Your pressure regulating valve (PRV) is a device on the main water supply that regulates your water pressure. The ideal water pressure is somewhere between 55 and 75 PSI.
If it’s too high, you get a blast of painful water that doesn’t feel very good in the shower, and you put a lot of wear and tear on your pipes. If it’s insanely high, your pipes break. And if it’s too low, then your water comes out in a bare, slow trickle that’s neither helpful nor satisfying.
If your normal water pressure is over 75 psi then building codes require you to have a PRV.
Check your PRV…for free!
Not sure if your home requires a PRV? You don’t have to make guesses. There are quite a few ways to tell if your water pressure is too high.
Recurring leaks in your water fixtures.
Toilets that run (even when you jiggle the handle).
Banging noises in your pipes.
If you’re still not sure, On The Way is happy to come out and test your water pressure for you. If it’s too high, we’ll be able to install a PRV for you.
Installation of a high-quality pressure regulating valve is not terribly expensive. You’ll get the peace of mind that comes with knowing your home is up to code. Your showers will probably be a lot less painful, too!
A PRV will typically last for 10 to 15 years.
Understanding Water Pressure
To understand why a pressure regulating valve is so valuable you first need to understand how water pressure works.
If you are getting municipal water (and most people in Tucson do) then you should know the utility is using pumps to boost the water pressure in supply mains. This allows tall buildings to get water on even the highest floors. It also gives fire fighters the boost they need to douse fires with high pressure hoses.
Water pressure usually drops when the water demand in your neighborhood is particularly high, and lowers again when few people are using it. This can lead to an inconsistent water pressure experience.
Excess PSI is a big problem for most homeowners because it puts excessive wear and tear on pipes and fixtures. This can mean you suffer more leaks and more breaks. Thus, a pressure regulating valve installation is a fantastic idea if you don’t want to spend a lot of time with us here at OTW.
High water pressure also tends to lead to incredibly high water bills, and nobody wants that! Increasing the pressure literally increases the flow and speed of the water…and a great deal of that extra water simply goes down the drain. Why would you pay more for water you’re not using?
High water pressure also increases your heating bills, as you’re forcing your hot water heater to keep up with a great deal more water at one sitting than it normally would have to worry about.
Finally, high water pressure is rough on your appliances. If you don’t want to constantly replace shower heads, hot water heaters, washing machines, dishwashers and other appliances that use water then you’ll want to install a new PRV at the first sign that your pressure is too high.
PRVs regulate this pressure throughout the day, maintaining an optimal water pressure level. This keeps your pipes in good condition and reduces the likelihood of leaks.
PRV is not DIY
While you can find information online about PRV repair this is not a good project to tackle on your own. Plumbers take seminars to make sure we know enough about these little valves to get the job done right every time. They’re complex little systems.
Given the amount of damage a failed PRV can do it’s vital for you to avoid PRV “kits” and other shortcuts. Yes, you’ll pay a little more on the front end. But you’ll save thousands of dollars on the back end by employing our expertise. There’s also the matter of choosing a PRV that’s big enough for your water system. It is not a one-size-fits-all purchase by any stretch of the imagination.
Furthermore, this valve is often located on your water heater, which is an incredibly dangerous piece of equipment for a lay person to fool with. Hot water heaters can literally explode when they are mishandled. Don’t put your life in your hands just to save a little money.
Remember, part of our quote includes the price of the valve, which you’re going to have to pay either way. It doesn’t cost much more to protect your family and be safe by letting us do the work we’ve been trained to do.
Like most major home systems, your PRV needs to receive regular maintenance to ensure they continue to function as they should. In general, this means they need to be tested every 12 months to ensure they’re working as they should.
If you haven’t had your PRV tested in some time, give us a call. We might be able to catch small problems before they become big problems, offering a repair which will cost far less than the damage a broken PRV might do to your home.
Regular testing is especially vital here in Tucson, since your PRV is going to be exposed to debris thanks to local hard water conditions.
Broken PRV? We’re here to help.
PRVs break like anything else, even when they’re well maintained. When that happens, you’ll notice a sudden shift in your water pressure. While a broken PRV is not necessarily an emergency, this is a problem which requires your immediate attention. Don’t let high water pressure trash your plumbing system and appliances! Call the PRV experts who can get your water pressure back where it’s supposed to be.
Call (520) 829-9842 to schedule your PRV repair or replacement appointment. On The Way Plumbing is ready to help!
“On The Way Plumbing has done several different jobs for me. My water heater broke down on a Sunday, Sergio from on the way plumbing came out and gave me a very competitive quote, I referenced it with my neighbor who had theirs replaced a while back. It was not only more affordable but came with a better warranty. I was most impressed with their cleanliness and good customer service. I will recommend them to my friends and family.”
“We used this plumber for our home inspection when purchasing our home. We also used the realtors recommended plumber. On The Way Plumbing services were much more thorough than the other plumbers inspection. Sergio took the time to explain everything and give us quotes for work that needed to be done. He responded quickly and efficiently to each question we had. Sergio was on time too!!!! We have never gotten that from other plumbers. We will definately use this plumber for all of our future plumbing needs.”