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Faulty PRV

Faulty PRV

I got the call early evening from a client that we had remodeled for on multiple occasions, over the past 10 years. “Joe, the water was working now it is off suddenly for no reason”. Naturally, my smart ass response was, have you paid the bill?

They had instinctively called United Water after hours assistance to verify that there was not some systemic issue and had a team dispatched out.

Upon their arrival the meter was swapped out and that had fixed everything. Proud that they had solved their own problem, the homeowners told me to not bother to respond.

The following morning I got the return call, “Joe the water is out again, can you come up and make sure we get this fixed correctly?” “Sure”, I said and I was on the way but I did a few things before I packed up to leave.

I immediately reviewed images of the construction project then contacted my go to guy, a supervisor at United Water. We discussed what had gone on and what might be wrong, “could it be cavitation?”  I asked, I was imagining an air bubble in the meter, “Nope not a chance, but we will figure it out”, he said, as he dispatched a new team to meet me at the home.

I arrived shortly before they did and reviewed the details of the events with the homeowner. We recalled another water issue the winter before. We thought that there was a frozen water meter, I had installed some heat tape and the problem went away, could this be related?

The crew arrived

The meter was checked by the team and proper operation was verified this could only mean one thing, that the internal plumbing of the home was obstructed in some way. “I’ll bet its a PRV (Pressure reducing valve) or a stuck BWV (back water valve)” said the savvy United Water repair man.

Rough Plumbing

Rough Plumbing

The homeowner recalled that we had installed a PRV because his pressure was around 100 PSI. That jogged my memory as well, I also remember placing the main shut off valve in a clever easily accessible place, I just had to locate it.

Before I left from the office I studied the old 35mm of the project we had done in the basement just in case they showed where things were.

I noticed that there was a significant amount of plumbing in the area of the kitchenette sink. I thought I could see the main shutoff too. Sure enough as I moved out some stored boxes, there was the whole house shutoff and the PRV. All I had to do was barely touch the valve with a wrench and the water snapped back on.

PRV diagram

PRV diagram

On further investigation the PRV is prone to get clogged or the springs just wear out. United water does not recommend them unless your water pressure is over 98PSI now, which can happen.

Normal water pressure in a home is 50-60 PSI; I have seen them in the 30PSI when there are clogged pipes especially the one from the city to your house. There is a simple tester that you can screw into a hose bib to test yours.

All is well

Thanks to the United Water team for helping us solve this situation, turns out the darn PRV units have a fairly high failure rate, we will try not to have to replace it but there is that possibility.

This is one more reason to have a great general contractor. Our process of documenting the project in stages, and my devotion to past clients, saved time, money and frustration.

Like the homeowner said, “There is no one that knows more about our home than you do Joe, we appreciate your willingness to solve the issues that arise from normal daily life”.

Bonus Round Questions?

  1. Who has a good PRV valve story to tell me?
  2. Has anyone else had a similar situation that they want to share?

Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about remodeling, click here to email me directly, or call 208-947-7261

If you or someone you know is considering remodeling or just wants to speak to a trustworthy remodeling contractor please contact me, you’ll be glad you did.

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