Pressure Reducing Valves, abbreviated as PRV, are valves that decrease incoming water pressure into your home. Although high water pressure is often seen as a positive, most homes should have a maximum PSI of 75. Anything above 75 can be detrimental to your comfort and home. Normal operating pressure is 60-65. Unfortunately, the city can increase your water pressure at any time to accommodate new construction. To make the water pressure more comfortable and better suited for your home’s infrastructure, many homeowners choose to add PRVs to their homes. In fact, having a PRV has been mandatory for all homes in Austin with a PSI of 80 since 1980; however, each jurisdiction can override that regulation if they choose to. Below we will cover everything you need to know about Pressure Reducing Valves – including replacement timelines – let’s dive in!
Why is a Pressure Reducing Valve Important?
Besides improving the comfort level of your water when your water pressure is too high, PRVs have a few additional benefits. Firstly, adding a PRV can reduce water waste and improve energy savings. In many cases, Pressure Reducing Valves can save up to 30% on water heating costs. Secondly, PRVs can reduce your wastewater system’s load. Finally, homeowners with PRVs will notice extended life with their water heater and other appliances. In fact, high water pressure is the leading cause of slab leaks, broken fixtures (as many can only manage certain pressure levels), leaky faucets, broken pipes, water heaters, and water softeners.
How to Tell Your PRV Was Installed Correctly
PRVs are located near the shutoff valve on your main water supply line where the water enters your house.
The easiest way to determine if your Pressure Reducing Valve was installed correctly would be to locate the arrow on the valve. This arrow indicates the direction of the water flow. This arrow should be pointing from the meter to your home or commercial property.
Another component to check is the material of your PRV. Many home builders use lower-quality valves; PRVs with plastic caps will often not even last a year. Instead, ensure your valve is made fully of brass.
Finally, the reason many PRVs fail is that they are located in the ground which can be very corrosive.
How Do You Know If Your PRV Is Failing?
There are four major ways to determine if your PRV is failing and needs replacement.
- Changing Water Pressure: You may notice that as you take a shower or do your dishes there will initially be high water pressure, but then it drops off starkly.
- Hammering Pipes: If your pipes are extremely noisy and make hammering sounds while your water is on, the water pressure is too high for your infrastructure to handle.
- Leakage: Do you notice water around your water meter? There may be an issue with your PRV.
- Bolt Issues: If you adjust the pressure using your Pressure Reducing Valve and the bolt on the valve breaks, it’s time to replace it.
When Should You Replace Your PRV?
You should always replace your PRV when you notice any of the above issues, but depending on the quality of your valve, you may want to replace it every three to six years. Keep in mind, that you won’t want to replace your valve within its first year of being installed due to the ground’s corrosive nature.
If you’re in the Austin area, choose Reliant Plumbing for all of your Pressure Reducing Valve needs. Give us a call today!