The Value of Pressure Reducing Valves
When we talk about home plumbing systems, pressure reducing valves are not normally (or rarely) the meat of the discussion. However, are you aware that pressure reducing valves is a very important component of home plumbing systems? For example, do you often hear a high-pitched, squeal-like sound coming from your water pipes? This can usually be addressed by simply replacing your showerheads or installing a flow control or pressure reducing valve. What else can these components do?
What are Pressure Reducing Valves?
To understand the function of pressure reducing valves, it is important to look at the process of water distribution. The water that comes into our homes come from municipal and private water supply companies that rely on pumping stations that will boost the water supply pressure to make sure that it can be put to good use in homes, buildings, and other applications.
The immense water pressure is great for delivering water to high rise buildings as it allows the water to reach even the highest floors. However, for average households, the increased water pressure that comes with the water supply can be damaging; especially when you consider that the water pressure can go beyond 200 psi.
For most homes, the ideal water pressure should not go beyond 80 psi. This is why pressure reducing or flow control valves are required by most local plumbing codes. The installation of these devices will keep the water pressure in check and prevent damage to fixtures, pipes, and even the people living in the home.
In general, having extremely high water pressure translates to huge amounts of water being wasted. It is important to understand that homes are not only paying for the use of water, but also the cost of disposing wastewater. So reducing the amount of water pressure will result in reduced water consumption and lowering the use of energy that is needed for heating to distribute hot water in our homes.
Just how much water can be conserved with the installation of these types of control valves? If you have a system with water pressure at 150 psi, this wastes twice as much water compared to one using only 50 psi. In terms of energy savings, the less water that goes through the system, the less energy is used in heating domestic hot water. When you put in flow control devices, you can reduce the amount of domestic heating costs by around 30%.
In terms of wastewater, the costs is associated with the treatment. This means that the bigger the load to treat, the higher the cost to both the homeowner and the environment. If the load on the system is reduced, the sewer usage fees go down as well, which translates to a reduction of your utility bills.
Another useful application of flow control or pressure reducing valves is silencing high-pitches squeals when you turn on your faucet or shower. The squealing noise is actually a result of the high water pressure that results in the production of harmonic vibrations within the pipes.
How can you trace the cause? Begin where the problem usually manifests. For example, when the squealing sound happens when you turn on the shower, then check the water passages or check the showerhead and valves for worn out washers or O-rings. These worn out components can create an imbalance on the water pressure.
Before opting for the installation of a pressure reducing valve, try to install a showerhead with flow control first. This should set you back around $10 at the most. If this does not work, get a replacement kit for the worn out washers and O-rings. Normally these solutions would do the trick and get rid of the squealing noise coming from your pipes.
If you really need to install a pressure reducing valve, then it is time to call in a licensed professional. Call Scott English Plumbing today and let the professionals handle it.