How Do Water Pressure Reducing Valves Work?

One device which can help you to reduce the water pressure in your home is the water pressure reducing valve. These valves work by cutting down the amount of water which passes through a pipe. Water which is being forced through the pipes at high pressure before the valve will be slowed down after the valve. This can help to ensure that the pipes which the water travels through experience less wear and tear, and also that any fittings or joints are not over-pressured, which can lead them to leak or come loose.

Types of Water Pressure Reducing Valve

There are two very different types of water pressure reducing valve, the pilot-operated and the direct-acting valve. These have round bodies, and are often made from either brass or iron. The direct-acting valve, which is the most common and popular type of water pressure reducing valve, has a bell-like shape which contains a spring with a globe-like body. The spring is set to a pre-decided pressure on the valve, which can then be used to reduce or increase the pressure on the water. The pilot-operated valve is more complicated, and is often used in industry where the flow of water is considered to be essential to the process. In the home, you will probably find a direct-acting water pressure reducing valve, and this is the type which will be fitted by home installers.

Appearance of the Pressure Valve

The direct-acting pressure valve appears like a bell, with the spring on the top of the bell traveling down to a round or globe-shaped stopper. When the water pressure is too high, this stopper will drop down into the water, causing an obstruction which will considerably slow the amount of water which is traveling through the pipes. The pressure valve is securely fitted into the pipe, and this blocks air or earth pressure from affecting either the water pressure reducing valve, or the pipes themselves.  

Valve and Actuators

In order to control the water, your pressure-reducing valve will be controlled by the amount of pressure inside the valve. The water pressure-reducing valve is often placed at the front of pipes outside of the home, so that you can get the pressure reduced to all of the different areas of your home. Once the pressure valve is fitted, when you turn on the water at a faucet, the pressure coming through to the valve forces down the globe. The spring in the bell keeps the valve from being pushed away by the water, meaning that the flow of water loses energy as it tries to flow past the globe. The actuator in this case is the spring, which keeps the globe from moving up and down in response to the pressure of the water.