What is a Pressure Regulator Valve? Everything You Need to Know

In this blog post, you’ll read:Pressure Regulator Valves reduce high-pressure water in home plumbing systems. This helps to lower the stress on the faucets, appliances, and valves in the system. Contrary to that, too much water pressure can lead to plumbing problems, which is why it is necessary to keep water pressure under control. Every plumbing installation does not require such valves. However, a water system regulation requires industrial valves. They are needed if high-pressure water enters your home from the municipal water supply or when the entering water pressure is irregular.
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Pressure Regulator Valves reduce high-pressure water in home plumbing systems. This helps to lower the stress on the faucets, appliances, and valves in the system. Contrary to that, too much water pressure can lead to plumbing problems, which is why it is necessary to keep water pressure under control.

Every plumbing installation does not require such valves. However, a water system regulation requires industrial valves. They are needed if high-pressure water enters your home from the municipal water supply or when the entering water pressure is irregular.

What is a Pressure Regulator Valve?

A Pressure Regulator Valve is a specialized valve that reduces the flow of the incoming water. In essence, if the water pressure is high, it can be harmful to the plumbing system. So a Pressure Regulator Valve reduces it to a manageable level for the home plumbing. They are installed where the main water line is present, close to the main shutoff valve at home.

High water pressure can severely damage the valves, pipes, plumbing fittings, faucets, and appliances. A pressure regulator valve manufacturer advises to buy them so that:

  • The increased water flow will be regulated.
  • There will be less strain on the inner valves of the plumbing system, pipes, and appliances.
  • Leakage in shut-off valves will not be caused.
  • The fluctuating pressure of water will be normalized.

Components of Pressure Regulator Valve

Pressure regulator valves applications
Pressure regulator valve applications

The components of such a valve are divided into three distinct elements by valve manufacturers. These elements are:

Restricting Element

A very important component of a pressure regulator valve is the Restricting element. Depending on the specificity of the regulator, the valve can be a:

  • Poppet Valve
  • Butterfly Valve
  • Globe Valve

Water control valves provided by a pressure regulator valve manufacturer are used to restrict the flow of a fluid (or gas) in a plumbing system. They adjust to the changes in the system like:

  • When pressure is dropping, they open wider
  • When pressure is increasing, they narrow the opening

Loading Element

The loading element can be described as a combination of a piston actuator, weight, springs, and a diaphragm. The loading element provides force to the restrictive element (valve). This force allows the valve to open and close when needed.

To make sure that the plumbing system keeps a steady and normal pressure throughout, the loading element:

  • Will help to close the valves in case of high pressure.
  • Will help to open the valves in case of low pressure.

Measuring Element

The measuring element is the component that is the “Sensor” of the Pressure Regulator. It is the diaphragm that calculates the inlet flow and the outlet flow of the water to keep the plumbing system in equilibrium.

How Does a Pressure Regulator Valve Work?

Valve manufacturers make pressure regulator valves to maintain a regular output pressure consistently. It maintains even if there are any changes in downstream usage or input pressure. When pressure exceeds the predetermined level, the valves release any excess pressure from the plumbing system to maintain a balanced pressure throughout.

The high-pressure water flows into the regulator through the inlet. After that, the loading element starts working by initiating the sprung diaphragm, or piston, to open or close the valves according to the pressure. This regulates the water pressure entering the plumbing system through the valve.

The pressure outside is consistently compared with the control spring setting. When any difference is detected, the valve repeats the above steps to correct it and carefully maintains a balanced pressure throughout the plumbing system at all times.

Types of Pressure Regulator Valves

Regulator valves of many types are used in homes as well as industries. Two of the most common valves that regulator industries produce are:

1. Pressure Reducing Regulators

Pressure Reducing Regulators are also known as Pressure Reducing Valves (PRV). They are used to regulate or reduce the pressure (of a gas or fluid) in a system so it matches the required level on the outlet side.

It controls the downstream pressure level and maintains it according to the predetermined pressure levels.

Location of Connection

It can be found on the outlet side of the plumbing system.

How it Works

PRV automatically checks the pressure fluctuations in the plumbing system with the help of a sensor. After that, it acts to open or close valve openings (as needed) to maintain a regular downstream pressure.

Applications

Air-Based Systems. Used in Pneumatic control systems, compressed air systems, and power tools. It is also used to manage Propane and Liquefied Petroleum Gas in heating and cooking systems.

Water-Based Systems. Used in services of industrial water distribution, fire alarm systems, and plumbing systems at homes to regulate water pressure.

Mining Industry. It is employed in the mining sector to maintain pressure levels in heavy machinery and equipment.

2. Back Pressure Regulators

Back Pressure Regulators are closed control valves that maintain the predetermined upstream or inlet pressure and are controlled by it.

The main goal of a Back Pressure Regulator is to control inlet pressure around a set level. When the set level is reached, excess pressure is released to keep the inlet pressure close to or below the set level.

Location of Connection

It is located at the inlet side of the system.

How it Works

A Back Pressure Regulator achieves pressure regulation by precisely controlling and limiting the upstream pressure of the system. It keeps the valve closed until the pressure increases at the inlet side. When system pressure becomes more than the loading pressure, the valve is opened for the flow of fluid.

Applications

High-Pressure Systems. It is used to keep the inlet pressure steady as a safety measure in high-pressure systems.

Fuel and Oil Burner Control. It is used in fuel and oil burner appliances for regular inlet pressure to make the combustion process easy.

Fuel and Oil Atomization. It is employed in fuel and oil burners in engines and burners to keep consistent inlet pressure and facilitate combustion.

Uses in Natural Gas Systems. It is used to keep inlet pressure stable in Natural Gas Systems for convenient distribution and storage of natural gas in industries.

What is the Difference Between Pressure Reducing Valves and Pressure Regulator Valves?

Pressure regulator valve work
Pressure regulator valve work

Pressure Reducing Valves

  • Are used in all the systems that relate to pressure in gases
  • Located at the outlet side of the system
  • Control the Outlet or Downstream pressure and maintain outlet pressure
  • Open and close with changes in the system to keep overall outlet pressure stable

Pressure Regulator Valves

  • Are used in all the systems that relate to pressure in fluids (water) in a plumbing system
  • Located at the inlet side of the plumbing system
  • Control the Inlet or Upstream pressure when it rises above a predetermined level.
  • Open the valves when inlet pressure rises above the predetermined level

Assistants in Regulating Pressure

Assistants in regulating pressure
Assistants in regulating pressure

A valve manufacturer provides regulators for assisting the pressure regulator valves as well. They are used in two different types which are:

Single-Stage Regulators

Single-stage regulators have the pressure control valve, restrictor, and sensor fitted in the same body.

This type of regulator maintains stable outlet pressure even when there are changes in upstream pressure. It is best used in applications where stillness is the key.

Double-Stage Regulators

Double-stage regulators are two single-stage regulators that are adjusted in the same home.

They regulate pressure in two steps. Because of that, they provide more stable and safe pressure regulation. They are best used in applications where pressure varies.

How to Install a Pressure Regulator?

The installation of the new water pressure regulator valve is a little bit harder because at present, there are no threaded couplings installed. Unless you are comfortable working on plumbing jobs, it would be advisable to get the help of a plumber or contact a pressure regulator valve manufacturer for this job because some installations may involve a relocation of the main water shutoff to make room for the water pressure regulator.

  1. First, obtain a baseline water pressure reading by measuring the pressure with a gauge from either a hose bib or washing machine faucet.
  2. Find the water main shut-off and turn off the water.
  3. To drain the system of water, open the faucet that is closest to where the main shut-off valve enters.
  4. With the threaded couplings in place, measure the length of the water pressure regulator by employing a tape measure and then make this measurement on the pipe immediately past the main shut-off valve.
  5. Put a bucket and towel under the pipe at which you are working, then cut it with a pipe cutter by your previous measure. The couplings will slide onto the end of the pipe still in place, so be careful not to cut off too much pipe.
  6. Clean the pipe and fittings using grit cloth and a wire brush, then apply flux paste on the pipe and fitting to enhance soldering. Thread the couplings onto the pipe and introduce heat to the fitting using a blow torch.
  7. Once the fitting is heated sufficiently, touch it with the solder and allow the solder to flow into the small gap between the fitting and the pipe. Carry out the same procedure with the second coupling before allowing the metal to cool down.
  8. Once the threaded couplings have cooled sufficiently for touching, you may install the water pressure regulator and hand tighten the couplings.
  9. Finally, conclude by tightening the couplings with the Channellock pliers.
  10. Open the water at the major shut-off valve and listen for any leaks.
  11. Shut off the faucet after you have vented out any air lodged in the system.
  12. Check water pressure after installation and regulate it as necessary. To make changes, you will have to loosen the locknut on the adjustment screw and then rotate it up or down until water pressure is set at the desired level, which is measured using a pressure gauge that can be connected to a threaded hose bib somewhere in your house.

How to Replace a Pressure Regulator Valve?

From ES Complete Yard Work

If the plumbing is sound and has been installed correctly, changing an old one’s water pressure regulator is a relatively easy task. Ideally, an inlet water pressure regulator should be fitted on the pipe immediately after the main valve, using a couple of threaded couplings to secure it.

  1. First, turn off the water supply to your residence on its main shut-off valve.
  2. Turn on the faucet closest to the main shut-off valve to get any water remaining in the system out.
  3. Set a pail and towel underneath the present non-adjustable water pressure regulator.
  4. One should loosen the threaded couplings using Channellock pliers, removing the old pressure regulator with water.
  5. Handwork the new water pressure regulator and thread coupling. Lastly, channellock pliers should be used to clamp down the couplings.
  6. Open the water on the main shut-off valve and check leaks.
  7. Make sure that you shut the faucet which you had opened after venting air out of it.

Common Pressure Regulator Problems

pressure regulator problems
Pressure regulator problems

Installing Pressure Regulator Valves in your home will bulletproof the life of your home’s plumbing system. Your faucets, valves, and water appliances will last longer as well.

Nevertheless, you should contact your valve suppliers in case of a faulty pressure regulator. It could allow high-pressure water to flow via the plumbing system and result in issues and problems such as:

Irregular Fluctuations

The different peak hour time periods will lead to a drastic change in water pressure. However, if there are unbalanced pressure fluctuations without any reason, it could be attributable to a faulty pressure regulator.

Sharp Levels of Water Pressures.

You should therefore, conduct a regular check to find out whether there are some problems with the pressure regulator since you have high and low water pressure frequently.

Other Indicators of a Broken Pressure Regulator

  • Piping failure (due to excess pressure for a long time)
  • Pipes that knock and water hammering

Maintenance of Pressure Regulator Valves

At home or any industrial operation, keen observations are needed to ensure valve maintenance. A faulty pressure regulator valve will only cause problems for the work water regulation system. To avoid that, you should employ the following examinations for industrial as well as home improvement solutions:

1. Check for Leakage

The valve pilot systems are dependent on the pressure of the water. Any leaks or cracks in the pilot system will affect the operation of the valve. The bore tubes can cause leakage if they break. Flare fittings over-tightened can cause the pilot to break as well.

Therefore, it is necessary to follow all the instructions provided by the valve suppliers. You should regularly check the condition of the valve and the whole pilot system.

2. Air in Pilot System

Pressure regulator valves are made to regulate ‘water pressure control,’ and not air pressure. In a case when air enters the pilot system, it will negatively affect the pilot system.

Any air in the water regulator valve pilot system will hinder the performance of the valve. This will lead to cracks, leakage, or breaking of the valve entirely. So, check for any air in the pilot system. Contact valve manufacturers if you find any irregularities or suspicions.

3. Clean Dirty Strainer

Control valve failure is commonly caused by a dirty strainer. The dirty strainer blocks the flow of water because of debris. This blockage leads to dysfunction in the valve system, leading to leakage or complete breakdown of the valve.

4. Test Main Valve

The main valve diaphragm can last for years depending upon the water fluctuating and its minerals. However, if the main valve diaphragm has any issues, it will ruin the whole water regulation system.

To test the diaphragm’s integrity, isolate the pilot system, remove the bonnet top plug, and open the main valve. If water continues to flow, the diaphragm is leaking. It means the inspection of the main valve bonnet and valve cover is needed.

5. Check Ball Valve

To ensure the proper functioning of ball valves, ensure they are open and in the same position as they were found. Give each valve a quick turn to ensure movement. Ensure solid stainless steel handles on ball valves to prevent rusting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions that are frequently asked about Pressure Regulator Valves:

What Is a Pressure Regulator in Manufacturing?

Regulator manufacturers make a special kind of valve to check water flow in the home plumbing system known as a Water Pressure Regulator. It is used to lower the pressure of incoming water in the home plumbing systems. The valves open and close to keep a balance between inlet and outlet pressure. This keeps overall water pressure stable in the system.

What Is Normal for Water Pressure?

Most home plumbing systems are made to work optimally at 50 psi (pounds per square inch). However, municipal water supply pressure can even reach 150-200 psi which is bad for the water regulation system. Therefore, pressure regulators are used to maintain steady water pressure in homes.

How Does a Pressure Regulator Valve Work?

A Pressure Regulator works by using three elements: a restrictor (valve), a loading component (spring/piston), and a measurer (sensor).

Sensor records the fluctuations in the pressure of a system. If there is some irregularity, the valve opens/closes to compensate for pressure in the system as needed.

Who is the manufacturer of valves in China?

Plumberstar, a leading China valve manufacturer and supplier, specializes in valve design, manufacturing, and supply. We have established a sales company to handle exporting business professionally to provide quality and greater assurance of our products.

Do I Need a Pressure Regulator Valve?

Yes, especially if you are constantly facing issues with high-pressure water at your home and problems like leakage in pipes, knocking sounds from pipes, etc. The valve industry is vast but look for a valve that is best for your location and environment.

Do I Have a Pressure Regulator Valve?

No issues with water pressure, knocking sounds, or leakage may prove that you already have a pressure regulator valve installed at your home. In case you are worried, you can ask a professional valve distributor for an inspection. They will tell you if you have a pressure regulator valve or not and if it needs to be replaced, etc.

How Long Does a Pressure Regulator Valve Last?

Your pressure regulator valves will last from 4 to 12 years if your pressure regulator is installed properly. But it also depends on the location, valve production company, and the overall maintenance of the valves. Most manufacturers recommend replacing your pressure regulator valves after every 5 years.

How Much Do Pressure Regulators Cost?

They cost around $5 to $100 if you are working by yourself/DIY. However, it will cost you anywhere from $250 to $450 on average if you hire a professional plumber for the installation of Pressure Regulator Valves.

Conclusion

PRVs are used to maintain normal pressure throughout your home plumbing system. This specialized valve helps you in various ways and extends your plumbing system’s lifespan by making it less pressurized.

All homeowners should make sure that they have pressure regulators installed in their homes. This will help them avoid the problems that come with not having pressure regulators.

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