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What are the symptoms of a failing water pressure regulator?

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Old 01-23-2008, 02:53 PM   #1
ShanMan14
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Default What are the symptoms of a failing water pressure regulator?

All of the sudden, when I turn on any faucet, the water comes out very strong and fast, then within about 3-5 seconds goes back to its normal stream. I tested the pressure at an outside spigot and it's about 75psi.

Any thoughts?
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Old 01-23-2008, 03:04 PM   #2
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Here's a long shot that I saw on one of the DIY shows.

A guy was having problems with a water heater relief valve that would constantly leak. He changed the valve a few times and each new valve would leak also. It turns out that his problem was due to an anti-siphon valve on his home's water line. By having a one way valve there was no room for the hot water in the heater to expand. Normally the pipes in the house connected to the city water supply act as a large expansion tank and prevent the pressure in the house from building. In his case, because of the one-way anti-siphon valve the only expansion that could occur was within the house's piping which was inadequate for the task. This is what caused the water tanks expansion valve to constantly leak. It was trying to bleed down the pressure in the house lines. The cure was to install an expansion tank in the house's water lines. This cured the excessive pressure and stopped the tank from leaking.

You may be seeing excessive pressure caused by expansion. When you turn on the water the pressure will be high until it equalizes with the supply pressure. Do a check of water pressure outside of your house and then compare it to readings inside your house to see if there is a big difference.
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Old 01-23-2008, 03:24 PM   #3
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THat's an interesting concept, I did just install a water heater blanket.

The water pressure meter I have screws on a spigot, I imagine I need some sort of attachment to screw it on a faucet sink...

I could also turn down the heat to the water heater, I did recently turn that up too.
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Old 01-28-2008, 01:12 PM   #4
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Replaced the water pressue regulator to no avail. The water heater scenario you describe above is reliant on the closed system, namely the presence of a backflow preventer. I could not find one and the city says it is not code for residential installations. Therefore, it remains a mystery.

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Old 01-28-2008, 01:13 PM   #5
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One of the symptoms is an exploding toilet, which would suck.

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Old 01-29-2008, 10:14 AM   #6
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The expansion pressure is real but it only comes into play if the pressure reducing valve has a checkvalve in it. Otherwise the pressure would just go back into the water main. I know at least some of the valves only let water flow one way and the weeping water heater relief valve used to be a problem when I was a plumber in schools, especially on the booster heater for the cafeteria dishwasher.

The fix was to install a checkvalve into a bypass around the pressure reducing valve. The checkvalve was installed backward to the normal flow so it wouldn't let anything go around the reducing valve "downstream" but if the pressure ever got higher after the reducing valve than it was before it, the checkvalve would let the pressure flow backwards into the main supply. My crappy attempt at a diagram...

|-----/---<--|
-water main---->--|--red vlv---|--->---house & WH
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Old 01-29-2008, 10:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShanMan14 View Post
Replaced the water pressue regulator to no avail. The water heater scenario you describe above is reliant on the closed system, namely the presence of a backflow preventer. I could not find one and the city says it is not code for residential installations. Therefore, it remains a mystery.
Our pressure regulator went out last year, and the only symptom was the sound of running water in the pipes all the time, and slightly lower than normal pressure.
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Old 01-29-2008, 11:41 AM   #8
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Well, the T&P valve was toast. The pressure last night reached at least 200psi! That's right, the gauge maxed out and needle went to 200 on two different gauges, one the plumbers. He was in shock.

I replaced the T&P valve myself in 10 minutes and he installed an expansion tank.

The root cause is still undetermined, but at least I won't have to worry about the pressure again.
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Old 01-29-2008, 12:20 PM   #9
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Yea I was going to say I didn't think it would be the pressure regulator valve. I had one go bad at my house and it is my understanding that they all are designed to fail closed not open. When mine failed the pressure went down to a trickle.
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