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Pressure Control Valve vs Pressure Relief Valve – What’s the Difference

Pressure Control Valve vs Pressure Relief Valve

Regarding regulating pressure in a system, two common valves are used – pressure control and pressure relief valves. While both valves play crucial roles in a system, they are designed differently with specific functions. In this blog post, we will look at the difference between a pressure control valve and a pressure relief valve, their designs, and their installation.

What is Pressure Control Valve?

Pressure control valve is a device that works to regulate the pressure of fluid flowing through a system. It helps maintain a specific set pressure by automatically opening or closing when the downstream and upstream pressures reach pre-determined levels, increasing or decreasing flow accordingly. The technology behind it makes it an invaluable tool for many industrial applications, from helping provide consistent power to pumps to regulating air pressure in HVAC systems.

What is Pressure Relief Valve?

A Pressure Relief Valve (PRV) is a type of valve used to regulate the pressure in a system or process. It is designed to protect pipelines and other equipment from being subjected to dangerous and potentially damaging pressures. The PRV opens when pressure exceeds a preset limit, allowing excess pressure to be released safely.

Difference Between Pressure Control Valve and Pressure Relief Valve


A pressure control valve is designed to regulate the pressure in a system by maintaining a steady flow of fluid. It is also sometimes referred to as a pressure regulator. A pressure control valve comprises a sensing element, a control element, and a valve body. The sensing element monitors the pressure levels in the system, while the control element adjusts the valve opening accordingly to maintain constant pressure.

On the other hand, a pressure relief valve is designed to release excess pressure in a system. This valve typically comprises a spring and a piston. When the pressure in the system exceeds a predetermined level, the spring compresses, and the piston moves, enabling fluid to escape from the system through an outlet. This action ensures that the pressure in the system drops to a safe level.


As mentioned earlier, a pressure control valve keeps a constant flow of fluid at a predetermined pressure level. The pressure control valve maintains pressure in the system and balances the changing amount of flow. By keeping pressure levels consistent, the pressure control valve provides stability and ensures the system operates efficiently.

In comparison, a pressure relief valve releases excess pressure when it exits a predetermined level. It helps to keep any damage to the system and the surrounding area. This valve protects the system from exploding when the pressure gets too high.


The pressure control valve is installed where it can sense the pressure and respond appropriately. This type of valve is placed in the pipeline, where it receives the pressure reading of the fluid. The installation process requires accuracy to ensure that the valve operates correctly.

The pressure relief valve is installed at a high point in the system and typically includes a pipe opening to discharge the excess pressure. The installation must consider the discharge direction to ensure the fluid does not damage the surrounding area.


Maintaining these valves is essential for the smooth operation of a system. A pressure control valve requires regular calibration to ensure that it provides the correct pressure reading. However, the calibration should be done by a professional to avoid any mistakes that could damage the system.

Similarly, a pressure relief valve requires routine inspection to check the spring tension, discharge system, and inlet port. The inspection should be done by a professional with extensive knowledge of the valve system.


Pressure control and pressure relief valves are essential components of a system where the pressure needs to be regulated. While these valves have different functions, they work together to ensure the system operates efficiently and safely. Knowing the differences between these valves can help you choose the right one for your system and understand how they work together. Proper design, installation, and maintenance of these valves are critical for the smooth operation of any system.

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