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Water Pressure Regulators

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  • What is the water pressure regulator?  

water pressure regulatorThe pressure regulator is a bell-shaped device on the water supply line to the home. It reduces the pressure from the public water main to a level that is usable by the customer and compatible with household plumbing and fixtures. Pressure regulators also help to prevent pressure surges from the public main and are a way for homeowners to conserve water.

  • Is the pressure regulator owned by the City?

    No. It is owned by the property owner. While the City can help homeowners with checking their water pressure, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to install and maintain their pressure regulator, including repairing or replacing when necessary.

  • Where is it located?

Pressure regulators may be located near the meter and service line shutoff valve as in the illustration below, or they may be near the home and the household and irrigation shutoff valves. Some older homes do not have pressure regulators, but new homes are required to have them.

  • How does it work?

    The pressure regulator is a spring-loaded valve. The pressure-adjusting screw on the top can be adjusted to increase or decrease pressure to the optimal levels. Pressure regulators are set by the manufacturer to a range of 25-75 psi, safe for general household use. Overly high pressure can waste water and damage pipes and fixtures, so it is important to have faulty regulators repaired or replaced promptly.

pressure regulator cutaway 

  • How do I know my regulator is working properly?

Use a pressure gauge to measure the water pressure. Gauges are inexpensive and available at local home improvement stores. You can also contact Public Works at publicservices@lincolnca.gov or (916) 434-2450 to request a pressure check if you have any concerns. 

  • What are symptoms of a malfunctioning pressure regulator?

    Symptoms of faulty pressure regulators can vary. You may notice constant high pressure or sustained bursts of unusually high pressure at faucets or shower heads and water being discharged from the relieve valve on your water heater.  Water hammer can also be an indicator of high pressure. Sometimes the water pressure drops or is habitually low. In these cases, your irrigation system may dribble when on instead of spraying. Moaning from the pipes can also indicate low pressure. At other times, the pressure may be unpredictable.  If you suspect problems with your pressure regulator, it is important to have it checked as soon as possible to prevent damage to your plumbing.

  • What do I do if my pressure regulator is malfunctioning?

It is best to call a plumber to repair a malfunctioning regulator. Fixes can range from a simple adjustment or cleaning out a plugged line to rebuilding or replacing the regulator.

  • I heard a water pressure regulator can be used for water conservation—how?

Efficient SprinklerHigher water pressure causes more water to flow through pipes and fixtures. To provide maximum water savings from your pressure regulator, it may be set to the lowest pressure that adequately supplies your indoor fixtures and your outdoor irrigation system. Check the pressure requirements of your fixtures and irrigation systems prior to adjusting your water pressure.

 

  

 

 

  • Can I adjust or repair my water pressure regulator myself?

    A homeowner or plumber can use manufacturer’s instructions for adjustment. The adjustment mechanism is usually a screw on top of the regulator. Generally, turning the screw clockwise increases house water pressure and turning it counter-clockwise reduces the house pressure. If you are unsure how to adjust your pressure regulator, it is best to consult a plumber. If your regulator needs repair or replacement, you can have a plumber do it or do it yourself. However, you must obtain a permit from the City prior to commencing any repairs.

  • Is there a recommended pressure setting?

    The City does not specify a recommended pressure setting. Most homeowners set their pressure to approximately 50 psi, but this is partly a matter of owner preference. Lower settings help to conserve water and prolong plumbing and fitting life, and higher pressure settings have the opposite effect. The City recommends homeowners set their pressure to the lowest pressure at which both internal fixtures and irrigation systems work properly.

  • How long does a pressure regulator last?

Pressure regulators, like any piece of hardware, will eventually wear out and need to be replaced. Depending on water conditions, pressure regulators may last only a few years or as long as 40 years. Because pressure regulators can malfunction without warning, it is a good idea to have them checked every few years for signs of clogging or wear and to have them repaired or replaced when necessary. The cost to replace a faulty pressure regulator is much less than the cost of replacing plumbing and fixtures damaged due to the regulator’s failure.