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narual
Low water pressure - overflowing basement

Hi there!
I recently had a tenant move out of my old carriage house, and when I went in to inspect the apartment, noticed the water pressure was very low. I asked him about it and he said it had been that way for months but he managed OK with it (mostly because the showerhead is a low-flow one).

At first I assumed that I'd turned the wrong knob when I shut off the outside faucets for winter, but I tested it today and found that that wasn't the case. I went upstairs and turned on all the water... it could run a sink OK, but any more than that and the pressure dropped dramatically.

I went down into the garage/basement area and noticed the floor was covered in what looked like paper. Then I noticed the... I don't know what the correct term is for it, but in one of the larger water lines, there's a sort of upwards angled open pipe coming out the side, I assume for cleanout or for air... and water was coming out of it. I don't know for sure if it was the water from the drain or the water from the tap, but I'm sure it was a bad thing, and it made me think the paper on the floor was probably toilet paper.

I remember something similar happening in a house I was renting about 15 years ago, and the landlord brought in a roto-rooter type service, but I don't know if that'd be the case here, since there are only two trees anywhere near the building.

Does anyone know what's going on, and what I need to do?

I should add -- city water/sewer, and the water pressure at the outside tap is fine when I turn that on. The building's probably 100 years old, but the plumbing seems pretty modern copper + PVC and some PEX where the lines had burst in the last few years when the heating failed. (I've only owned hte place about 9 months so I'm not really sure on some of the details)

rdesigns
Re: Low water pressure - overflowing basement

The open pipe could be a cleanout whose plug was removed for cleaning and not replaced.

The low water pressure is a separate problem.

You probably need to hire a plumber.

narual
Re: Low water pressure - overflowing basement

Sorry for not updating this with the solutions.

The drain pipe to the sewer needed to be roto-rooted. Badly. Very badly. It took almost 3 hours.

The low water pressure was a very complicated problem: There was another shutoff valve on the line going to the upstairs that came after the primary shutoff valve, and it was only open to about 10%.

Upon opening it to 100%, oddly enough, the water pressure was restored.

In my defense, it wasn't particularly easy to spot because of other visual obstructions. :)

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