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Pressure Reducing Valve or “PRV” – What Is It & Why Is It Important?

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

A Pressure Reducing Valve is a mechanism installed where a main water line enters your home. Its sole purpose is to reduce the high water pressure in the main water line to a lower, more consistent pressure for use within your home.

The average home has a water pressure of about 45 PSI (pounds per square inch). However, average pressure can range anywhere between 30 - 80 PSI. This is considered a safe and acceptable range for your family as well as the plumbing within your home.

pressure reducing valve

When homes exceed the 80 PSI mark, problems can start to arise. Homes that experiencehigher than normal water pressure for extended periods of time run the risk of damaged or burst piping, fixtures breaking, and/or appliances – like a pricey water heater – needing to be replaced.

Now that you are aware of what a PRV is and why it is important to your plumbing, let’s look at some telltale signs it’s time to have your PRV inspected!

1. Extremely High Water Pressure

This may seem like a dream, but as stated previously, high water pressure can be damaging for your home because pipes, fixtures, and appliances are built to only provide and withstand a certain amount of water pressure.

2. Toilet Constantly Running

To piggyback off the previous tip, water pressure over 80 PSI can cause the fill valve in your toilet to wear out. The fill valve’s main purpose is to turn on and shut off water to refill the tank as needed. With higher water pressure, water can push through the mechanism causing the toilet to run.

3. Low or No Water Pressure

On the opposite end of the spectrum, low or no water pressure can also be an indicator of a damaged or broken PRV. While it is normal for water pressure to be reduced while multiple appliances are in use, for instance if you take a shower while the dishwasher or washing machine is cycling, it is not normal for water pressure to suddenly drop or be greatly reduced under typical circumstances.

4. Knocking or Humming Sounds

These sounds can typically be heard in the walls while appliances are cycling. We hear these knocks and hums when the PRV is unable to maintain a consistent water pressure, creating pressure fluctuations within a home’s internal plumbing that can cause the pipes to shake and vibrate against the structure of the home.

5. Pricey Water Bill

If you notice your water bill is more expensive than normal, but you haven’t used an excess of water, the culprit could be a faulty PRV. If left undiagnosed a bad PRV can cost you hundreds of dollars a year!

While this is not a comprehensive list and the signs above could always be an indicator of a different problem – it is always best to call a trained technician to diagnose and assess your issue! Just like other pieces of equipment, PRV’s run the risk of being damaged or simply deteriorating over time. They are made with rubber gaskets and metal springs/tubing that can be damaged by a buildup of mineral deposits in the water, erosion, and other naturally occurring issues.

If you are experiencing any of the above issues and believe your PRV is to blame, call DownRight Plumbing and let our team of experts get your water pressure within a safe and acceptable range!

We are ready and available to help service your home, let us know at 423-870-8871.


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