Over time, a water pressure regulator can break down, causing problems with pressure in the faucets, and sometimes also creating hammering and banging noises when a tap is turned on. Examination of the water pressure regulator, which should be right by the main water shutoff point, may reveal corrosion, mineral deposits, and even mold on nearby surfaces.
This is usually the time to call in the plumbers, but if you are a home improvement enthusiast, then you may prefer to keep the $500 call out fee, and instead replace the old water pressure regulator yourself. Following a few simple rules can help you to get the job done quickly, and with as little trouble as possible.
Step 1 - Out with the Old
The first thing to do is to remove the old water pressure regulator. Turn off the water at the mains, and run a faucet so that the pipes are empty. Putting on your safety gloves, take hold of the pipe below the device, and turn it using the wrench. After a few turns, the pipe and the regulator should become separated.
If they are stuck together, you should check for screws holding the regulator in place, or try to chip away some of the mineralization around the bottom of the device. After a few tugs, you should be holding the machine in one hand, and the pipe in the other. You should then wipe down the pipe with a cleaning fluid or purchase a new one and treat any mold in the surrounding area. Leave to dry before continuing.
Step 2 - Install the New
Take your new water pressure regulator out of the packet. If the end is larger than the pipe, then you might need to add a pipe fitting, which is rather like a funnel shape. This will help keep the water flowing into the machine. Remove any plastic around the sides of the device, and then place it into the pipe.
Tighten the pipe using the bolt, so that it is holding the regulator comfortably in place. If there are screws supplied with your regulator, screw it to the nearby wall, or to the inside of the cupboard, depending upon where your main shutoff is. Tighten the pipe enough so that it is holding the device closely to itself. You can add a layer of caulking if you think that it is necessary.
Step 3 - Finish
Once you have finished attaching your regulator to the pipe, you may have to program it, or at least switch it on. Check that it is running at the pressure you require, or which is mandated by building code, and then turn the water back on. Monitor the pipe for leaks, and to check that the banging is gone.
You should then let the faucet run for about 30 minutes, to clean the regulator, and then check for leaks again around the pipes. If there is no more water there, you have completed this home improvement project.