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carzt 11-20-2012 08:23 AM

No Water From Shower?
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I'm renovating an existing house which I don't yet live in. The bathroom was just redone (including new pipes) by a professional plumber. There is quite good water pressure in the sink, light pressure in the rain shower, and just a very slight trickle in the shower and bathtub. The plumber says the pressure is too low, and suggests a water pressure tank. Note this is in the Philippines.

I've attached a diagram of the plumbing.

Is it likely that the lack of water in the shower/tub vs. the sink is just low pressure due to the additional elbows in the pipe going to the shower/tub (8 elbows) vs. to the sink (5 elbows)? How can I estimate the additional pressure required (and thus whether a pressure tank will help and what I should get)?

Thanks for any advice,


joecaption 11-20-2012 08:56 AM

Low pressure? What is the pressure?
What sized line was used as the main line run to the fixtures?

carzt 11-20-2012 09:06 AM

There is no water (or just occasional drops) from the bathtub and the shower. So I guess the pressure is approximately zero! Sorry, I haven't measured the pressure from the sink yet. Subjectively it seems normal/fine. The plumber is returning Saturday and I can ask him to measure the sink pressure. I don't believe he has measured it - he's just saying that the fact there is no water in the but/shower proves the water pressure is too low. I believe the pipe both from the road to the bathroom and inside the bathroom is 3/4" or 1" - again I can confirm on Saturday.

joecaption 11-20-2012 09:41 AM

It's common when new plumbing is done to have trash in the lines that can cause the anti scald or orifaces in the control valve to plug up.
Have you tryed removing the shower head and see what happens.
Even if the pressure was low something should be coming out of the tub faucet.

carzt 11-21-2012 08:15 AM

There are just a few drops coming out of the tub faucet; not even a trickle. There is a little water coming out of the upper (rain) shower head. It sounds like a few extra turns in the pipes wouldn't cause that? So there must be some plug or other obstruction?

I haven't taken off the shower heads; can try that.

If something in the mixer or diverter is plugged, can that be "unplugged" without opening up the wall?

joecaption 11-21-2012 08:25 AM

Got a picture or model and make if the valve.
With that info someone can tell you how to remove the handles and stems.
The plumber really should be doing all this since he installed it.
The water supply gets shut off handle and stems get remove, cut water back on for a second to blow out the lines, inspect the the valve housing and the stem assemblys for any damage or blockage.

And yes it's all done from the front side with no need to open up the wall.

carzt 11-21-2012 08:31 AM

diverter/mixer and plumber
Thanks again.

It sounds like this can all be done without opening up the wall, which is encouraging.

I'm hoping I can find a professional plumber here to help with this... in the meantime am trying to make sure I know what to ask the plumber to try rather than having him just shrug.

(parts are "PN-4020B - Pioneer Pressure Balance Valve" and "PN-199733B - Pioneer Three Way Diverter Valve")

- Chris

Daniel Holzman 11-21-2012 08:39 AM

A few extra turns cannot account for the drastic difference in flow. Each bend introduces perhaps a tenth of one psi difference in pressure, not significant in your case. I am a little confused about your need to seek out a professional plumber, you said you had a plumber working for you, was he not a professional?

As to the pressure, you have a low flow situation, not necessarily a low pressure situation. The two are quite distinct, in that low flow can easily be caused by debris in the lines, plugged orifices, a partially closed valve etc. Low pressure is almost always a problem of inadequate pressure at the source, which could be a well, municipal water, or some shared system. Perhaps if you describe your water supply, that would help.

In any case, you measure pressure at the source where the water enters the house using a pressure gage, which can generally be attached to a faucet or hose bib. In the US, pressure is generally in the 40-80 psi range at the house entrance, and it decreases towards the fixtures. The pressure drop can be computed based on elevation difference, line losses in the pipe, and fitting losses. Total pressure drop to the most distant fixture is generally less than 10 psi, but of course you can measure the actual pressure at the fixtures with a gage.

joecaption 11-21-2012 08:45 AM

May want to try and go on there web site and see if you can find the parts break down.
If the spool is stuck in the balancing valve or there's only one of the two supplys going to it is shut off or block there's not going to be any water.

carzt 11-21-2012 09:22 AM

Thanks joecaption and Daniel. It sounds like there is either an obstruction or some problem with the mixer/diverter. The latter could be an issue - maybe the plumber wasn't so familiar with this imported equipment.

- You said "If the spool is stuck in the balancing valve or there's only one of the two supplys going to it is shut off or block there's not going to be any water." Right now I think only the cold water is supplying water to the mixer; is that an issue?

- The water supply is from the Manila (Philippines) municipal water company (city water - no wells or anything).
- It's tough find really professional plumbers here.
- Thanks for the comments on pressure/flow

joecaption 11-21-2012 09:30 AM

If there's only water on one side of the valve it's not going to work.
Been there done that.
Told my helper to turn on the water, all he did was open the main incoming water valve, he never open the valve on the water heater. Spent 1/2 the day trying to figure out what was wrong. Opened the valve and it worked fine after that.

carzt 11-21-2012 09:46 AM

That could be the problem
Hah, I hope that's the problem. Actually, I'm pretty sure the hot water isn't on yet. Since there is some water coming from the rainshower, but not from the tub faucet, that seems to me to argue against this being the issue. But I will certainly give it a try tomorrow. If that doesn't work, will make sure the plumber flushes the lines and will look with him at the diverter and mixer to try to be sure there are no obstructions.



carzt 11-24-2012 11:45 PM

Met with plumber
1 Attachment(s)
joecaption and Daniel:

I met with the plumber on Saturday. He said the problem was low pressure, but he hadn't actually measured the pressure. So we measured it and the pressure is about 48 psi. Shouldn't be a problem, right? So we discussed further and he admitted he isn't very familiar with this sort of imported equipment (mixer/diverter).

Previously we had the hot water off so water was only actually coming in to one side of the mixer. When we turned on the hot water so both input pipes to the mixer had water, then pressure from the rain shower was very good. But when we turned the diverter handle to send water to the bath tub or regular shower instead there was almost nothing.

I had the plumber take everything off (without opening up the wall) and I noticed that when the mixer was still in place but the trim was off the diverter, water was only coming out of one of the diverter holes (see attached picture). I believe this is the problem - there must be something blocking the other two holes or somehow it's installed incorrectly. Is this right? The plumber said he would open it up and check.

Thanks again,


oh'mike 11-25-2012 05:46 AM

He may have the water feed line piped to an outlet ----can you blow into the tub spout and identify the hole?

That is the one that will not pass water---make sure if is clear---then find the installation instructions---

See if the inlet is pipes correctly--then see if the cartridge is installed correctly.

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