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crazyhouse
low water pressure

just had water dept out to check causes of low water pressure in our house. answer was our hot water heater could be filled with sediment and we should change it. pressure is bad for both hot and cold and ALL fixtures throughout house. house is 12 year old ranch in a high pressure area--across the street from water tower--yet pressure has always seemed low, just lately seems to be getting worse. all valves are fully open, water guy says we have 44psi to the house and switched out water meter, but no help. anybody have any ideas? is water heater really the problem? or is there something else i've overlooked?

goldhiller
Re: low water pressure

If you're across the street from the tower...then there might be a pressure reducing valve (PRV) installed in your incoming supply line. (This would most likely be inside the house... soon-ish after the supply line enters the house) If so, it may be malfunctioning or it may have an internal screen which is obstructed with gunk/sediment.

Is there a whole house filter? If so, it may be slugged and in need of a new filter. These should be changed at least every 6 months regardless because of bacteria accumulation, etc.

Is there a water softener? If so...and BOTH the hot and cold go thru this softener...then the media may be slugged with gunk. Depending upon what that gunk is, you might be able to clean it up and get it going again. If it won't clean up, then you're faced with either replacing the media inside the unit or getting a new unit. Replacing the media isn't really a DIY job unless you have some experience with doing this or know someone who does and can assist. To confirm or eliminate the WS as the culprit, turn/flip/slide the bypass valve on the back of the unit (or a bypass valve array nearby) so that the water flow bypasses the softener and see if that resolves the problem.

Sounds to me like your water department guy isn't thinking straight or has no training or experience. A slugged water heater wouldn't effect the cold lines in the house.....only the hot lines.

It is also possible that if there is a softener, it may have malfunctioned while regenerating. IOW, the valves in the head may not have moved completely back into "service" position and so the flow to the house is obstructed to some degree. Again...throwing the bypass valve will tell you if the softener is the problem.

Blake
Re: low water pressure

I agree that the Water Dept. person must inexperienced, he should have given you all of the suggestions that goldhiller did, he should have also tested the static pressure in the water main line for comparison to your house pressure. Depending on the height of the water tower, 44 pounds may be close to the static pressure in the main line. A 100 foot water tower would provide 43 pound of pressure at the ground.

goldhiller
Re: low water pressure

Something else occurs to me this morning - Have you checked/removed and cleaned all the aerators on your faucets, same for showerheads and the screens on your washing machine hoses? The problem might be a simple as that; gunk (that's a technical term) at all the fixtures.

If you have good pressure and flow at the bathtub spout, gunk at the individual fixtures becomes more suspect.....although not necessarily conclusive. That because it's also possible that there is gunk inside the bathtub control valve also. However, *usually* that would be the last place to slug with particles/gunk.

havanagranite
Re: low water pressure
goldhiller wrote:

Something else occurs to me this morning - Have you checked/removed and cleaned all the aerators on your faucets, same for showerheads and the screens on your washing machine hoses? The problem might be a simple as that; gunk (that's a technical term) at all the fixtures.

If you have good pressure and flow at the bathtub spout, gunk at the individual fixtures becomes more suspect.....although not necessarily conclusive. That because it's also possible that there is gunk inside the bathtub control valve also. However, *usually* that would be the last place to slug with particles/gunk.

that was exactally the problem that my inlaws had. unscrewed the end of the faucet and cleaned off the screens and was like a whole new faucet.

goldhiller
Re: low water pressure

You've stated that the water pressure has never been that great. (I think you maybe mean flow, not pressure...but can't say for sure from here.)

Anyway... that (never been that great) leads me to wonder if the pipes are... and have been from the get-go... undersized. As in ....1/2" pipes everywhere instead of 3/4" main and 1/2" branches to the fixtures.

A trained/experienced water department guy shoulda seen/noticed that since the complaint was about low pressure/flow. But then this fella kinda already proved his mental prowess concerning the need to replace your WH to remedy the problem in the cold water lines. Consequently, he likely didn't take note of the pipe sizes at all.

Blue RidgeParkway
Re: low water pressure

what kind of water pipes to you have? asking because galvanized pipes can get all clogged up over time. copper mains can get crimped. busted or leaking in the ground weird stuff like that. our old house in a city near the fire hydrant there was a busted city main that was leaking underground and wasn't noticed because the water infiltrated into the sewers. not until hard winter freeze time was it figured out by the city.

Blake
Re: low water pressure

I would like to see water pressure higher than 44 pounds in the main line, I get complaints in part of our water district that has 55 pounds. Depending on the size, type and length of pipe you could see considerable friction losses to your pressure.
Did the Water Dept. person tell you what the static pressure in the main line is? If not I would check with them to find out to determine if you have a PRV problem.

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