If you’ve never heard of a PRV or don’t know where yours is, read on.
Pressure-reducing valves (PRVs) protect homes and businesses from high pressures in the public water distribution system. If your property is served by Eagle River Water & Sanitation District, you’re supposed to have a PRV.
Your PRV is located on your water service near line where your service line enters your property or building. It’s part of your water meter assembly and is critical in preventing potential damage to your property. You can view a PRV within a water meter diagram here.
How does a PRV prevent possible damage?
It keeps high-pressure flows in the public water mains from entering into your building’s plumbing system. When water from the public distribution system enters your property’s water line, your PRV lowers the pressure to an appropriate level for your building’s plumbing.
Why are there different water pressures?
The public water system is designed to handle higher pressures than indoor plumbing systems and fixtures. In our area, the mountains play a big role in water system pressure. We provide water to customers from East Vail through Edwards, up to Cordillera, Bachelor Gulch, Wildridge, Mountain Star, and more.
These elevation changes equate to different water pressures throughout the system, because the weight of water increases as the elevation difference between your home and water storage tanks increases. System pressures are generally higher in the valley floor.
Our system has 53 water storage tanks and is divided into 73 pressure zones. The pressure zones typically have system PRVs to reduce system pressure levels between pressure zones. The PRV on your property further reduces the pressure for your internal plumbing.
Customers may see small fluctuations in water pressures as water levels in storage tanks increase or decrease. Larger fluctuations in pressure are a product of the energy generated by water flowing in the distribution system. Sudden changes in the flow of water through the water distribution system can lead to “pressure surges” or “pressure spikes.” Your PRV protects plumbing fixtures (e.g., faucets, toilets) from pressure surges. Pressure surges can be the result of:
- Pumps turning on and off.
- System valves, including system PRVs, opening and closing.
- Fire hydrants being opened and closed.
- Other system maintenance/construction work.
How long do PRVs last?
Most PRVs are only warranted for one year and have a maximum estimated life of 10 years. Improperly functioning PRVs can lead to water damage at your property via breaks in your exterior or interior water service lines or by toilet hoses detaching, etc., so we strongly recommend regular inspection and/or replacement.
Who’s responsible for the PRV?
Property owners are responsible for properly maintaining PRVs; a qualified plumber can check yours. While “PRV” may be a new item on your property’s maintenance list, it’s essential to have a properly functioning PRV as it protects your water meter, plumbing system, and any fire suppression system from fluctuating pressures in the water system.
If you need more info, call our friendly customer service staff at 970-477-5451.