Introduction: Replacement Pressure Reducing Valve
This instructable will show you how to replace a home pressure reducing valve. I started this project with no knowledge whatsoever in the subject. I am going to show the steps I went through to educate myself and take advice from experts in order to resolve an issue I identified in my home.
Step 1: Diagnosing the Issue
I went on a weekend trip. When I returned I found water on my garage floor. The water heater is in the garage and the pan drains to the garage floor.
First I checked the hot water in the house and it still functioned normally.
Second I looked all over the water heater for the source of the leak.
Weirdly nothing seemed to be leaking on the water heater but the top was wet. I caught a drip out of the corner of my eye from the pipe above. The pipe had a coupling that I was not familiar with that was dripping about 2 gallons a day. I did a google image search to try to see if it could recognize the part. The search failed so I turned to Reddit for advice.
- What is this pipe coupling above my electric water heater?
- Why did it start dripping all the sudden?
- Any advice on what I can do to stop it?
The device was identified as a pressure reducing valve and suggestions were made to repair or replace the unit.
Step 2: Researching the Part
I wanted to see what the device was used for and why it was installed. I found these videos helpful in understanding the device and functionality. Essentially residential plumbing should be at 50 PSI and my house was at nearly double that.
Odd things like my toilets making a screaming noise when flushed and continual running after filled tank as well as increased water pressure and many faucets requiring tighter twisting than usual to prevent dripping were happening around the house.
Before something else failed I wanted to replace the part.
Step 3: Identifying a Replacement
The existing failed part was covered in paint and drywall by the builders so I could not see what model it was
I got the crud cleaned off the valve with a wet rag and deciphered the text.
Text on Water Pressure Reducing Valve
- Inner Ring: WILKINS BR4 SERIES
- Middle Ring: RANGE 15-150PSI MAX 400PSI/180F
- Outer Ring: CSA B356 ASSE 1003 IAPMO CITY OF L.A.
I had to do some googling to find a replacement and the wonderful Reddit crew were able to confirm.
I found this one at the local lowes
Step 4: Replacing the Valve: Prep
I figured the other valves around the water heater had not been cycled in 14 years so I turned the water off at the road and left the other valves alone. I really don't want to deal with other leaks. I also cut the power to the water heater and put a few towels to catch water. Next I turned on the hose outside and the faucet upstairs and drained as much water as I could from the system.
Step 5: Replacing the Valve: Removal
I had some worries that I may damage the PVC by trying to loosen the valve with my adjustable wrench so I purchased a pipe clamp to hold the valve in place. I actually did not even need it. I was able to loosen both sides holding the valve with my hand.
The kit I purchased came with new gaskets. I removed the old ones carefully. They were no longer pliable and seemed like the would split easily if flexed. They gave off a black dye like substance when I was removing them.
Once they were removed I wiped gown the threads and PVC fittings and inspected them for damage.
The kit came with new fittings but I would have to cut off the PVC in order to replace the existing ones. They looked in good shape so I decided to reuse them.
Step 6: Replacing the Valve: Replacement
I placed the new washers on the PVC couplings and installed the valve one side at a time. I tightened the nuts as hard as they were before by feel. I then turned on the water at the curb and inspected the work for leaks. I did not detect any leaks so I turned the water heater back on and ran the upstairs faucet and hose for a few minutes. The water coming out had some sediment and discoloration for a few seconds.
Step 7: Setting the Pressure
I screwed the pressure gauge on to the hose bib and turned on the hose faucet. It showed exactly 50PSI without me having to turn the nut on the pressure reducing valve at all. They must be dialed in from the factory that way. I re-checked the work for leaks about an hour later and the next morning. All seems well and the plumbing in the house is acting the same as it did when we first moved in.
As a side note I found a article for how to check water pressure without a gauge but I think the $10 for the accurate tool is well worth it