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Old 02-10-2013, 04:27 PM  
frankflynn
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Default Almost no Hot water in shower

I have a 1930's house. This shower was added a little bit later. All of the plumbing involved here is galvanized and at least 50 years old. Here is the shower - hot water full open:



The cold water in the shower, Toilet and Sink (both hot and cold) work fine and have good flow. But the hot water in the shower is severely restricted.

It has separate hot and cold valves and I have taken the valve apart to clean it out (nothing much to clean out). I turned on the water to the house while the valve was apart hoping to flush anything out of the like (the pressure coming out of the hole was not very much).

So:

Am I correct in assuming that the problem is rust in the hot water line?

And the only way to fix it is to replace the pipe?

Most of the rest of the house is already copper and while doing another project downstairs I ran new copper hot and cold lines to just behind the shower (these are capped and have nothing to do with the current system).

The problem with switching to the copper lines is this shower is in a dormer and although it's possible to crawl behind the shower through the attic space you can only get to the bottom 2' or so. Since the sink right next to it has good hot water flow I'm assuming the blockage is likely to be in the shower wall and the only way to get to is is to rip out that wall. That might be the thing to do if time and money were not objects but sadly they are.

Thanks for any thoughts.
Frank





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Old 02-10-2013, 05:45 PM  
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Worst case,
http://www.howmuchisit.org/cost-to-repipe-a-house/



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Old 02-10-2013, 06:24 PM  
frankflynn
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Well - most of the rest of the house has been re-plumbed already. Perhaps that's why I'm broke and did not particularly want to rip out these walls just yet. I do intend to remodel that whole bath but if I have to do it now it will necessarily be a much cheaper job perhaps on the order of a fiberglass panel wall that I will rip out again in a few years.

That might be for the best anyway.

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Old 02-10-2013, 07:28 PM  
kok328
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You might try "snaking" out the line and see if you can bust up some of the obstruction in the pipe. Keep in mind this will be a temporary fix at best and rust can be hard to chip away with a plumbing snake (I'd try an electrical fish tape for better results).

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Old 02-11-2013, 07:53 AM  
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"Scaling" tools & bits remove rust but I'm not sure they will work in a small ID pipe.
You shouid probably be getting enough GPM out of that pipe so that you can fill a 5 gal. bucket in a minute.

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Old 02-11-2013, 09:58 AM  
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Have you taken apart the tap, if this is old style you could have a washer stuck in there when the screw no longer holds it to the valve.

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Old 02-11-2013, 10:16 AM  
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I had a similiar problem years ago. When I took down the 1/2" galvanized line it was so full of corrosion and crap I was amazed any water got through it. I could not see a hole. A fifty year old galvanized hot water pipe is most likely your issue. If you try snaking it some way you could end up with a water leak in the wall as well. Good luck.

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Old 02-11-2013, 12:33 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fireguy5674 View Post
I had a similiar problem years ago. When I took down the 1/2" galvanized line it was so full of corrosion and crap I was amazed any water got through it. I could not see a hole. A fifty year old galvanized hot water pipe is most likely your issue. If you try snaking it some way you could end up with a water leak in the wall as well. Good luck.
Hopefully the junk in the pipe is much less tough than the wall of the pipe.
Maybe you can attack the rust chemically but such a product may not be recommended for pipes carrying potable water.

Speaking of rust, you may want to check for leaks before you start.
With everything off in our house the water meter showed one gallon in three minutes escaping from a pinhole leak in a pipe under our slab.
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:47 PM  
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Sorry I missread the first post. Change to a single lever from the front and use a plate that covers the old holes If you have 2" of access you can use pex and connect to the new copper you have available.



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Old 02-12-2013, 09:38 PM  
frankflynn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fireguy5674 View Post
I had a similiar problem years ago. When I took down the 1/2" galvanized line it was so full of corrosion and crap I was amazed any water got through it. I could not see a hole. A fifty year old galvanized hot water pipe is most likely your issue. If you try snaking it some way you could end up with a water leak in the wall as well. Good luck.
I fear that you are right - that pipe is old enough. Snaking or a chemical treatment would be almost as difficult to administer - and as the other post suggests might cause a leak.

This shower is on the second floor in the middle of the house so a leak is highly undesirable (as if they ever were desirable...).

This weekend is a long one and I guess I'll be doing some demo and see what I got. The plumbing seems fairly straight forward (I've done more complicated projects with good results). But I've never built / rebuilt a shower. I might not need to rip it out fix the plumbing but I will have to rip a hole big enough to get to the pipes.

I will take photos - I might post them if it's not a total disaster


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