Are you hearing strange noises from your pipes? Your home plumbing system is intricate and complex with many parts you might not even realize are there, including your water pressure regulator. If you've narrowed the moaning sound down to this component, doing some basic troubleshooting of common issues can help you quiet down your plumbing.
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Water Pressure Regulator Basics
A water pressure regulator is generally connected to the water line running from a utility company's water supply into your home. This device is bell-shaped and typically made of brass. You should also see a screw with a lock nut coming out of the top. It regulates the amount of water pressure that is sent into your house.
It's necessary because the water pressure coming from the municipal water supply is often much too high for your home's plumbing. Excessive water pressure can damage your pipes and plumbing fixtures, so controlling the water pressure is important to avoid costly plumbing repairs. When a water pressure regulator begins to make moaning or groaning noises, it can be a sign of a problem.
Low Water Pressure
The water pressure regulator is preset by the manufacturer to control the amount of water pressure sent into the home. The common water pressure setting is between 45 and 60 pounds-per-square-inch (PSI). When the water pressure falls below the minimum setting, the water pressure regulator may make a moaning noise to signify that it's below-level.
You can typically adjust your regulator valve relatively easily to increase or decrease the pressure. Use an adjustable wrench to loosen the lock nut on top of the screw. Then you can adjust the screw with a wrench, moving it clockwise for increased water pressure or counterclockwise for lower pressure.
High Water Pressure
High water pressure develops when the water pressure regulator quits controlling the amount of water pressure the pipes receive. A common problem called water hammer develops when the water pressure is excessively high. In this case, when the faucet is turned on, a high flow of water shoots out of the faucet. Turning off the faucet when the water pressure is high causes the water hammer where water bounces back into the system while making a moaning or groaning noise or other sounds. If adjusting the water pressure regulator to decrease pressure doesn't help, you might need to replace the regulator.
Reduction Valve Malfunction
Most water pressure regulators have a reduction valve that helps regulate the water pressure running into the home. The valve can malfunction or become damaged, restricting the flow of water into the pipes. Restricted water flow can cause the water pressure regulator to make a moaning noise, which can be heard through the water pipes. Having a plumber repair the issue should fix the problem.
Clogged Water Pressure Regulator
A water pressure regulator can become clogged with debris that gets into the main water supply or city water pipes. The clog will restrict the water flow being sent into the pressure regulator. Once water flow is restricted, the water pressure regulator will attempt to send the proper amount of pressure through the water pipes running into the home. A moaning sound can be heard when the water pressure regulator is attempting to send water pressure into the home, but cannot because of a clog in the system.
A plumber can help clear up the clog. They typically remove the part and soak it in a calcium and lime remover. This breaks up mineral buildup that often causes the issue. Your plumber will reinstall the valve and test it to ensure the water pressure is correct.