Pressure Reducing Valve Q & A

Did you know that only three percent of the world’s water is fresh, and of that, less than 0.3 percent of it is available to humans?  Because of this, we must find ways to reduce our water consumption.  One approach is the installation of Pressure Reducing Valves or PRVs.

Pressure reducing valves are simple products that have a pay-back period of about 12 months.  They can save approximately 36,000 gallons of water per year in the average home alone.  Imagine if these savings were applied to 1,000,000 typical homes throughout the country, the impact would be tremendous!  The use of PRVs is not only in the interest of conservationists, but provides a significant benefit to the Management Company and homeowner.

What is a Pressure Reducing Valve?

They are compact devices that perform two functions:

a) Automatically reduce the high incoming water pressure from the city mains to provide a lower, more functional pressure in the home;

b) They maintain a set pressure in the home, thereby insuring that the home piping and appliances operate under a safe, more moderate, but satisfactory pressure.

What is wrong with high water pressure?

The speed of water that flows from the opened outlet depends on the amount of pressure which exists at that time in the system.  High water pressure has some advantages, such as in firefighting systems; However, in the home plumbing system, it can be damaging because water with a lot of pressure can wear away many materials and cause water heaters to leak, banging water pipes, dripping faucets, excessive dishwasher noise and breakdown, and leaking water pipes.  Therefore, water flowing at a rate in excess of that necessary to satisfy normal fixture or appliance demands becomes damaging, wasteful and reduces the life expectancy of equipment in the system.  Most importantly, high water pressure can add to the cost of water, energy and waste bills.

Does high water pressure cause “water hammer”?

Yes!  Water hammer is the noise created by the shocks of high-speed water flowing in a pipe when a fixture is suddenly closed.  This abrupt stoppage causes a “bounceback” of the water, which causes banging pipes, noisy systems and damage to appliances.  It might be compared to driving your car at slow speed into a wall where the effect is negligible.  However, if you drove the car at a much higher speed, the impact would be greater and, consequently, so would the bounceback or shock.  This principle is also applicable to water in the home.  By reducing the pressure in your home, the water will flow at a slower speed and, as a result, the shock when the water is turned off at the fixture is minor.

Where are Water Pressure Regulators most commonly used?

Water pressure regulators are commonly installed at the meter in residential, commercial and industrial buildings.  This location is desirable because it then controls the water pressure flowing to all appliances and outlets within the building and provides an inexpensive means of supplying lower, more functional water pressure.

How much does a typical family of four use?

A lot of water is wasted because so many people don’t think about where it comes from or where it goes after they use it.  Developed countries have high consumption rates of water per person, ranging from 100 to 176 gallons per day.  In developing countries where there is not much water, as little as two gallons may be used per person per day.  In a typical family of four, around 148,000 gallons may be used per year.

How do regulators save on maintenance?

We previously described the effects of high water pressure on piping and appliances.  By having these appliances work under a lower pressure, their life expectancy will be much longer.  Use of lower pressure will also cut down on service calls cause by problems with dishwashers and clothes washers, leaky water heaters, leaking water pipes and the potential water damage which could result.  Take note:  many manufacturers will often void warranty on products that are exposed to higher than their recommended pressure.

Should you consider using other water and energy conservation devices?

Yes!  The water pressure regulator is the hub of a conservation program; but you should also consider other flow control devices such as low-flush toilets, improved water heating equipment and better disciplined usage habits.  However, if none of those devices were installed, the water pressure regulator would still serve to contribute important and significant savings in energy and water.

How do I know if I have high water pressure?

A rule of thumb is: if you hear banging pipes in your home or observe water splashing in your sink, you probably have excessive pressure.  However, for a precise reading, call Vamvoras to schedule a pressure test.

How can I get a water pressure regulator installed?

The easiest way would be to contact Vamvoras.  We can advise you of the various types of regulators available and the one which would be best suited for your needs.

Article courtesy of Daniel Dillenbeck, All Valve Industries 

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