The time will come to replace the old Pressure Reducing Valve.
Most newer homes, 80s or later, will have pressure reducing valves as a part of the plumbing system.
They do what it sounds like they do - they reduce the water pressure coming in from the municipality to a pressure more comfortable for the home's plumbing system. It is typically located just after the water main, and before the plumbing that begins to distribute through the house.
The public system will push water to and through the house. To distribute water to such a large geographic area the street pressure can be quite high.
Water pressure in the home should be in the 50 - 60 pounds per square inch (PSI) range. Higher than that can damage the plumbing fittings, cause leaks, and damage weaker fittings such as at dishwashers and washing machines, and so forth.
Too much pressure can cause a "water hammer," which is the banging noise heard when a faucet is turned off. The sudden stopping of higher-pressure water causes a shock or bounce-back of the water, which can cause damage to everything in the system.
Like all plumbing fixtures, when the pressure reducing valve gets old it will show it.
Stress like slight leaking, mineral build up, or even dripping can be seen.
When that happens it is time to replace the device.
When they go, they can go big. The worst leaks are not small - and sometimes explosive. A basement or lower level can fill up quickly with water, especially water coming at the rate it would from a damaged pressure reducing valve.
That it's time to replace is evident with this valve. Both sides show previous leaking, and mineral build up. The green is from oxidation of the copper (even from humidity), and the solder reacting to what is in the water. Seeing such a green hue is not a problem.
My recommendation: when it looks old and leaky it probably is! Better safe than sorry is the old motto. Pay attention to the fittings in the house, everywhere - all valves and handles. If they are leaking, or show build up, replace them! Basic maintenance is just that. Maintain when needed!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560