Getting Started with Pressure Reducing Valve

Homeowners in Austin, Texas (zip code 78734) are all too familiar with the need to maintain a functioning plumbing system. In order to keep water pressure at a healthy level and prevent pipe damage and water waste, a pressure reducing valve is an essential tool. In this article, we’ll look at the basics of pressure reducing valves, assessing when they’ll be necessary, deciding on the right size, and examining different types of valves.

What is a Pressure Reducing Valve?

A pressure reducing valve is a mechanical device that, as the name suggests, lowers water pressure in a plumbing system. Commonly used in residential and commercial settings, these valves are designed to maintain a steady and safe level of pressure for all plumbing fixtures. Without one, a home may experience water pressure that is too low (leading to low water flow) or water pressure that is too high (leading to pipe damage and water waste).

When the pressure into a home is above 80 lbs per square inch (psi) a pressure reducing valve should be installed. (Note: All plumbing installations should be done by a licensed plumber to ensure accuracy, safety, and adherence to local codes.)

By installing a pressure reducing valve, any incoming pressure over 80 psi can be safely and effectively reduced to the desired level. A pressure reducing valve can also be adjusted to supply a desired pressure for any site.

Size Matters: Selecting the Right Size Pressure Reducing Valve

A Pressure Reducing Valve should be selected based on its size—the larger the valve, the greater the flow of water it will allow. Pressure Reducing Valves are available in sizes from ½-inch to 2-inch.

The size of pressure reducing valve is determined by the amount of flow (in gallons per minute or GPM) through the valve during normal operation. A general rule of thumb is 20 gallons per minute of flow for each 1 inch of size. A 1-inch pressure reducing valve can handle up to 20 GPM of flow; a 2-inch valve can handle up to 40 GPM of flow.

In some cases, homeowners may be able to determine the size of valve needed by the size of their incoming water main. The incoming water main should also be the same size as the pressure reducing valve.

Types of Pressure Reducing Valves

There are several types of pressure reducing valves available, including direct-operated valves, pilot-operated valves, and electronic valves. Direct-operated valves (such as the Bell & Gossett PR Series) are typically used for residential and commercial applications. These valves are small, easy to install, and feature built-in sensors that monitor water pressure.

Pilot-operated valves (such as the Wilo STAR-SV) are larger, but provide more control options. These valves allow for precise pressure adjustments within the valve to ensure the desired pressure is maintained. And electronic valves offer the same control options as a pilot-operated valve, but without the concern of valve wear and tear or manual adjustments.

Maintaining Your Pressure Reducing Valve

To ensure your pressure reducing valve is functioning properly, it is best to have a professional plumber regularly inspect and service it. This will help maintain your pressure reducing valve’s effectiveness and extend its life.

For any and all plumbing needs, those in 78734—and all of Austin—can turn to Abacus Residential & Commercial Plumbers. An experienced and licensed plumber will have the know-how to properly install the right size pressure reducing valve, and inspect and maintain it to ensure high performance and longevity.

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Getting Started with Pressure Reducing Valve