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storyg 06-09-2009 11:16 AM

Water pressure or flow problem
The problem. If I flush the toilet and turn on the sink faucet the water just barely comes out. Once the toilet tank is full if I turn on the faucet the water starts out strong but then starts slowing down. We cannot use the shower because of this. I have read about testing the flow using a 5 gallon bucket and timing how many seconds it takes to fill it. Ha it would take about hours to fill it not seconds.
I called the water district and they check out the main valve from the their water line and said it was bad. They either replaced or repaired it saying they set the pressure to 60 lbs. They also said the type of valve I have is not adjustable. I am assuming that means the valve is set with maybe a pressure spring on the inside. (guessing). I do have a pressure regulator under the house but the water was fine until just last week.(It has always been a little low)
I still have the problem. What would be the best way to find if it is an incoming problem with the valve or something in the house. Would this be a pressure or flow problem?

Thanks for any help.

Nestor_Kelebay 06-09-2009 07:57 PM


Water flow will often slow down from faucets when they are first turned on. The reason is that the rubber washer that presses against the brass seat in the faucet to shut the water flow off actually deforms quite a bit. Once you open the faucet and the rubber washer is allowed to return to it's original shape, it gradually pinches off the water flow.

You can minimize this problem by simply not tightening down your faucet handles as much.

Phone around to the plumbing wholesalers in your area and ask if they sell a water pressure tester. This is simply a pressure gauge plumbed onto the end of a female hose fitting. You simply screw this tester onto the drain valve on your water heater and open the valve to read the water pressure in your house's supply lines. You can buy a pressure gauge and make one yourself for a few dollars worth of materials.

60 psig is on the upper end of what's considered "typical". Here in Winnipeg, the water pressure is a pretty steady 40 psig. In cities with large hills, like San Fransisco, they have to have a very high water pressure to ensure that people living at the top of a hill have adequate water pressure, just as those living at the bottom. Typically, those at the bottom will have pressure regulators like you have to ensure that the pressure of their water isn't TOO HIGH.

Anyhow, 60 psig water pressure should be way more than enough. If your house's water pressure is considerably lower than that, it's probably your own house's pressure regulator. Check your pressure regulator. It may very well have a filtration screen in it that needs cleaning. That would explain what you're observing. If the screen in your pressure regulator is all clogged up, then you will get high pressure in your water supply piping, but as soon as there's flow out any of the faucets, the pressure will be limited to whatever flow can occur through the partially clogged filtration screen.

Maybe put a pressure tester on your hot water tank, and then have a helper open the hot water on your laundry room sink until the flow diminishes and stabilizes. Then close the faucet to stop the flow. If the pressure drops rapidly when the faucet is opened, and then gradually builds back up again, that would be typical of a restriction to flow into your house (like a partially clogged filtration screen in your pressure regulator.

Redwood 06-09-2009 10:14 PM

I would agree with Nestor...

You have a restriction someplace and the screen for the pressure reducing valve is a good place to start.
The PRV may also be bad...
Or, You may just have some very old Galv. pipes that are rusted closed...

storyg 06-10-2009 03:40 AM

Thanks for your help I will check out the the pressure as suggested and also check out the pressure regulator.

Again thanks

handyguys 06-10-2009 08:04 AM

First place I would check is the stem washer (assuming that's the style) of the fixtures that run slow/variable. Its easy to do and a cheap/quick possible fix.

storyg 06-10-2009 12:15 PM

Not sure what you mean by stem washer. This is a fairly new house (built in 2000) and it is through out the the house no matter what faucet is turned on.

handyguys 06-10-2009 12:28 PM

Ah - OK - More info helps.

Some faucets have a stem below the handle that when you turn it compresses a washer against a seat. More modern faucets may have some type of cartridge or ball. In the stem style I have seen where the head of the screw corrodes off and the washer free floats and can slow down water flow. It becomes more evidenced when another nearby fixture is being used. for these types of faucets its an easy and inexpensive fix.

if its your whole house, and its a newer house, then I doubt thats the issue.

Good luck.

Nestor_Kelebay 06-10-2009 09:02 PM

See if there's a manufacturer's name and model number on the pressure reducing valve. If so, you can probably download the technical literature that came with that valve, and that will tell you if there's a filtration screen in it and how to remove it.

If there's a filtration screen in it, see if it has a part number. If so, you can probably get a replacement filtration screen for it so that you can replace a clogged screen with a cleaned one in one operation instead of having to clean the screen while it's out.

Speedbump 06-12-2009 09:13 AM

Do you have a water softener or one of those so called "Whole House Filters" in your plumbing?

Redwood 06-12-2009 11:24 AM


Originally Posted by Speedbump (Post 31332)
Do you have a water softener or one of those so called "Whole House Filters" in your plumbing?

Another real good possibility!

Basically you have something that is not letting the water pass in any substantial volume.

It could be anyplace from the supply coming into the house to the points where you see the problem.

You need to find and fix it, or, hire someone who can...

One thing for sure is this cam only be troubleshot at your home.
I would go at it in a systematic manner to determine where the problem exists.

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