Your home’s water pressure regulator is attached to the main water pipe, not very far from the main water turn on valve. You can see an example of a water pressure regulator here. The regulator slows down the flow of water inside your pipes, so that the water pressure inside your home will fall below a certain limit, measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). A typical water pressure regulator will keep your home’s water at around 60 PSI. Without the water pressure regulator, your home’s water pressure may be as high as 90 or 100 PSI, or higher.
Leaks in your home’s water pressure regulator can manifest in one of two ways: either water can drip onto the floor of your home, or it can leak inside the regulator, allowing excess water to flow through your home’s pipes and thus increasing the pressure. The only way to catch an internal leak is to monitor the water pressure measurement on the meter attached to the regulator. External leaks are easy to spot because they cause water to leak onto the floor of your home. Regardless of where the leak is and how it’s manifesting itself, to fix the problem you’re going to need to remove the water pressure regulator and replace some of the parts.
To get started with this project, you’re going to need to turn off the main water supply and turn on the faucets in your home to empty the water in the pipes. Once this is done, then you can take apart the regulator. You’ll need a large pipe wrench to disconnect the regulator from the pipe. Once you’ve got the regulator off, then you can see inside the piece.
Inside the unit, you’ll see a spring, a movable shaft and some rubber gaskets. In general, many leaks are caused by the deterioration of the gaskets. These gaskets are responsible for forming an air-tight seal against the metallic parts of the regulator. These gaskets also facilitate water movement inside the regulator, which helps the pressure regulator to do its job. Take a look at the gaskets and examine them for cracks, pits and malformations. If the gaskets are very old, they’ll become brittle like plastic. This is how you can tell that the gaskets are the source of the problem.
Remove the gaskets. Once you’ve done this, your next step will be to find replacement gaskets at your local hardware store or home improvement center. You can also try purchasing a water pressure regulator repair kit, but these kits are often expensive.
It may take some guess work to pick the right sized gaskets for your home’s water pressure regulator. If you’re not sure, purchase multiple types of gaskets and fit them to the parts of the water pressure regulator. Once you’re finished, put the water pressure regulator back on the pipe. Use Teflon tape to ensure an air-tight seal with the regulator and the home’s pipes.
You can see this entire process here in this YouTube video:
Water pressure regulators are difficult for many consumers to repair or replace. If you’re having trouble with your home’s water pressure regulator, contact Terry’s Plumbing. With over 30 years in the plumbing business, we’re a trusted name in Pittsburgh plumbing. We can help by repairing or replacing your home’s water pressure regulator as needed. Call us today for an appointment and we’ll come to your home right away to replace your unit.