How to Reduce Water Pressure In A Home
Randy M. has over 15 years of experience in the water treatment business, including the installation of water treatment systems and chemical treatment methods for industrial process water. His expertise includes both commercial and residential installations.
Water pressure is normally not a problem in homes, but it can be a serious and costly issue in some cases. Your municipality may provide excessive pressures in areas close to pumps or water storage sites, well pumps may supply too much pressure, or there can be accumulated calcium deposits in your pipes, causing increased pressure because of decreased flow.
Sustained pressures of 80 psi or more can lead to damage of fixtures like toilet valves, water softeners and dishwashers. There is also extra stress on faucet washers. As a result, you can be wasting money because of repairs and excessive water use.
Finding out your home's water pressure is recommended for all home owners. It is a wise move to help conserve resources. Everyone should know if their home's water pressure is within the recommended range, which is 40-70 psi.
If you think you have excessive water pressure, then it is important to test and find out if your line pressure fits within the acceptable range. Then, you can work out a plan to correct the problem. The steps for testing and correcting this problem are given below. Please note that these steps assume that you do not have calcium mineral deposits in your plumbing system, a problem that may require replacement of pipes. You can find out if that is a problem by inspecting the insides of removed pipes.
Testing Your Water Pressure
- Buy an inexpensive water pressure gauge that can measure pressures from 200 to 250 psi.
- Buy a female adapter that fits on the male screw threads of the pressure gauge so that you can screw it onto a hose bib connector.
- Attach all fittings. Use Teflon tape around the male threads.
- Make sure that all water valves are turned off in the house. (If you have any significant leaks, repair them first before you start this process.)
- Connect the pressure gauge to one of your hose bibs. If you already have a PRV, test on a hose bib on the regulated side of the water system.
- Make sure there are no leaks. If there are, check that you have a good rubber washer in the hose bib fitting and that all of the other fittings are well-tightened.
- Open up one other faucet (in your kitchen or bathroom) so it is barely flowing with water.
- Read the pressure shown on the gauge. That is your water service line pressure.
- Shut off the faucet valve and remove the gauge.
Adjusting A Pressure Reducing Valve
The following video shows the steps for checking the pressure and how to adjust an existing pressure reducing valve (PRV). For those homes that don't have a valve, continue reading below for how to do an installation on a threaded pipe system.
The PRV Regulates High Water Pressure
If you already have a pressure regulator, adjust it as shown above. If adjustments don't change the pressure in the system, you have a faulty valve which needs to be replaced.
If you don't already have a PRV, one should be installed to correct high pressure problems. Water pressure regulators for single home use are usually for 3/4-inch lines and cost around $100. The units are made of brass and they fit onto the piping via metal fittings. Most large hardware stores stock these for residential use.
The PRV is installed where the pipe enters the house and before any of your water appliances - like hot water heaters and water softeners. Instructions on how to put in one for a threaded pipe system are given below.
Tools and Items Needed to Install A Threaded Pressure Reducing Valve
If you have soldered copper pipes, and don't have any experience in soldering pipes, it may be best to hire a plumber to install the pressure reducing valve. Local regulations may require professional to do the job as well. So, these instructions do not include how to do a soldering installation.
If you have threaded pipes, installation requires some forethought as to what fittings you will need and pipe sizings. First, you will need to assess your location and figure out where to install the PRV in your water line. You will purchase the following items:
- 2 union fittings, which are installed on each side of the PRV
- 2 threaded nipple pipes, 3/4" (perhaps more, on each side of the union fittings
- Teflon tape or pipe thread compound
The length of the threaded nipples will vary depending on the space available for installation. You may also have to buy threaded nipples for each side outside the union fittings to adjust for length and compensate for the additional space required by the PRV valve. Custom sizes can be made by pipe fitters and plumbers. Calculate all of these lengths required before you order or buy the pipe nipples.
The only tools that you will need are two 12-inch pipe wrenches, one to hold the pipe in place and another to tighten the fitting. You may also need pliers or a standard screwdriver to adjust the setting on the PRV valve to the proper range.
Recommended Installaton Diagram
Installation of the PRV Valve
- Turn off the water supply and relieve the pressure within the pipe system by opening up at least one faucet or hose bib valve. Allow the water to drain out of the system so you don't get drenched when you remove fittings.
- Remove the pipes in the area of the installation and install fittings (nipples or other required fittings) that open up the space for the PRV valve. Each site will be different in this aspect.
- Install each of the nipples on each side of the PRV valve, applying pipe thread compound or Teflon tape to the male threads.
- Install the union valves on your pipe system to ready it for placement of the PRV valve. Apply Teflon tape or pipe compound to the male threads of the nipples. Do not apply any to the joint between each side of the union fitting.
- Remove the inside part of each of the union fittings and screw them into the nipples attached to each end of the PRV, using pipe compound or Teflon tape on the male threads.
- Finally, take the PRV assembly and screw it in to each side of the union fittings on your pipe system. Make sure all fittings are tight.
Re-check Your Water Pressure
After you have done the PRV valve installation, you will need to turn on the water supply. Check all of your newly installed fittings to make sure that they don't leak. Then you can re-check your water pressure using your pressure gauge. If the pressure isn't within the range of 40-70 psi, then use pliers or a standard screwdriver to either increase or decrease the pressure. Now you have a pressure-optimized water system which will help protect your plumbing fixtures and save you money on future repairs!