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nixplix 10-16-2011 11:09 AM

Low Water Pressure
Home: Single Family, built in 1938

Situation: Water pressure averages 62 psi with a temporary 11 psi drop (toilet flush, fully open faucet)

Problem: Kitchen (1st floor), Shower and sink (2nd floor) water doesn't flow with the "aggressiveness" I've experienced in other homes.

Observation: Section from main water pipe to bathroom shower and sink includes 1/2" galvanized steel, then 1/2" copper, the 1/2" galvanized steel pipes to fixtures.

I've read that this may have more to do with pipe diameter (i.e. increase to 3/4") but, short of replacing pipe system, is there anything else I might be able to do/test before taking out a second mortgage to afford a plumber.

Ishmael 10-16-2011 11:23 AM

The shower head(s) and the aerators (on the ends of the faucet spouts) are probably just clogged with flakes of rust/scale. Unscrew them and flush them out. Let the water run at each fixture after you've removed the shower heads and aerators to flush out the lines as well.

Of course, there's also the possibility that the inside diameter of the galvanized pipe is squeezed down to 1/4" or less due to a build-up of rust. If that's the case, then flushing the fixtures and pipes will only do so much. If you have access to the galvanized pipe, it wouldn't be hard to replace it with PEX tubing. And if it's only one bathroom (tub/shower w 1/2" valve, one toilet, one sink) and a kitchen sink, then 1/2" tubing is plenty.

nixplix 10-16-2011 11:38 AM

Ishmael: Thank you. That's exactly what's been running around in head: replace the galvanized section. While helping a neighbor replace a section of galvanized pipe this summer, we took a peek inside and discovered it caked with crud that would seem to impede smooth water flow. Anyway, I'm taking your approch before anything major, though I'll be replacing it with copper, only because my neighbor has plenty of it lying around from the work we did. Thanks again. I will post results (in case you or anyone is interested).

BTW - the water pressure drops 11 psi, not 5psi when fixtures are open, as originally stated. FWIW.

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