Although not required for every plumbing project, a water pressure regulator can be useful in circumstances where the municipal water supply reaches the residence at high pressure or if water pressure is inconsistent. The regulator reduces the pressure of the water entering your house to a safe level. It does this by allowing some water to leak out of the system until the pressure drops below what's considered dangerous.
Without a regulator, the high pressure water could cause pipes to burst. A broken pipe during a rainstorm could lead to scalding water flowing into your house. A regulator also helps prevent pipes from being over-pressured which could lead to leaks elsewhere in the system.
Regulators are available for almost any size residential water system. They're usually easy to install because they usually attach directly to the cold water pipe leading from the street to the house. The regulator needs to be located near the meter since it functions by allowing some water to leak out of the system until the pressure drops below what's considered dangerous.
For example, if the regulator allows 1 foot of water per minute when the pressure is 100 pounds per square inch, then you should allow 1 foot of water between the registers when the pressure is 50 psi.
A water pressure regulator valve functions similarly to an outside hose faucet. Regulator valves, however, can acquire obstructions that limit flow beyond the specified quantity over time. These obstructions are frequently caused by the high mineral content of your municipal water supply. The particles tend to collect in the opening where they can reduce the amount of water that can pass through the device.
If you observe excessive foam when turning on your tap, this is evidence that something is blocking the outlet of your regulator valve. You should call a plumbing professional to remove any foreign objects that may be trapped in the mechanism.
Pressure regulators can become clogged if there is any buildup of minerals in the mechanism. This occurs even with well-maintained appliances if there is insufficient usage of a household filter. Regular replacement of these filters will help prevent potential problems with your pressure regulator.
If your pressure regulator is making a gurgling sound when it operates, this is evidence that something is preventing water from flowing through the device. You should call a plumbing professional to examine and possibly repair your appliance.
The primary screw on your regulator will contain an adjustable screw that may be turned clockwise to increase pressure. If you need to make a significant change to the water pressure in your house, it's typically a good idea to consult a plumber. Some homes with low water pressures may have restrictions inside their plumbing system that prevent them from producing anything close to their full potential output.
However, there are some things that you can do yourself to reduce pressure if you are feeling limited by it. First of all, make sure that you aren't having any leaks in your home or anywhere in your water system. This could be due to damage done over time by aging pipes or appliances, or because of mistakes made during construction. Any hole larger than 1/4 inch allows water into your house and reduces its efficiency as a water heater. Check your property for other possible leak sources such as near foundations or behind toilets.
If you find evidence of a leak, have it repaired by a professional immediately. A little water lost through leakage doesn't matter much, but large amounts of water wasted due to leaks can lead to expensive repairs or even cause structural damage.
Secondly, avoid using your lawnmower or other tools that use gasoline or electricity as they consume water which lowers the pressure. Also, avoid washing cars at the pump by using another source of water for them.
To use tank water throughout your home, you'll need a water tank pump (also known as a pressure pump). The pump forces water from your tank, supplying pressurized water to the numerous taps throughout your home. Without this pump, the tanks would be empty after a few days due to evaporation and the loss of pressure.
There are two types of water tank pumps: submersible and surface-mounted. Submersible pumps are ideal for use with new water tanks, while surface-mount pumps are used with older tanks that do not have the space for a submerged pump. Both types of pump can be electric or gas powered. Electric pumps are quieter and cheaper over time than their gas-powered counterparts, but they cannot run in the presence of electricity - so they must be turned off when not in use.
Surface-mount pumps are easy to install and remove, but they must be connected to an outlet for power. This means that you will need to locate an appropriate place for the tank tap outside of the house. You may want to consider adding a second tap for inside toilets to save water!
Submersible pumps are enclosed in a housing that allows them to function even if shut off from the electrical source. This makes them perfect for remote locations such as campsites or rental properties where electricity may not be available all the time.
Without a pressure regulator, the pressure would be high enough to create major issues with pipes and appliances. Any pressure more than 80 psi (pounds per square inch) can cause damage to equipment such as water heaters, toilets, faucets, and dishwashers. Also, any pressure higher than what is safe for human consumption will result in illness due to bacteria created from the low water pressure.
A regulator reduces the incoming water pressure so that it's consistent no matter how many people are using the water. The regulator may also reduce the temperature of the water slightly. For example, if a regulator reduces water pressure from 120 to 110 psi, the regulator will feel the need to reduce it further to about 100-105 psi to maintain a constant pressure.
Regulators are available as electric, magnetic, or spring-loaded devices. Electric regulators use a solenoid valve controlled by an electrical signal. Magnetic regulators use two pairs of magnets and metal valves. Spring-loaded regulators use the force of a spring to regulate water flow. Some regulators are designed to fit into the hole of an existing faucet handle. These are called "handle-mounted" regulators. Others are attached to the end of a wand or hose protruding from the house. These are called "outdoor" regulators.
Handle-mounted and outdoor regulators are easy to use.