Plumbers - Water Pressure in House

Hi, I have a mid-1980s house with an older pressure reducing valve (PRV) from the street. I imagine it's at least 8 yrs old (owned for 8 yrs).
I have had 3 significant leaks in the place since I bought. First one was in the slab, but the other two in the pipes between upstairs and down.
The plumber who fixed the last one (recently) tested the water pressure at the front hose bibb. When he turned on the water, the meter said 50 PSI. We were both relieved that it wasn't something unusual that would require yet another fix (the PRV). However, I decided to buy a meter from Home Depot just to be sure and monitor on a regular basis.
So I put on the meter, sure enough, it said about 50 PSI. Great. But unfortunately, it started to build! After a few seconds it was at 90 psi. I think 90 PSI could contribute to pipes bursting, correct?
So my question:
Is the PSI at the time of just turning on the valve the one you read or do you read it after the time that it stabilizes? I did adjust the PRV down a bit but it would only go to just under 80 PSI. I think I need a new PRV, correct?
I want to manage the water pressure to have minimal wear and tear on the pipes.
Thanks for your help.
Matt
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The conventional wisdom is that 80 PSI is the maximum acceptable static pressure. Go adjust your PRV downward.
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Steve Bell
New Life Home Improvement
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When you adjust the valve, you may have to open a valve to let off some of the pressure, then close it back and wait to see if the pressure builds back up.
When the water is first turned on, if the pipes have any air in them , or a bladder system the pressure will be lower and build up as everything equalizes.
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Good point, Ralph.
I recommend setting the PRV to the _lowest_ setting that the OP finds acceptable. 80 PSI is the upper limit.
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Steve Bell
New Life Home Improvement
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In general, 60 psi is the recommended max for residential unless there is a good reason to be higher. 60 will give you all the pressure you need and will run impulse sprinklers with no problems.
Harry K
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I had the same thing happen to me some time ago. The pressure rises because it is a closed system, it cannot vent over-pressure to the street side of PRV. The pressure rises because your water heater causes the water in your heater to expand and create pressure. I solved it by using an expansion pipe. Just a 3' long 4" riser of PVC pipe mounted anywhere in the system, such as above an outdoor faucet. You can also buy expansion tanks (google)
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Walter
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No. The tubing should be able to take much more pressure than that with no problem. While not certified for operational pressure, I've seen testing done at over 300 psi and at work, we have constant pressure in excess of 100 psi and have never had a problem.
If pipes are bursting, you may have other problems, such as corrosion from very acidic water. I've heard that is a problem in certain parts of the country.
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*I agree with Edwin. Another reason you are having leaks could be because third world copper pipes were used when the house was built. It is not unusual for that stuff to develop leaks over time. Did you ever ask your plumber what he thought was causing the leaks?
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John Grabowski wrote:

It doesn't need to be "third world" pipes, there are different types with different wall thickness commonly used M and L with M being quite a bit thinner than L and as a result lasting a lot less time under difficult water and service conditions. Type L is usually marked in blue and type M in red.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Our static pressure is 100 and running psi is 60. Been like that for 15 years since the house was built. No leaks.
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You've been listening to people talking out their asses.
Water acidic enough to affect plumbing would be unsafe to drink.
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May the water corrode your asshole.
http://www.askthebuilder.com/084_Copper_Water_Pipe_Corrosion_-_Aggressive_Water.shtml Aggressive water is drinking water that can cause corrosion. It is a real and growing problem in many parts of the country. Leaks are developing in new homes that are less than 2 years old in some cases. These leaks can cause high water bills and structural damage. Homeowners or municipal water systems that obtain their water from wells are susceptible. Rarely, does surface water (that obtained from rivers, lakes, etc.) become aggressive. The causes and mechanisms that are responsible for the corrosion are not always the same. Water that is slightly acidic is sometimes to blame. High levels of dissolved minerals and carbon dioxide also can cause problems. High levels of chloride or sulfate can be serious.
http://www.epa.gov/nrmrl/wswrd/cr/corr_res_copper.html
There are two types of copper corrosion: uniform and nonuniform. Both types are caused by certain characteristics of water chemistry, including low pH, high alkalinity, and the presence of sulfates or nitrates.
a.. Uniform corrosion is identified by the presence of a relatively uniform deposition of copper corrosion by-products across the inner surface of a pipe wall and is typically associated with elevated copper levels at our taps. b.. Nonuniform corrosion, or pitting, is the isolated development of corrosion cells across the inner surface of a pipe wall. Although pitting corrosion is seldom associated with elevated levels of copper at our taps, excessive pitting corrosion can lead to "pinhole" leaks in the pipe, which could result in water damage and mold growth.
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water that acidic would be like drinking lemon juice.
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Actually pinhole leaks caused by corrosive pitting of copper pipes are most commonly associated alkaline water, not acidic, though the exact cause has not been determined. See for example
http://www.toolbase.org/Building-Systems/Plumbing/copper-pinhole-leaks
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There are no stupid questions, but there are lots of stupid answers.

Larry Wasserman - Baltimore Maryland - lwasserm(a)sdf. lonestar. org
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On Wed, 3 Jun 2009 20:12:34 +0000 (UTC), Larry W

Sounds to me like substandard materials.
I'd look for a galvanic reaction instead of looking for some mysterious PH inbalance that somehow can't be tasted.
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Hi Annie! I can't answer any of your questions but I can tell you about an apartment and a situation with one that blew. It's true. 1984, sumer time this happened to me.
I was in Universal city (area around Randolpf AFB, San Antonio TX) in an apartment complex. The city was doing some periodic pressure testing of some sort out at the street. I found it out the hard way. Darn all the bad luck but I was the first apartment in-line to the water main. The valve to control the pressure to the complex blew.
I was sitting downstairs and simultaneously 2 things happened. A huge sound of 'whoosh and crack' and an incredibly loud 'YYYOOOOWWWLLLL!!!!'. Possibly .5 seconds later 2 other sounds came simultaneously. A second 'whump/crack' and a sound of tearing cloth.
The first whoosh and crack was the pressure hitting my toilet which was the weak spot. It hit so hard, the back lid flew up and hit the ceiling. The second whump/crack' was that old 'what goes up must come down' as the back lid hit the bowl and cracked it in 2.
The other sounds were my 35lb 'Bobby-cat' (Half tabby, half bobcat, happens in Texas pretty often) who'd been snoozing on my bed upstairs, then the ripping cloth was when he launched over the balcony to the curtins which hung down both storys in a loft sort of place.
I'm sitting there looking at the cat and the next thing that happens is water is POURING down the stairs and out the front door.
I ran to the managers post haste as the only water shutoff is below in the kitchen and the floor is flooding fast and the overhead light has blown out as it's below the bathroom and now pouring rain inside. I aint dumb! Nope! Not in bare feet on a wet floor with frazzling electronics all over!
Grin, thought you might enjoy that. Moral though is this: Get the pressure valve fixed to handle what the city can toss at ya.
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