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Old 05-21-2015, 09:05 AM   #1
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Shower/Tub Faucet Pressure Problems


Hey everybody!

I bought a duplex recently and am having issue with the tub/shower pressure. This unit (bottom of a two story duplex) has 3 beds and 1 full bath. I have posted a video helping illustrate the situation and to provide a visual.

VIDEO - https://youtu.be/hi522pm5vqw

In a nutshell - the shower pressure is so low that taking a shower would actually be impossible. The tub faucet seems to be delivering more water, but not by much. My observations:
- the bathroom sink pressure seems ok
- the kitchen sink pressure seems ok
- water from the outside hose bib delivers plenty of water

What could be causing this? It has been like this since I bought the home. I believe its a more recent thing as the tenants (moved out just before I purchased the home) would have certainly not put up with it. Also, this would have shown up in the inspection. There are no tenants living there now but the top tenants have never complained about water pressure.

If anyone has any tips/pointers, I would greatly appreciate your feedback!
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Old 05-21-2015, 09:06 AM   #2
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Video


VIDEO - https://youtu.be/hi522pm5vqw
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Old 05-21-2015, 09:30 AM   #3
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Whats the house water pressure at the meter?
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Old 05-21-2015, 09:33 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Ghostmaker View Post
Whats the house water pressure at the meter?
Honestly I don't know, I would need to check.
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Old 05-21-2015, 09:42 AM   #5
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looks like there is a bit of calcium buildup on that shower head which would weaken the the flow as well as clog the volume restrictor built into the head. Take the shower head off the neck and see how the water flow looks. Also, the pressure at other areas did not seem particularly strong. You might want to make sure that the vavle is open all the way at the meter, or to the apartment itself.
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Old 05-21-2015, 10:08 AM   #6
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My uneducated guess is pressure is prolly okay based on that outdoor hose bib's flow rate.

Since the problem is limited to the tub/shower, my mind goes to the valve. Modern single-handle valves are typically pressure-balanced. This is in an attempt to prevent you from getting scalded when you're showering and someone uses cold water somewhere else. However, this also means that if pressure is low on one side (hot or cold), the pressure will be restricted on the other side (cold or hot) to match (balance).

Since the outdoor hose bib flows well, the problem is likely the hot water.

If the previous occupants never flushed the hot water heater, there may be a lot of sediment built up. Some of it may have gotten sucked up the dip tube and is now lodged in your tub/shower valve. I'd start out with flushing the water heater. If water is slow to come out the flush valve, then the water heater's cold supply shutoff valve may be gunked up. Turn it off and on a few times (if it's frozen, there's yer problem).

Once you're sure the problem is not the cold supply valve, check for any energy-saving devices on the heater inlet and outlet. These tend to jam up with sediment and block flow. If you're sure they are not the culprit and flow is still low, pull apart that tub/shower valve cartridge and look for sediment or wear.
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Old 05-21-2015, 10:11 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tylernt View Post
My uneducated guess is pressure is prolly okay based on that outdoor hose bib's flow rate.

Since the problem is limited to the tub/shower, my mind goes to the valve. Modern single-handle valves are typically pressure-balanced. This is in an attempt to prevent you from getting scalded when you're showering and someone uses cold water somewhere else. However, this also means that if pressure is low on one side (hot or cold), the pressure will be restricted on the other side (cold or hot) to match (balance).

Since the outdoor hose bib flows well, the problem is likely the hot water.

If the previous occupants never flushed the hot water heater, there may be a lot of sediment built up. Some of it may have gotten sucked up the dip tube and is now lodged in your tub/shower valve. I'd start out with flushing the water heater. If water is slow to come out the flush valve, then the water heater's cold supply shutoff valve may be gunked up. Turn it off and on a few times (if it's frozen, there's yer problem).

Once you're sure the problem is not the cold supply valve, check for any energy-saving devices on the heater inlet and outlet. These tend to jam up with sediment and block flow. If you're sure they are not the culprit and flow is still low, pull apart that tub/shower valve cartridge and look for sediment or wear.

tylernt - Would changing the cartridge be a viable solution before getting into all of that?
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Old 05-21-2015, 10:15 AM   #8
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tylernt - Would changing the cartridge be a viable solution before getting into all of that?
Sure, but the cartridge can be a little on the spendy side depending on the model, and that wouldn't address the possible underlying sediment problem that caused the malfunction in the first place.

If you're looking for the easiest route, I'd replace the cartridge but still flush the water heater. Heaters should be flushed annually anyway.
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