Calgary Pressure Reducing Valve: Installation and Replacement FAQ

A pressure valve and gauge installed on a yellow pipe attached to a residential plumbing system in Calgary, AB.
Do you flinch when you turn on your tap, and excessive water pressure is coming out of your faucet? Or, maybe you're looking for ways to reduce your utility costs by reducing water usage—without giving up those long, relaxing showers. You can deal with both situations simply by having a pressure reducing valve installed by a qualified local plumber.

If you already have a pressure reducing valve (PRV) installed on your Calgary plumbing system, you know how advantageous they can be—but you may not have realized that your installation is overdue for a replacement. This guide covers the answers to some commonly asked questions about pressure reducing valve installation and replacement services, including the benefits of a pressure regulator and the signs that your system needs PRV valve replacement.

Are you ready to get the advantages of a PRV valve for your plumbing system, or need a replacement for an old device that is on its last legs? Count on your experienced, local Calgary plumber to take care of installation or replacement quickly and easily to get your water pressure adjustment right where you want it to be. The team of professional plumbers at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Calgary has the expertise and skill to take care of your entire plumbing system, from the water lines to the sewer lines and everything in between.

What is a Pressure Reducing Valve?

Calgary AB homeowners may have heard of it. A pressure reducing valve is also referred to as a PRV, water pressure regulating valve or water pressure regulator. It is a type of plumbing equipment installation with the primary function of reducing the upstream pressure of water coming into a house or commercial building at the main water line. It brings the downstream pressure to a more comfortable, efficient flow rate. While they are not necessarily a standard part of plumbing systems, the additional flow control can be an important asset in Calgary properties where the flow rate is too high or there are fluctuating pressure differences.

How Do Water Pressure Regulators Work?

They are brass plumbing fittings, usually dome-shaped, with a variable spring-loaded diaphragm inside and an adjusting screw on top. Downward pressure on the diaphragm can be increased by turning the adjustment screw, so more force is required in the upper chamber in order to maintain equilibrium. The valves are installed on water lines, typically right after the main shut-off valve. When the incoming water flow rate into your PRV is higher than desired, its diaphragm constricts to limit flow through the PRV, reducing the force that comes out the other side, resulting in a more constant output pressure.

Water pressure is measured in psi, or pound-force per square inch and the delivery pressure coming out of a typical faucet is around 40 to 60 psi. However, pressure can be much higher when the liquid enters your water main. If it's higher than about 80 psi, a PRV is needed to reduce the flow to a more comfortable, efficient level. If you have a PRV in Calgary but are unsure how to properly use it—there’s no need to browse manuals online—just give your Calgary plumber a call.

Is It Worth Getting a Pressure Reducing Valve in Calgary?

Suppose you avoid taking showers and hate running your hands under the faucet because it feels like you're being battered by excessive force. In that case, you're probably more than ready to install a regulator valve so you can use your plumbing fixtures comfortably and safely. But if you like the feeling of a strong flow, or at least it doesn't bother you, you may assume there's no reason for you to get a regulator installed on your potable water system. That's not necessarily true. There are some distinct advantages to controlled pressure from PRV installation in Calgary, and it may actually help to save you a significant amount of money over time.

Save Money on Your Utility Bill

Opening up your utility bill every month to see high water usage charges can be frustrating. You're just using your system normally for cooking, bathing and cleaning, not trying to turn your basement into an indoor pool, so what's going on? The higher the water pressure in your house is, the greater the water consumption is going to be. That means just taking a normal shower or washing dishes uses a lot more water than it would at a lower psi, and of course, you have to pay for the usage reflected on your water meter. Calgary pressure reducing valve installation will reduce flow rate and reduce the amount of supply you are using for daily tasks, which noticeably increases your utility savings and gives your bank account a break. It’s also worth checking with the City of Calgary if they’re responsible for the changes in your energy bill.

Reduce Wear and Tear on Plumbing and Appliances

There's another way having a pressure reducing valve installed in your residential or commercial building can help save you some money in the long run. Your supply lines are connected to a number of plumbing fixtures and household appliances like your dishwasher and clothes washing machine. A strong psi causes serious wear and tear damage to appliances and result in damaged fixtures—in fact, it's often a big contributing factor to breakdowns and malfunctions that require your entire fixture or appliance to be replaced. All fixtures and appliances need to be replaced eventually, but a high psi accelerates damage and shortens their serviceable years, so you need replacement a lot sooner than you would with a reduced psi. Protect your appliances and plumbing equipment from overpressure damage by calling an experienced Mr. Rooter plumber to install a pressure reducing valve in Calgary, AB.

More Comfortable Water Flow

Saving money is good, but being more comfortable in your own home is priceless. Excess pressure can make simple, everyday tasks less pleasant and uncomfortable for you and the other members of your household. Pressure reducing valve installation will decrease flow to household plumbing to safe levels so you can rest easy knowing your water will come out at the perfect psi level every time.

Do I Need a Pressure Reducing Valve?

If you're not sure whether a PRV is needed for your plumbing system in Calgary, the best way to determine that is by testing your system's psi. You can get a simple, inexpensive gauge to measure flow velocity at your local hardware store. Attach it to a hose bib and turn on the cold tap. If the psi clocks in at around 40 to 60, that's within a normal range, and you might not need a PRV as long as you haven't been experiencing any trouble like fluctuating psi. If it is above 80 psi, that's a clear indication that it's too high, and you do need Calgary PRV installation to bring it down to a more efficient, less damaging psi level. Even without a flow gauge, you may notice some of the common signs of excessively high psi, such as:

  • Dripping faucets
  • Running toilets
  • Loose fittings
  • Broken pipes
  • Damage to appliances
  • Thumping or banging sounds from pipes
  • Sound of continuously running water

How Long Do Water Pressure Regulators Last?

Pressure regulating valves in Calgary, AB (and everywhere else, for that matter) contain moving parts and are constantly being battered by high flow rates. That means they tend to wear out more quickly than many Calgary homeowners suspect. The exact length of time varies according to who you ask, but most people agree that replacement will be necessary between five and ten years after it is installed. Leaks caused by corrosion are also common after years of use.

What Are the Signs I Need a Pressure Reducing Valve Replacement?

The signs of a failing pressure reducing valve can be confusing or may seem contradictory—and they're also symptoms of other potential problems, so it can be a challenge to narrow the problem down to your pressure reducing valve specifically. If you're not sure, let an expert Calgary plumber give your system a thorough check-up. We'll explain our recommendations clearly and answer any questions you may have so you can make an informed decision about what's best for your property.

High Water Pressure

Suppose you've noticed that the force of water from your faucets and other plumbing fixtures has been getting stronger even though you already have a pressure reducing valve in place. In that case, that indicates that your PRV is wearing out and losing its ability to reduce operating pressure for your supply distribution systems. Needless to say, it needs to be replaced by a reliable Calgary plumber as it has likely reached the end of its expected lifespan. Some of the signs of excessive pressure are listed above. If you notice undue wear and tear to your appliances or fixtures, or you are constantly dealing with dripping faucets or running toilets, those are indications that your psi is too much for your system to handle.

Low or No Water Pressure

It may seem odd at first that low psi is the result of a malfunctioning pressure reducing valve—after all, isn't that the point of the installation in the first place? It is, but if the psi is too low, that's not a good thing either. Nobody likes standing under a weak little trickle of water in the shower or trying to wash dishes under what basically amounts to a drizzle meandering out of the faucet. Low psi—or none at all—can be caused by a broken pressure reducing valve that isn't able to allow an adequate distribution pressure for the regulator flow, and it means you need a pressure reducing valve replacement.

Plumbing Leaks

Let's be honest, there are probably a hundred reasons (or more) why your system might suffer a plumbing leak—and a malfunctioning Calgary pressure reducing valve is one of them. In the same sense that a high psi batters your fixtures and appliances and causes them undue wear and tear, it also has a serious negative effect on your pipes and fittings. It can cause fittings to work themselves loose and let water leak out or even burst pipes open if the force is severe enough. That usually happens when there's already a clog in the pipe that is causing psi to build up, and the added push from high psi steam of liquid is just too much, so the wall of the pipe actually cracks open—and as we all know, that's an outright disaster.

Plumbing leaks in Calgary can cause a massive amount of damage in a very short amount of time, so they need to be found and dealt with as soon as possible. But that's much easier said than done. Leaks often occur at the point where a fixture, such as a sink is hooked up to your supply line. So sometimes, they are visible in the cabinet under a sink or even leaking out around the base of a faucet. But other times, they are completely hidden away behind the walls or even buried underground. If you're not sure whether you're experiencing a leak, the best way to confirm is by checking your water meter. Turn off all your shut-off valves for fixtures and appliances before bed, then check the position of the indicator on your meter. Check again before you use any water the next morning. If it has moved or is actively moving, you likely have a leak.

Unusual Noises From Pipes

When you turn off the water in a shower, tub or sink, do you hear weird banging or thumping noises coming from your pipes? This is called a "water hammer," and it happens because the building force is causing your pipes to vibrate and move around, making a hammering sound. This can be caused by other factors as well, but if you hear banging from your pipes, you should call your Calgary plumber to have the pressure reducing valve ruled out as a possible cause.

Need Calgary Pressure Reducing Valve Installation or Replacement? Call the Pros at Mr. Rooter!

Whether you're in Glamorgan, Lincoln Park, Haysboro or another part of the Calgary area, you can rely on the same expert workmanship and dependable customer service from the team of plumbing professionals at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Calgary. Pressure reducing valves can be used in a home or a commercial property, and we have the know-how to get them installed efficiently and effectively.

If you'd like to make an appointment for plumbing service at a convenient time or you're interested in learning more about our wide range of reliable plumbing repair and maintenance services in Calgary, give us a call today.