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Old 01-30-2016, 09:15 AM   #1
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Equalizing water pressure when two faucets running


I have a basement apartment and when I'm in the shower and the tenant runs his water my shower almost stops running. I have a trunk-and-branch system.

I have a private septic and have the pressure turned up as high as I can safely go. House built in the 70's. All off the faucets filters and shower heads are routinely cleaned.


Is there a way to equalize the pressure?

Would a home run or placing submanifold system set up help with this?

How about an inline water booster for the upstairs?

The basement has plenty of pressure and when the tenant runs his water my shower basically stops. My shower is very close to the water heater but it's on the second floor. Not sure what to do but I'm ready to change the plumbing to whatever may work best. Thanks

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Old 01-30-2016, 10:17 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by skobydog View Post
I have a basement apartment and when I'm in the shower and the tenant runs his water my shower almost stops running. I have a trunk-and-branch system.

I have a private septic and have the pressure turned up as high as I can safely go. House built in the 70's. All off the faucets filters and shower heads are routinely cleaned.


Is there a way to equalize the pressure?

Would a home run or placing submanifold system set up help with this?

How about an inline water booster for the upstairs?

The basement has plenty of pressure and when the tenant runs his water my shower basically stops. My shower is very close to the water heater but it's on the second floor. Not sure what to do but I'm ready to change the plumbing to whatever may work best. Thanks
you have more of a lack of volume than pressure...my guess is the whole house in plumbed on 1/2" piping...you need to run 3/4" main lines with 1/2" branches....no more than 2 fixtures feeding off 1/2".. that will increase your volume demand..if your pressure is around 55-70...that should be fine...

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Old 01-30-2016, 11:03 AM   #3
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I agree, 3/4 will have about twice the flow of a 1/2 line.
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Old 01-30-2016, 12:23 PM   #4
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I guess it's not fair to ask this question without thoroughly showing you guys my set up. There were issues when I bought this house and although I've made progress there's still issues.

When I have some time I'll work on getting some actual pressure readings, schematics, and maybe some pictures for you guys.

I probably won't do anything until spring. Thanks for your help but again, not fair unless you see what I'm working with. Thanks
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Old 01-30-2016, 01:29 PM   #5
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We have similar in our 2-1/2 bath house. Only one can shower at a time.

Some ideas:
- Replace the tenant's faucets and shower heads. New fixtures are all low flow and a frustration for me.
- If a single pipe serves your tenant, cut in a globe valve and throttle in some resistance.
- Run a home run pex right from the hot water to your shower fixture.
- Put the tenant on their own 40 gallon hot water heater. Cheapest size, enough for an apartment and prevents wasteful use by running out of hot water.
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Old 01-30-2016, 01:50 PM   #6
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Pressure reading are going to be useless.
Your issue is flow not pressure.
Picture this, hook up a garden hose and time how long it takes to fill up a 5 gal. bucket.
Now try hooking it up to a 1/4 hose and see how long it takes.
Got the same amount of pressure just no flow.
Hook a pressure gauge to the end of ether line line and at rest there both going to read the same.
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Old 01-30-2016, 02:07 PM   #7
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When you have flow problems, pressure drop at the fixture is a result of the lack of flow. It is not the cause. Increasing the pressure in an attempt to solve the problem can actually make the problem worse, not better.
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Old 01-30-2016, 02:19 PM   #8
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Water hammer.
Leaking pipes.
Toilet valve malfuntioning.
To name a few.
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Old 01-30-2016, 03:16 PM   #9
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what kind of water pipes do you have? are you sure the main water valve is turned on all the way? do you have a well for water or public water? private septic doesnt mean anything here...
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Old 01-30-2016, 03:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oso954 View Post
When you have flow problems, pressure drop at the fixture is a result of the lack of flow. It is not the cause. Increasing the pressure in an attempt to solve the problem can actually make the problem worse, not better.
The current pipe configuration may disproportionately favor the tenant. Yes, increasing pressure will reduce flow - for the tenant. The rest goes to the landlord.
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Old 01-30-2016, 07:12 PM   #11
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you need to increase volume....not pressure....really don't make much differance what set up you have ...imo...// from what your explaining
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Old 02-27-2016, 04:29 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by throrope View Post
We have similar in our 2-1/2 bath house. Only one can shower at a time.

Some ideas:
- Replace the tenant's faucets and shower heads. New fixtures are all low flow and a frustration for me.
- If a single pipe serves your tenant, cut in a globe valve and throttle in some resistance.
- Run a home run pex right from the hot water to your shower fixture.
- Put the tenant on their own 40 gallon hot water heater. Cheapest size, enough for an apartment and prevents wasteful use by running out of hot water.
I have trunk/branch system. A 1" pipe coming off my pressure tank. From there it reduces to 3/4" and feeds my water heater. Out the water heater is 3/4" tubing and reduces to 1/2" for shower, sinks, etc (there are more sinks/baths than the pictures are showing).

As you can see there are 3/4" hot and cold lines coming off tees that feed the tenant with his water which reduce to 1/2" in his walls to supply his shower and sinks.

Additional supply lines go to a washer and third bath upstairs but everything is 1/2".


Regardless of what I do I need to put shut off valves in because I can't work on either unit without shutting down the entire house. It's a PIA when I need to work anything. Plus I'd like a quick shut off if for emergency purposes.

I'd like to add the globe valves to limit some volume to his unit. I want to add shut off valves anyway, I'm assuming this will help with "pressure" to my shower? Any issues with the valve set ups shown in the pics?

The home run manifold is not feasible with the tenant's portion due to his pipes being in the walls.

I could do something like the third picture with a sub manifold feeding the lines to my unit. Most of this is close to the water heater. I guess this would help with getting hot water there quicker but would this also help with my water "pressure" when tenant is flushing his toilet? Probably not but I need to ask anyway. I may do this wither way for quicker hot water.

Thought about putting him on his own water heater. I ended up buying a 50 gallon heat pump water heater. Because he and I are the only residents my electric bill averages $40/month so not cost-effective buying a second water heater IMO.


What I didn't mention was I turned my pressure tank turned up approximately two years ago. When I moved in the pressure tank was set at 30/50PSI. I could barely take a shower. I checked all the pipes and there was no corrosion inside that I could find. I've put in a number of new faucets and cleaned all the aerators. I change my water filters regularly. At first I turned my pressure up to 40/60. I then upped it to 50/70PSI and was finally able to spray water with my kitchen sprayer. I know the pressure is high but it's barely enough to run my shower. Even at this level the shower still goes down to a trickle when the tenant flushes his toilet (new Symmons Temptrol shower valve installed appr one year ago).

I'm hoping that limiting the flow to his unit will do the trick. Anyone see any issues with the valve set up?

The tenant is going away next month which will allow me to rework some of this plumbing. At the very least I'll be able to add shut off valves to be able to work on my side without shutting him down.

If this doesn't work I don't know what else to try. Maybe an auxiliary pump or second water pressure tank? I really shouldn't have to go this route but I'm sick of "timing" my showers to when the tenant is not home.
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Last edited by skobydog; 02-27-2016 at 04:57 AM.
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Old 02-27-2016, 05:07 AM   #13
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Top pic has shut off valves for each unit and a globe valve to limit flow to tenant.

To the left the water is going to tenant (basement apartment) and to the right is my house upstairs.

The bottom pic includes a manifold. This would only be on hot side unless there's a benefit for both hot and cold.
Attached Thumbnails
Equalizing water pressure when two faucets running-plumbing-shut-off-valves2.jpg   Equalizing water pressure when two faucets running-plumbing-shut-off-valves-submanifold2.jpg  

Last edited by skobydog; 02-27-2016 at 05:15 AM.
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Old 02-27-2016, 06:09 AM   #14
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if you had issues when you moved in you have to make sure the pipes dont have debris stuck in them some place..can you feed your side of the house from the 1 inch trunk line?
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Old 02-27-2016, 07:40 AM   #15
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if you had issues when you moved in you have to make sure the pipes dont have debris stuck in them some place..can you feed your side of the house from the 1 inch trunk line?
This past summer from the pressure tank I removed all the existing 1" pipe and replaced with new 1" Pex. Even though the Pex is smaller in diameter I was able to eliminate eight (8) 90 degree elbows which I believe makes up for it. The copper pipe I removed was clear of any debris. There was no noticeable difference when I changed out the pipe.

I do have to change my house filters quite often. Could the pressure tank itself have sediment clogged inside? The last time I emptied no sediment came out.

Funny thing I just realized. When I run the bathroom sink when the shower is running there really isn't much of a decrease in "pressure". I "think" (not entirely sure) it's really noticeable only when tenants toilet is running.

I'll have to run some more scenarios. Hopefully he's home this afternoon and I'll have him run water in his unit and see what happen unless someone else has another idea.

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Last edited by skobydog; 02-27-2016 at 07:49 AM.
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