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Hi,

I'm hoping to get some advice. 6 years ago I moved into this older home (20 years) that is on a well. My shower has had no problems but right from the outset, the other two showers issued a snorting sound and then would turn all cold for 30 seconds or so, then resume at normal temperature. It happens about every 8 minutes. I've had several sets of plumbers out, all of whom said there was no problem. The kids got used to it and treated it like a game but now they are cranky adolescents and want it fixed. I googled....and discovered that it was likely my well pressure tank. I had a well guy come out and sure enough, the tank was waterlogged. Got that replaced yesterday. I was very disappointed when my son say this did not correct the problem.

any thoughts?

Thanks in advance

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We will need more info. What kind of water heater, gas or electric? What size (gallons) is written on the label of the water heater? Do you have multiple showers going at the same time, it sounds like it.

Do you know the output of the well, gallons per minute? What size is the new pressure tank? Do you know what type of pump you have?

What kind of shower faucets do the kids have in their showers? A central handle or two faucets?

What type of plumbing pipe? Copper or plastic? Can you tell if it is 1/2" or 3/4" diameter?

Do their showers have different shower heads? Some heads use lower volumes of water. If nothing is malfunctioning, I would give that a try, water-saver shower heads.

A water-logged pressure tank causes the pump to come on frequently, called cycling, and this can cause the pressure to change noticeably at the faucet every few minutes. Sometimes, all the tank needs is to have some air pumped into it give it a cushion. If the tank has a tiny leak, it will lose air.

Assuming now that is not the problem, it could be the well can't keep up with the demand, or the water heater is faulty, or the shower valves are reacting to changes in pressure or some other factor.

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We will need more info. What kind of water heater, gas or electric?

ELECTRIC

What size (gallons) is written on the label of the water heater? Do you have multiple showers going at the same time, it sounds like it.

50 GALLONS - SIX YEARS OLD. NO TWO SHOWERS GOING AT ONCE. ALSO HAPPENS IF NO OTHER APPLIANCES ARE RUNNING AND IF NO TOILET IS FLUSHED

Do you know the output of the well, gallons per minute? What size is the new pressure tank? Do you know what type of pump you have? THE NEW PRESSURE TANK IS 20 GAL. WELL IS "FINE" ACCORDING TO WELL GUYS BUT I DON'T KNOW THE OUTPUT

What kind of shower faucets do the kids have in their showers? A central handle or two faucets? TWO FAUCETS

What type of plumbing pipe? Copper or plastic? Can you tell if it is 1/2" or 3/4" diameter?

COPPER - 1/2 "

Do their showers have different shower heads?

YES

Some heads use lower volumes of water. If nothing is malfunctioning, I would give that a try, water-saver shower heads.

I WAS THINKING ABOUT THAT BUT AREN'T THE ABOUT $300?

A water-logged pressure tank causes the pump to come on frequently, called cycling, and this can cause the pressure to change noticeably at the faucet every few minutes. Sometimes, all the tank needs is to have some air pumped into it give it a cushion. If the tank has a tiny leak, it will lose air. YES, IT LOST AIR THEN THE BLADDER FAILED

Assuming now that is not the problem, it could be the well can't keep up with the demand, or the water heater is faulty, or the shower valves are reacting to changes in pressure or some other factor.

THE WELL IS "FINE" ACCORDING TO THE WELL GUY.

sorry to be so obtuse. I didn't know if I should try new shower heads or go for the thermostatic valve. I can change the shower head myself but I am assuming I'll need to get the plumber back to do the valve? Any range on costs for 2 shower valves?

Thanks again. I really appreciate the help.

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a six year old water heater could have enough sediment in it to create hot water related issues with 20 psi fluctuating water pressure like you get with a well.

To rule that out; connect a hose to the drain spout at the bottom of the heater and turn it on. If no water comes out of the hose you have a lot of sediment which can affect the pressure on the hot side dramatically.

As I replace water heaters and ask folks if they have flushed the old one regularly they look at me like I'm nuts. I flush mine for about 5 minutes every six months or so and it's a '97 Richmond 6yr gas.

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Right, the old two valve system and a fluctuating pressure when the pump kicks in, 8 minutes is about right, which may be increasing the pressure on the cold valve momentarily. You could have installed a larger pressure tank, which would hold pressure a bit longer, but won't want to now.

I'm surprised no plumber has suggested upgrading your shower faucets to the modern self balancing type. That is why I was probably over thinking your problem.

The price for installing new faucets depends on a lot - the brand and quality you choose, the shower stall material, access to the plumbing pipes and then the contractor's time.

Depending on the condition of the shower enclosure, you may want to install a new shower stall along with new fixtures.

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Thank you both. No, I didn't know I was supposed to drain my hot water tank so I'll try that this weekend. I've had two people (well guy and plumber) tell me that a 20 gallon pressure tank was all I needed. I asked because the internet sites said "bigger is always better." But neither of them thought I needed a bigger one. So I'll drain the hot water tank and then look into the regulating valves.

Thanks so much for the help.

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Always turn OFF the electrical power to the water heater before draining it.

There might be another way, in fact, there often are other ways to solve a problem. You could have a pressure regulator installed on your water supply line at the house. That would prevent the pressure increase when the pump kicks in. (Remember this is just a guess as to what is causing the problem) Talk to a plumber. You may need an expansion tank or pressure release valve with the regulator. But that will still cost less than remodeling the shower enclosures.

Lo-flow shower heads, try that too.

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don't actually drain the tank.

leave the water supply on so that the pressure will help blow the sediment out. If it does actually flow out, wait about 5 minutes, carefully check to see if the water coming out of the hose is hot, if it's not hot, let the water flow on your hand and feel for sediment grit in the water. Once it feels clean, close the valve and repeat next year.

If there is rear access to your tub valves, the new installations shouldn't be more than a couple hundred bucks a piece (plus fixture).

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Right, five minutes. I really am stupid about plumbing. You'd never suspect I put a new thermostat in my old water heater by myself, would you? I was scared, but I did it.

the access panel to one shower is huge. I'm hoping both accesses are there in the one place. It would be par for the course of the DIYer who built this house that both showers are controlled in one place. Still, I think I'll hire a plumber to do the valves if it comes to that. It just seems to make more sense to have someone else to blame.....

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Update:

I drained my hot water tank of the sediment. I also replaced the shower head. My son said the problem was still there (happened 3x in a 6 minute shower).

So I used his shower and it did not happen to me. We figured out that he opens the hot water valve fully to shower. I didn't. When he tried a shower and turned the hot water valve 1/2 way, it didn't happen to him either. So, we solved the problem, but I'm still wondering why this occurs.

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Just a shot in the dark.....

What's the shower valve? I recall a few really cheap valves in my lifetime, particularly one from Mustee in a cottage I owned. The hot and cold water would fluctuate in oddly unpredictable ways. I eventually tore the whole shower out and replaced the valve. Problem solved.

I took a Mustee apart once, and it had a strange gate system utilizing plastic parts that seemed to shift with pressure fluctuations (we were on a well) and change the temperature.

Just a WAG.

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Just a shot in the dark.....

What's the shower valve? I recall a few really cheap valves in my lifetime, particularly one from Mustee in a cottage I owned. The hot and cold water would fluctuate in oddly unpredictable ways. I eventually tore the whole shower out and replaced the valve. Problem solved.

I took a Mustee apart once, and it had a strange gate system utilizing plastic parts that seemed to shift with pressure fluctuations (we were on a well) and change the temperature.

Just a WAG.

That's it.

The shower valves are pressure balancing and something's causing them to go wonky. Replace the valve in one shower and I'll bet that the problem goes away. Then do the second.

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Just a shot in the dark.....

What's the shower valve? I recall a few really cheap valves in my lifetime, particularly one from Mustee in a cottage I owned. The hot and cold water would fluctuate in oddly unpredictable ways. I eventually tore the whole shower out and replaced the valve. Problem solved.

I took a Mustee apart once, and it had a strange gate system utilizing plastic parts that seemed to shift with pressure fluctuations (we were on a well) and change the temperature.

Just a WAG.

I have also seen some stand alone anti scald mixing valves do the same thing.

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