The city water in Denver, like water in most cities, is more powerful than your pipes can handle without a regulator. That’s how it travels through the water main from the treatment plant out to the furthest flung homes. Overly high water pressure can do everything from wasting water (and money) to wearing through your pipes’ joints until they leak. If you don’t have a functional water pressure regulator valve, you may be looking at high water bills and lots of plumbing repairs.

Read on to learn all about pressure regulators and whether you need one.

What Is a Water Pressure Regulator Valve?

A water pressure regulator valve lowers the pressure of city water to levels that are manageable for your home’s plumbing system. Maintaining a steady water pressure helps your appliances, showers, and sinks get enough water without wasting water from a too-high flow.

Without a regulator, you may notice signs of high water pressure, including:

  • Plumbing wearing out. Over time, high water pressure increases the rate of wear and tear on your plumbing system. Residential pipes are only meant to handle a certain water pressure safely. Any higher, and you risk compromising the integrity of your pipes.

  • More frequent leaks. One of the ways you might notice the wear and tear on your pipes is by finding leaks more often. High water pressure most commonly leads to multiple pinhole leaks.

  • Noisy pipes. Your pipes may make a clanging noise as water runs through them too forcefully. This is because, at a normal flow, the water moves more evenly. When it’s going too fast, however, it bounces off the pipe walls. The sound of banging pipes due to high water pressure is called “water hammer.”

  • Loud water-based appliances. In addition to clanging from your pipes, you may hear lots of noise from appliances that use water, like your washing machine or dishwasher. High water pressure means they have to work harder to regulate and direct flow, leading to noisy run cycles.

  • Short hot water supplies. Your faucets will put out more gallons per minute with high water pressure. That means you use water more quickly, including your hot water supply. You may use it more quickly than you can replenish it, even if your tank should be big enough for your household.

  • High water bills. More water coming out of the faucet per minute means you waste more water when you run the faucet or shower. In turn, that leads to higher water bills for the house.


Do I Need a Water Pressure Regulator?

If you have city water from Denver, Boulder, Lakewood, Aurora, or any of the surrounding cities, then yes. Water pressure in your home should be between 50 and 70 pounds per square inch (psi). City water reaches your home at a pressure that’s too high for your plumbing to handle, moving through the municipal pipes well above 100 psi so it can reach every home in the system.

You likely have a regulator valve already; now, you just need to determine if it works.

You can use a water pressure gauge to tell you your home’s pressure. You can find one at the local hardware store, usually for less than $20. Then, simply attach the valve to a faucet while it’s off, ensuring that the meter reads zero while the water is off. Turn the water on and note the psi reading. If your water pressure is above 70 psi, you should turn it down.

How to Adjust the Water Pressure in Your House

You don’t need a pro to adjust your water pressure. Learn how to adjust a water pressure regulator in a few steps:

  1. Find the water meter. This is usually in the basement next to the supply line. If you’re in an apartment or a home with a crawl space, your supply line and meter are likely in a utility closet or under the sink, to avoid freezing in the cold Denver winter.

  2. Find the water pressure regulator. The regulator should be on the line right next to the water meter. It’s shaped like a bell with a screw and nut on top. It’s usually brass and may have a dial on it, showing the current water pressure.

  3. Loosen the locknut. With a wrench or pliers, loosen the nut on top of the valve enough that you can turn the screw, which controls the water pressure regulator adjustment.

  4. Turn the screw. To adjust the pressure, use a screwdriver to turn the screw on top of the valve very slowly, so you don’t create a drastic change. Turn the screw counterclockwise to lower your water pressure and clockwise if you need to raise it. Check your water pressure frequently as you make adjustments, either at the valve or using a water pressure gauge on a faucet.

  5. Re-tighten the locknut. Once your water pressure is between 50 and 70 psi, tighten the locknut back into place.


Regulate Your Water Pressure with a Regulator Valve Installed Professionally

If changing your water pressure settings doesn’t resolve your issues, your water pressure valve is likely going bad. The licensed plumbers at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Denver can perform the plumbing repairs you need, from replacing a faulty valve to repairing leaking pipes.

Call us at (303) 835-9352 to have a water pressure regulator installed or replaced, or book an appointment online.