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Plumbing question

Discussion in 'Workshop and Home Improvement' started by Riley, Mar 7, 2004.

  1. Riley

    Riley

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    I should probably go look for a plumbing website but I thought I'd ask here first. That way I can justify spending so much time here ;)

    Problem -
    In the last week or 2 we've noticed that the kitchen tap seems low on water pressure then I've noticed that the shower pressure is low too. Not sure about other taps but could be system wide within my house. Water still flows but the pressure seems like 70% of what it was.

    Ideas -
    a) It could be the city service water pressure I guess. I asked the people next door and they hadn't noticed any change. Need to ask my other neighbor on this possible cause.

    b) Faulty faulty pressure regulator that's installed where the service enters the crawl space under the house. Do these things have a filter in them?

    c) Bits of crud stuck in the few taps that I have noticed this sure (kitchen sink and shower). I need to do more tests I guess.

    Anyway I'm thinking it's b and either a filter is clogged or the regular is failing. Anybody ever work on one these? I'm about ready to take it off and take it apart but I'd like to get educated first.

    Any ideas?

    Or anybody know of good plumbing resource on the web I can consult?

    Thanks guys. Hope your weekend has been fun. :cheers:

    RIley
     
  2. Scamper

    Scamper

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    Riley - where do you live and how old is your house/plumbing?

    I would certainly check the tap aerators for crud. They get clogged up pretty easily and can slow down the flow. It's common especially when there is a water shutoff and then comes back on--stirs up a lot of crap in the system which ends up in your house. But since you say the shower is also showing this, I wonder if that's the cause since most showers don't have this sort of screen (though low-flow systems can get plugged too...).

    Everywhere I've ever lived, they don't put pressure regulators on the houses--that's more of a commercial thing to deal with multi-story buildings where you need to pump more pressue to reach the higher floors.

    I'm thinking you have steel pipes and the insides are just corroded. If so, the fix it to replace the (cold water) pipe from where it enters the house (either a meter, pressure regulator, shutoff, whatever...) to at least the hot water heater using copper. You may also want to go further depending on how severe your problem is (i.e., replace all the steel pipe, or as much as you can reach). It's not a big deal to do unless you can't get to the pipes.

    Tom
     
  3. CDN_Cruiser

    CDN_Cruiser

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    Riley:

    I recently (as did my neighbour) faced a similar situation. While the water pressure had been quite good in our house (downtown and >100 years old), it had started to deteriorate. In my case the solution was very easy - the valve on the city intake (which was missing the 'handle') had somehow started to work itself closed and was reducing the pressure. As simple as that.

    For my neighbour, 'all' of his house had been redone with copper - excpet for a very small piece hidden in back of some cabinets. He cut the piece out and it looked like a heavily clogged arterty!

    Cheers, Hugh
     
  4. Riley

    Riley

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    Thanks guys. I think I sorted this out and thought I might as well wind up this thread -

    - my house is about 30 years old but the entire plumbing was gutted and replaced about 5 years ago during an extensive reno.

    - I do have a pressure regulator as most (if not all) houses on city water do in my area (Langley BC, Canada).

    - The pressure regs do have a simple screen filter in them. Mine was clean however.

    - I fixed the shower by cleaning the filter in the shower head. A bunch of crud there.

    - I had already cleaned the kitchen tap filter (last week) and it was full of stuff but still didn't resolve the problem. I took it apart as much as I could to try to clean more pieces of it but it's still not working correctly. I think it's plugged inside a little bit. It needs to be replaced anyway as the paint on it is chipping. Stay away from American Standard fixtures, I'm not impressed.

    - I would like to turn up the pressure on the regulator but need to read the instructions first.

    Thanks guys. Now back to your regular cruiser progamming. Thread out.

    Riley
     
  5. T Y L E R

    T Y L E R

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    [glow=black,2,2]Wonder if you could phone the water dept. and inquire as to weather there has been an increase lately in your consumption .. pointing towards an undetected leak . If it's really cold outside , perhaps your outside facet cracked . and is quietly spewing under the snow . Sometimes I have noticed that one tap in one part of the house will be at a lower pressure until another tap across the system is turned on as well .. seems to change the pressure distribution or something technical I can't imagine .. *L*[/glow]
    [color=555555]T[/color][color=2E3136]T[/color][color=555555]Y[/color][color=2E3136]Y[/color][color=555555]L[/color][color=2E3136]L[/color][color=555555]E[/color][color=2E3136]E[/color][color=555555]R[/color][color=2E3136]R[/color]
     
  6. Junk

    Junk

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    ask a neighbor - if they have same issue, then call water dept (assuming you don't have well water). If you're the only knucklehead with low pressure, then look into the regulator near where the main enters the house. We had one that went bad last year.
     
  7. Riley

    Riley

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    I'm going to crank the water pressure up tonight. Hopefully the hot water tank won't blow!
     
  8. Junk

    Junk

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    Well, unless you want a new tank like wicked fast, I'd check the pressure first. That's what happened to ours and it sucked big time.
     
  9. Photoman

    Photoman SILVER Star

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    Riley,
    Hey, you came to the right place. Normally, there is no need to adjust a regulator. The ones for what we can call city water are usually preset for about 50 psi. For wells, the regular ones are set for the pump to come on at about 40 psi and off at 45 or 50. To adjust the city water regulator, you loosen the locknut and turn the screw/bolt clockwise for more pressure. A water regulator is just like an air regulator - there is a rubber diaphram/spring inside that you are compressing or releasing tension. When I say this is how to turn up the pressure, this assumes that there is more pressure from the main to turn up. Normally you just replace a bad regulator. They are only about $45 US. Also, when they go bad it is usually the diaphram that lets go resulting in high pressure, not low pressure. Replacing them is usually really easy as they should be installed with a union on one side, and the other side just unscrews from a male adapter.
    As far as the water heater goes, they usually have a pressure/temp pop off on them to keep people from blowing themselves up that pops off at like 210F or high pressure.
    If you are getting crud in the shower head etc. I would definately install a whole house water filter to catch the stuff first. They sell them cheap at places like Sears etc.
    As others have said it sounds like you pipes are clogged somewhere. If I was doing it I would shut the water off where it comes into your house (angle valve or whatever); disconnect the regulator, put a bucket in front of the line and turn the valve back on for a second or two. If it comes blasting out you know the problem is in the house; not the line from the main in. Once isolated you can go from there. If you have any questions feel free to PM me. I did that crap - building houses, buildings, and excavating (installing all the utilities etc.) for over 30 years and although ever locality is different, the principles remain the same.

    Bill