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missing hot water pressure

We have recently lost the hot water pressure for our kitchen sink, and in turn have lost the pressure needed to run our dishwasher. We own an old home that is about 80 years old. The hot water heater seems to be in fine shape, though. The washing machine, which is in the basement with the hot water heater, has great hot water pressure. Also, our only bathroom, which is on the second floor, has never had great hot water pressure, but it hasn't diminished like it has for the kitchen. The pipes in the basement seem to be newer and made of copper. However, once they turn and go up through the basement ceiling, they look to be much older. There looks to be only one system of pipes that leads up from the basement, and the bathroom is directly above the kitchen sink.
Also, we have experienced a "bumping" sound coming from the kitchen sink, as if air has been introduced into the line. We do have a sprayer and am not sure if that is the source of the air.

My questions are these:
1) What and where might the problem be?
2) Does this sound like a simple repair that my husband and I (we of very little plumbing experience) might be able to handle, or should we hire a professional?
3) Could the air in the line and the loss of hot water be related?

Thank you.

Re: missing hot water pressure

As far as your low water pressure in your kitchen sink, have you taken the aerators off to see if it is clogged? That would be the first thing I’d try.

I don’t know what to tell you about the bumping sound, though.

Re: missing hot water pressure

There could be several reasons for the low water pressure. It could be mineral or rust deposits that built up inside the old pipes (which may be iron) or something as simple as a clogged aerator. If the aerator is clear, call in a trusted professional to check the pipes and faucets.

Re: missing hot water pressure

I agree. The old pipes are probably deteriorating from the inside out. It is a very common problem but one that will most likely require a plumber. Most of the old houses in this area have galvanized pipe. Upgrading to copper is the preferred method but you may be able to use cpvc as well. Copper has gotten very expensive lately.

Re: missing hot water pressure

Could you advise what type of HWH you have.

Is it a stand-alone gas-fired, oil-fired, electric unit; an instant HWH, or is it connected to a boiler.

Be advised that the HW pressure is dependent on the main cold water supply pressure coming into the house, as well as adequate internal diameter openings of the piping.

Are you having problems with cold water pressure as well?

Unscrewing the aerators from the faucets, as the other posters advised is a good first step; make sure you run the water full blast without the aerator connected for a few seconds to try & remove any sediment in the lines; hold a small wire mesh strainer under the faucet to see if you catch any particles.

The water heater has to be flushed of sediment every few months using the drain faucet at the bottom of the unit, especially if you have hard water.

If this has not been done recently, the sediment can work its way thru the supply pipes & cause clogs, reducing water flow.

Google "troubleshooting water heaters" for numerous sites on this topic.

The site below has a lot of helpful info.

Sometimes the piping has to be reverse flushed if it's clogged with sediment.

If the upper piping is galvanized it's probably mostly clogged.

A plumber could check out the incoming (cold) water pressure (should be ~50 psi), & check the flow rate of the branch piping.

Branch piping from the water main to the HWH & from the HWH must be 3/4" copper or cpvc/pex; the supply lines to fixtures can be 1/2".

Please post back to let us know how you made out.


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