As you look around at the topography of our service area you can see that many portions of the District are hilly. Due to these drastic increases in elevation these areas are subject to higher water pressure than other, flatter regions. While our average system pressure is just over 150 PSI, we do have areas that are over 400 PSI!
High system water pressure is necessary to move water from hilltop to hilltop, but the District is working to reduce the pressure in our residential areas. We have a program to install large pressure regulators to serve entire neighborhoods. We expect to install eight or more of these this year with more in upcoming years.
The District has historically used pressure regulators (picture to the right) on individual customer service connections to protect our water meters from these system high pressures. Our water meters can only handle about 175 PSI so these regulators were there to protect our meter. Our policies also require homeowners to maintain their own pressure regulators.
As we install the larger regulators to serve local neighborhoods, we will be removing the individual regulators on each service in these areas. While every customer should have their own regulator, there are instances where those regulators are not functioning or have possibly been removed.
If the District meter protection regulator is removed from your service, your pressure may change. While we will keep the pressure under 175 PSI in all cases, the system pressure may be higher than it was before. This means your privately-owned pressure regulator needs to be ready to do its job.
So, what can consumers do to protect their water system? The California Plumbing Code requires pressure regulators on water supply inlets to homes and buildings wherever local static water pressure is in excess of eighty (80) pounds per square inch. Your house may already have a pressure regulator to protect against high pressure, but they are usually located where your pipe enters the building.
Here are some important details to keep in mind related to the District’s ongoing system upgrades.
· The removal of our pressure regulators may increase pressures so you should check your private regulators to make sure its functioning properly.
· You should assess your need to replace or possibly install a pressure regulator on your side of the meter to manager your pressures.
· Don’t rely on the regulator on our side of the meter; it is only there to protect the meter and may be removed.
· Pressure regulators do fail and fluctuations in water pressure usually means you have a bad regulator.
· As the pressure reducing valve ages, it loses its ability to regulate the water pressure, causing harm to your appliances and plumbing fixtures. Most residential regulators last about 7-10 years depending on operating conditions.
Our continued efforts to reduce the unusually high pressures around the District increases the lifespan of our systems and benefits all our customers.
We hope this information has been helpful and that you will quickly find the peace of mind that comes with learning more about the importance of managing, monitoring, and regulating your own pressures.