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What is a Pressure Regulator?

Water pressure regulators use valves to control how much water can run through pipes.
A water tower with pressure regulators.
A propane tank usually has a pressure regulator.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Pressure regulators are devices designed to monitor and control the amount of pressure running through a system of some type. There are regulators designed to control water pressure as well as gas and fuel pressure. The typical pressure regulator can be set to alert operators of problems when high pressure conditions exceed predetermined safety levels.

As part of the process used to regulate pressure, a pressure regulator monitors the level of pressure found within a system as well as the rate of escape of the liquid or gas from the system. When necessary, a valve will open and close in order to keep the pressure level within an acceptable range. For example, a pressure regulator on an irrigation system would utilize the recommended drip requirements associated with the system as the standard for proper levels of pressure. In the event that the water pressure drops below a certain level, the valve will close and allow the pressure to build up to and acceptable range. As the pressure returns to reasonable levels, the valve will open and allow the irrigation process to proceed.

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Many types of machinery and systems make use of pressure regulators. Natural gas and propane systems include the presence of a pressure regulator valve in order to maintain safe levels and direct the flow of the gas. Welding and cutting machinery that use water as part of a cooling system also utilize a regulator to control the rate of release during use. Water towers and municipal water systems utilize regulators in order to maintain a proper level of water pressure for use by residents of the community.

The pressure regulator is sometimes employed as a means of controlling the flow of water from an elevated source. In order to make sure the rush of water does not exceed the capability of equipment located at a lower altitude, a simple screw-on pressure regulator is often attached to the receiving end of the water hose. The regulator compensates for the increased pressure and slows the flow of water to a pace that the equipment can process without damaging any system components.

Utilizing a pressure regulator accomplishes more than preventing damage to equipment and making sure homes have enough water pressure in plumbing systems to function properly. Regulators also prevent the buildup of excess pressure that could rupture the system and endanger the lives of people in the immediate proximity of the breach. This is especially true with regulators used to control the flow of flammable substances such as gasoline or propane gas.

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anon77484
Post 1

I am hearing a water hammer at my washing machine in the cellar (only at my washing machine, but it's both the hot and cold faucets). How can I know if I have a pressure regulator that I can adjust to minimize the problem?

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