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Water pressure issue ?


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Hi everyone,

Back again with yet another head scratcher, for me anyways !

Why is it that when the shower is running (this, so far, is the only place I've noticed it happen) and no one else is in the house, I'm losing water pressure when no other water source is turned on in the house ???

Is it a water heater thing, when it runs it takes away from the pressure ?

We have CAC but it's turned off.

Is it possible a neighbour could be linked into the main source ?

I have no clue ... any ideas folks ?

Thanks =o)

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Geraldo has been and gone, even he didn't know !

House was built in the early 50's and I do believe there is one galvanized pipe down beside the furnace, rest is copper from what I remember the inspector saying.

We have a municipal water supply.

And today I noticed it happened at the kitchen sink as well.

What to do, what to do ?

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Pressure may fluxuate in the municipal water line. I would buy a $6 pressure gauge that connects to a hose faucet and check it occasionaly or when you notice the reduced flow. I dont know what you could do if it does fluxuate, maybe a booster pump (if street pressure is low) or pressure regulator (if street pressure is high).

BTW, What is a CAC?

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Well, I have no idea, only some guesses.

True enough, pressure will effect volume, but that's kind of a rarity unless the pressure get's really low. At least, it's a rarity in my 'hood. W/a muni supply, dropping pressure that much would be strange.

Do you have an bladder tank & pump anywhere on the property? There may be a pressure pump somewhere that's running down(?)

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You have one or more corroded galvanized steel pipes. The interior of the pipe(s) is constricted by rust & scale. When you run water through the pipe(s) it has to follow a tortuous route through a rough-walled passage that may be smaller in diameter than a pencil. This slows it down. The result is a drop in flow that you perceive as a drop in pressure.

Call a plumber.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Jim Katen may be correct in his diagnosis but there may also be something more going on there. Accreted minerals and rust inside galvanized piping certainly does result in a loss of pressure and volume but it is typically consistent and not fluctuating when only one fixture is flowing. I ran into this for the first time in 2,000 plus inspections and I'm not sure what caused it. On the installation I saw there was no pressure tank or booster pump. Upon opening a tap water would flow well and then peter out to a glorified trickle after 20 or 30 seconds. I thought maybe an underground leak in the service pipe could be causing it or a partially closed buffalo box. I'd love to hear any other thoughts.

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Originally posted by nspctrdan

Jim Katen may be correct in his diagnosis but there may also be something more going on there. Accreted minerals and rust inside galvanized piping certainly does result in a loss of pressure and volume but it is typically consistent and not fluctuating when only one fixture is flowing. I ran into this for the first time in 2,000 plus inspections and I'm not sure what caused it. On the installation I saw there was no pressure tank or booster pump. Upon opening a tap water would flow well and then peter out to a glorified trickle after 20 or 30 seconds. I thought maybe an underground leak in the service pipe could be causing it or a partially closed buffalo box. I'd love to hear any other thoughts.

Could have an inline pressure regulator going sour.

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Hi,

I agree with Jim, it could be scale from galvanized pipes. Sometimes, scale will get into a stop valve or the valve for the shower, lie there and not be a problem until you turn the water up to a certain volume and then it moves into position and clogs things.

I had an inspection one time where there was almost no water volume at all to anything in the house. The house had galvanized pipe. I wanted to find out how bad it was, so I took off the aerators at the kitchen sink and in the bathroom and removed the showerhead. Then I had the realtor go to one outside petcock, the customer to another, the customer's spouse to the kitchen sink and I stayed in the bathroom. Then, on my commmand, everyone began randomly turning every faucet under their control on and off to full volume.

Everyone reported chocolate water for the first few seconds and then it began to clear up. We did that for between 8 to 10 minutes and stopped. I flushed out the aerators, put the shower head back on and it was like the house had been completely re-plumbed. Everything was stellar. It seriously freaked out the realtor, because she'd been planning to have them ask for a re-plumb. I told her that now that she could see how badly the pipes were scaling and causing stuff to get stopped up that she had an even clearer picture of why it was about time to do just that. She stopped freakin'.

For years, when I've had a home with galvanized pipe, just to remove any scale buildup, I've told clients to have one of these flush parties as soon as they move in. I also warn them that the likelihood of clogging one or two stop valves by doing this is very real, so they need to be prepared to turn off their water and clear the stop valve involved. The experienced homeowners get it, the novices do only sometimes. So far, 9-1/2 years and counting, I've never had the phone call where it's caused anyone a serious issue.

Oh, and the couple with this particular house? I inspected another house for them about 4 years later, after they'd accumulated some equity and were buying up. I asked about the pipes. Seems the seller had refused to re-plumb, they'd bought the home anyway, had been doing flush parties about every 6 months since, and hadn't had a problem at all.

They told me that they planned to explain the whole thing to their buyer and would be giving whoever bought the house a $2,000 credit toward re-plumbing. I told them to look into having the pipes rehabilitated by Ace DuraFlo or one of the pipe re-lining companies. They did, and ended up having the pipes rehabbed in order to avoid the issue altogether. I've had about 8 referrals from that couple.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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