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Old 01-11-2008, 03:36 PM   #1
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Hot water pressure


Hello all,

I apologize if this question has already been posted and answered, but I am a real novice at this and some of the answers for similar questions in the forum discuss steps that I honestly don't understand.

I recently bought an old house that has been remodeled in the last 10-15 years and the upstairs shower has great cold water pressure, but very weak hot water pressure. From the threads I have read it seems the culprit could be debris in the pipes obstructing free flow of hot water. My hot water heater is about 15 years old as well.

How can I solve this problem without calling a plumber? Any help would be greatly appreciated. I would ask though to please speak in layman terms - this area is completely foreign to me. Some previous threads mentioned cartridges - what the heck is a cartridge? HELP...

Thanks!


Last edited by ibrickyo; 01-11-2008 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 01-11-2008, 04:22 PM   #2
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Hot water pressure


Before you start dismantling things and opening up walls.....

If it's an old house that had a remodel, were hot and cold shutoffs added before the shower? If so, the hot water shutoff may have been turned down by the previous owner to restrict usage and save on the heating bills.

If not, perhaps the shower valve - if it's a single handle style - has a built-in blending adjustment on it. Look behind the plate inside the wall. A few of them are real dirtbags to get correctly adjusted. Some are a straight mix, some are a cold water balancing style. I'd check the shower valve itself.

I doubt it's an obstruction but anything's possible.

Lastly, did the hot water line have a "pusher" pump installed on it? If yes, then the pump may have been unplugged or is simply inoperative.

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Old 01-11-2008, 04:55 PM   #3
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Hot water pressure


End Grain, thanks for the reply.

I don't know if there were hot or cold shutoffs added. Where would I find them and what would they look like?

This shower actually has two shower heads with two completely separate faucet sets. I only use one. Each of the sets is a single handle style. Do you have any suggestions on how to determine if the blending adjustment has been correctly done?

Don't know about the "pusher". I assume I would find that near the water heater in the basement?

Thanks in advance....
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Old 01-11-2008, 07:24 PM   #4
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Hot water pressure


Brand of faucet? Single handle pressure balanced cartridge? May be a pressure balanced cartridge that needs to be changed would be my guess. If it is a Moen see thread started by moneymngt "shower valve doesn't mix" on 2nd page.
It could also be dip tube from the water heater clogging the pipe at that point or some scald guard faucets have adjustments to not let the water get too hot if you like. Text back the brand name of the faucet and how it functions ...pulling or turning or lifting the knob or lever to get water pressure

Last edited by jpplumber; 01-11-2008 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 01-11-2008, 07:42 PM   #5
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Hot water pressure


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Originally Posted by ibrickyo View Post
End Grain, thanks for the reply.

I don't know if there were hot or cold shutoffs added. Where would I find them and what would they look like?

This shower actually has two shower heads with two completely separate faucet sets. I only use one. Each of the sets is a single handle style. Do you have any suggestions on how to determine if the blending adjustment has been correctly done?

Don't know about the "pusher". I assume I would find that near the water heater in the basement?

Thanks in advance....
By "pusher" pump, I'm referring to a hot water circulating pump that is usually located close by, if not right at, the water heater. It's plugged into a standard outlet or in some cases hard wired and may even have a timer on it set for a certain period of the day. In homes where it takes a long time for the hot water to reach the more distant parts, these pumps are installed so that the hot water gets there almost instantly, instead of running the shower for two or three minutes and wasting a lot of water. The shower is the biggest reason for the installation of these pumps. Sometimes, cold water is blended in to it underneath the bathroom sinks so that it's temperature-balanced at the vanity faucet and not scalding.

Some mixer shower valves have an indexer on them but you'd have to remove the trim plate to see it. If you have a two-valve, two-head setup, you may just have such a shower valve cartridge.

Again, I don't think it's an obstruction.

Water shutoff valves might have been added during the remodel but they'd be accessible, either underneath the tub if it's an enclosed "Roman" style or in a linen closet or underneath a sink (not the sink shutoffs) or anywhere where it could be visually concealed yet fully accessible if need be.
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Old 01-12-2008, 10:56 AM   #6
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Hot water pressure


Check the flow of hot water at the sink. If it is slow also then the water water pipes could be corroded on the inside. Usally you first notice this condition on the hot water pipe first. The repair is replace the pipe. Can you tell if the hot water pipe is a pipe or is it copper and pvc pipe.

Mike
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Old 01-12-2008, 05:23 PM   #7
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Hot water pressure


in the basement, what size is the cold water pipes?? Then where it goes into the water heater ,what size? and then coming back up out of the heater what size,,,and lastly what size and type of pipe used to go 2 stories high?? ALOT of insufficent pressure is actually TOO small of pipe in critical places!!(with too long of runs)

I have 'seen people *************** and moan how POOR the water system is they are hooked to. When their REAL problem was 3/8 OD or 1/4 in supply lines.(coming off of an inch service line!!)
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Old 01-18-2008, 08:45 AM   #8
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Actually, I did a little testing and this is what happens. The shower is on with the current (lower than desired) water pressure. It is a single handle that allows me to change the temperature of the water. I turn the knob to lower the temperature of the water and the water pressure really spikes and then immediately reduces back. As I choose a lower temperature, the water pressure is higher than at higher water temperatures, but I always have that pretty big spike of water pressure for a second or two. Has anyone seen this before?

To answer some of the previous questions:
Brand of faucet - Not sure. I will check tonight but I know it's not a well known brand such as Moen. It functions in the following manner: I have two turning knobs: one for to turn on or off the water, the other to regulate the water temperature.

Pusher Pump - I did not see a pusher pump near the water heater.

Water Shut off Valve - I did not see one, however I still have one place to look. There is a wall inside a closet that has hinges and is used to access the wiring and piping that runs to the upstairs, no doubt something that was installed when the previous owners finished the attic into what is now the main room.

Type of Pipe - All the pipes in the house are copper.

Justdon - I need to go look at the pipes to figure out what sizes, etc. I will get back to you on that.

Thanks again all!!!!
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Old 01-18-2008, 01:48 PM   #9
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Hot water pressure


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Originally Posted by ibrickyo View Post
It is a single handle that allows me to change the temperature of the water. I turn the knob to lower the temperature of the water and the water pressure really spikes and then immediately reduces back. As I choose a lower temperature, the water pressure is higher than at higher water temperatures, but I always have that pretty big spike of water pressure for a second or two. Has anyone seen this before?
Did it ever work right?

If you turned the knob more slowly, would the spike last a longer time and perhaps get hot?

I would be suspicious of an obstruction in the hot water line somewhere.

What I would want to do is disassemble the shower faucet assembly, open any shutoff valves or anti-scald restrictors wide, and then see if any obstruction was loose debris that could be forced through with a (hopefully) short turn on of the water while the faucet was disassembled. Since there are two controls, there would be two places to disassemble. Or maybe, in addition, disassemble shutoff valves, etc. in case debris hung up there.

Shutoffs could be screwdriver adjustments at the shower faucet, under the trim plate.

Last edited by AllanJ; 01-18-2008 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 01-18-2008, 02:05 PM   #10
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It has not worked right since I've been there - since August. If I turn the knob slowly, the spike is less pronounced I think but I'd want to test before saying definitively.

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