are now flow restricted. So, you might not have a problem. When you do some plumbing, it is not unheard of to have some junk in the pipe depending on how it was stored, manufacturered, treated in transit, etc. So, the new pipe may have had a bunch of crud in it. Check the screens in the the faucets, too - along with the showerhead.
  8. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    PRV go bad . 18 years is a good long life. The diaphragm, cartridge, springs, or jusrt plain dirt may all be the problem.

    You said you checked the pressure. Did you check it static, or with a faucet open some where? A bad PRV may have good static pressure, but not be able to provide continuous dynamic pressure. There are rebuild kits, or just change the whole thing.
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