A water pressure regulator is a small plumbing device that reduces the water pressure incoming from the main water line into the house. This device is actually a type of valve that brings down the pressure to a safer level before the water reaches any plumbing fixtures within the house. An excessive amount of water pressure can cause several plumbing issues for the typical house, therefore it’s important to keep the water pressure in certain limits.
A water pressure regulator is typically located wherever the main water line comes into the house, which is after the main shut off valve. So, if you need to work with or replace the water pressure regulator, you’ll be able to shut off the water main and do just that.
So, how does it work? A special adjustable spring-loaded diaphragm within a water pressure regulator reduces the pressure of the water in the line inside the valve body. Water returning into the valve is constricted & then released at reduced pressure.
The home water pressure regulator reduces the amount of water pressure getting into the house from the municipal water main. Depending on your distance from the municipal water source (water main), incoming pressure may vary from 80 pounds per square inch (psi) to 150-160 psi. The pressure regulator reduces that pressure thus the damage and leaks don’t occur inside the house.
All pressure regulators have some sort of adjustment. Often times cases, a small flip of the main screw can make all the difference.
Talk to your neighbors to see if they’re also experiencing the low water pressure issue. The municipal water source could also be experiencing a temp lower pressure low on the whole system. This might save you time in having to readjust the device later.
Locate the pressure regulator on the incoming main water line. Generally, the brass, bell-shaped device is positioned close to the meter. Note the long screw going through the top center of the bell shape. Next to the brass housing could be a lock nut securing the adjustment screw.
Fit the jaws of the crescent wrench over the lock nut. Flip the wench in a counterclockwise direction to loosen the nut. Don’t turn the nut too much, it should only be loose.
Position the jaws of the wrench over the higher nut of the adjustment screw. Turn the screw in a clockwise direction for increasing the water pressure and in a counterclockwise direction for decreasing water pressure.
Make only one or two full turns at a time for proper adjustment. Open a plumbing fixture (faucet) to check the water pressure. Allow the water to run for some time. Readjust the regulator as required. Tighten the lock nut back into position once the adjustment is complete.
Happy DIY Plumbing!
You may want to also read this article about how to avoid water pressure jumps in your plumbing system, especially when using a tankless water heater.