Water pressure or flow problem

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum' started by storyg, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. Jun 9, 2009 #1

    storyg

    storyg

    storyg

    Duster

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    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.
     
  2. Jun 10, 2009 #2

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    StoryG:

    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.
     
  3. Jun 10, 2009 #3

    Redwood

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    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...
     
  4. Jun 10, 2009 #4

    storyg

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    Duster

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

    Again thanks
     
  5. Jun 10, 2009 #5

    handyguys

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    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.
     
  6. Jun 10, 2009 #6

    storyg

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    HandyGuys
    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.
     
  7. Jun 10, 2009 #7

    handyguys

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    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.
     
  8. Jun 11, 2009 #8

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    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.
     
  9. Jun 12, 2009 #9

    Speedbump

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    Do you have a water softener or one of those so called "Whole House Filters" in your plumbing?
     
  10. Jun 12, 2009 #10

    Redwood

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    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.
     
  11. Jun 14, 2009 #11

    storyg

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    Thanks for the input but I still have the problem. I will try to give a better description of it.
    The water pressure problem is the same through out the house. It is a manufactured double wide. Since it is the same problem for the whole house I had the water district check their incoming valve which they said was bad so they replaced or repaired it and set the water pressure at 60lbs. Still have the same problem so I checked the screen in the pressure regulator and it was not clogged enough to cause the problem. I cleaned the screen and turned up the pressure maybe two turns. Still have the same problem but have added another. When using the water or flushing the toilet I hear a banging or something similar coming from the regulator. Should I give up and call a plumber or how can I be sure it is not the regulator?
    Almost forgot... I do have a whole house water softener system but because of the low water pressure I turned it off and set the valve to by pass so it does not go through the system.

    Thanks for taking the time to read and answer these posts.
     
  12. Jun 14, 2009 #12

    inspectorD

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    If they changed or repaired the pressure regulator, how did they know it worked if you are still having the same pressure issue?
    Me thinks you are getting scammed, or they did not put in another "good" regulator. Call em back.
    If you bypassed the softener and filtration system, and checked the screens, this seems like the next step. After that it may be time to flush the system.
    I once had to change 3 starters on my truck until I recieved a good one, and they were checked out at the parts store...hmmmmm...the last one has been in there 10 years.:D
     
  13. Jun 14, 2009 #13

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    I'd also check the water shut off valves on each side of your water meter. One or both of them might not have been fully opened after the last time the city replaced your water meter.

    I'd also phone your town's water utility and ask if a bad water meter could cause the problem you're having.
     
  14. Jun 15, 2009 #14

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    Describe your softening system. Are you sure you bypassed it? It sounds like either your pressure regulator or the softener.
     
  15. Jun 16, 2009 #15

    storyg

    storyg

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    I just wanted to say thanks for the replies and to let everyone know the problem has been fixed. It was the pressure regulator. I found another coupling before the regulator that I could not identify so I took it off along with the regulator and took it to wiseway plumbing. They informed me that it was a shut off valve, the handle had been broken off and it was partly closed. It did cut down the water pressure a little but the regulator was the main problem. I replace both and walla I can now take a shower.
    Aaah the little things in life! :)
     

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