Low Water Pressure in Shower/Tub - HELP!

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by JamesB, Jan 7, 2005.

  1. JamesB

    JamesB New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I am new to this forum, and to plumbing in general. I hope someone might have some insight into a problem that has me stymied!

    The water pressure in the shower/tub is very low. It takes 15 seconds to fill a 32oz glass with water from the tub spout (about 1 gallon per minute). The flow rate is approximately the same from the shower head. The diverter is a gate-type diverter located in the tub spout (two handle faucet set-up). The rate is the same for hot water only, cold water only, or both fully open.

    The flow rate from the bathroom sink is 1.5 gallons per minute. The bathroom is upstairs, and the sink and shower are fed by the same set of copper pipes (1/2" I believe). I also get 1.5 gallons per minute in the kitchen sink. It is an older home (some iron pipe in the basement) on a public water system.

    I have done a test by removing the hot water faucet cartridge, and cold water cartridge, one at a time. In each case I get a strong flow of water directly from the wall into the shower. It certainly seemed much stronger than the tub spout output. No time to measure as it was making too much of a mess.

    Here is my question. Is it possible that the seemingly innoculous "mixing chamber" within the faucet can get obstructed? I would think it is just a hollow chamber that connects two inputs (hot and cold) with two outputs (tub spout and shower head). The diverter is on the tub spout.

    Anybody have any ideas on this? I am completely bewildered. :confused: Thanks in advance! :)

    James B
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2005
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,055
    Location:
    New England
    on many faucets, there is a metal screen on the input. This is to prevent any chunks from getting inside of the valve and messing with the seals or blocking things off. It is better to catch it prior to the valve than within it! So, it seems like it may be those screens a clogged. If you can find a parts list diagram for your faucet/tub filler, etc. maybe on the web at the manufacturer's site, it will give you an idea if there is one. On the faucets say at the vanity, there is also a screen on the aereator which, if clogged, will affect the flow. From what I read, the tub filler should flow in the area of about 6 gallons/min (that's just approximate - depends on pressure, and other things). The showerhead (if new) is maxed at about 2.5gpm. Some tub/shower valves could show this effect if the internal seals are bad.

    How old is the tub fixture? What brand? Do you know the model?

    Galvanized pipes become clogged, eventually, you'll need to replace them.

    Note, I'm not a pro.
  3. JamesB

    JamesB New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Thanks, Jim. I haven't seen the manufacturer's name printed anywhere on the faucet, so I'm not sure of the brand. UPDATE 1/8/05 - SHOWER HEAD IS LABELED "ALSON" AND MATCHES THE FAUCET DECOR. It is at least 3 years old. I am familiar with the screen on the aereator (bathroom sink), as that needs cleaning every month or so. Interestingly, there is a screen in the shower head which never seems to get a debris build-up. Maybe there is a screen at the faucet as you suggest. However, the faucet is sweated on, so I have no idea how one would (easily) get to it for routine cleaning.

    Other details on the shower faucet: The cartridge is a plastic cylinder with a hole in the bottom, and a hole in the side. The hole in the side aligns with a hole in a metal cylinder when opened. There is no debris in the cartridge.

    Your right about the galvenized pipes...there is a lot of build-up in them already.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2005
  4. JamesB

    JamesB New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Problem Solved!

    There must have been an obstruction within the shower faucet body. This is how it was resolved, for those that may have a similar problem.

    First, I removed the tub spout, and turned on both hot and cold water. While the water was running, I took a hammer and tapped the faucet from behind, directly on the mixing chamber. Short, quick, machine-gun taps. Also tapped out along the faucet to each side, where the water enters. The idea was to shake loose any debris and have it flushed out. I did not bang on the copper pipes, and was a little leary about hammering too hard and causing a leak.

    Next, I capped off the tub spout, and removed the shower head. Using an ear-flushing bulb, I squirted some white vinegar into the shower arm. Also shot in some WD-40 prior to the vinegar. The idea here was to get enough solution into the faucet's mixing chamber, and allow it to soak. The original plan was to allow it to soak overnight, but a leak in the tub spout cap preventing soaking for any more than a few minutes. Removed the cap, and turned on the water. It was flowing strongly! I found a pellet-shaped piece of "calcium" on the floor of the tub...most likely the culprit.

    Tub/Shower flow is now nearly 2 gallons per minute....about twice as good as what it was, and a little better than the sink. Not as good as a new home, but liveable.

    Hope this info can be helpful to someone else. If so, I would like to hear.

    James B
  5. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    I think you are on the right track. I have had 1/2 of a flat rubber washer break loose in the system and lodge in the mixing valve crossover. If you can run a hose from an outside faucet ahead of your main shutoff, connect it to the tub spout with the valve stems removed. Messy, but it can work.
  6. JamesB

    JamesB New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Photo of Culprit

    Great idea. I think that method is definitely worth a try. In my case, there was a water shut-off right at the tub, so the hose faucet would have been operational.

    I have posted a picture of the "culprit" as an attachment.

    James B

    Attached Files:

  7. shannonhamilton

    shannonhamilton New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Maine
    Low water pressure - best showerhead I ever bought!

    I live in Maine and have a well. My water pressure has always been bad. My wife and my children have always complained that they can not rinse the soap off their skin or the shampoo out of their hair. I think that I bought and tried every shower head that I could ever find in every home center and hardware store in New England. They were all junk!!! Finally I found the solution at a small home show in Portland. A company was there that specializes in shower heads for low water pressure. Their name was Water Management in Boston, MA, and their website address is TAKEASHOWER.COM. They sold me a shower head that worked so well with my low water pressure that it almost felt like we had drilled another well. IT WAS UNBELIEVABLE!!!! Unlike all the other shower heads we bought this one actually worked. If you are suffering from low water pressure you MUST visit this website. I only wish that I had found this company 10 years ago when I first moved to Maine because I would have eliminated a decade of suffering in the shower for me, my wife and my family.
  8. John Reynolds

    John Reynolds New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Maine
    Thanks for the advice

    I checked out www.takeashower.com after your blog. I asked lots of questions and decided to give the handheld a try. My wife and I are amazed with our shower now. She was very happy with their product and believe me she is hard to please. Thank you Mr. Hamilton for your tip.
  9. i think this is a sybil attack where coordinating aliases help each other out. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reputation_system#Attacks_on_reputation_systems

    here we have two identities claiming to be real people, and of course this could give rise to claims of being sincere.

    i think that instead of deleting these posts and others with the same text, it could be good to edtit them down to a very small size so that they remain recorded.

    david
  10. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    I don't think 2 instances in 6 months qualifies as a sybil attack.
    But you are right. There is something very smelly in Denmark.
  11. mh_riley

    mh_riley New Member

    Messages:
    2
    It is, while searching the same topic I found the following on a Yahoo board:

    its ridiculously similar to what the user above submitted:

    This sort of thing really pisses me off, guess where I wont be buying any products.....WWW.TAKEASHOWER.COM!
  12. Ranger1

    Ranger1 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Ohio
    Tried Takeashower.com Products

    Everyone -- stumbled on this forum doing my research for a low flow shower head...and had seen the prior posts both pro/con about the low flow heads from Water Management. I had two showers that I wanted better flow at -- my shower in the basement (previously a Delta with a handle), and a regular head that I suspect was original builder's equipment (can't find a brand name) in the master.

    My flow on the Delta in the basement was ok-- not great, but ok. The shower in the master was pathetic -- not sure if the water pressure is lower on the 2nd floor, or if the head was bad -- but just not acceptable performance. After reading on a few sites, I decided to try Water Management's Fire Hydrant (BTW-- agree with the prior posts--- uncommon similarity between sites that glow about the Fire Hydrant!)

    Anyway, installed the handled product in the basement and the typical head off the master. Flow is significantly improved in both places. Mostly this appears to be an artifact of smaller holes on the spray setting-- but the pressure is more pleasing and seems to "scrub" the soap off better. The massage setting actually works (didn't really do anything on prior heads-- not enough pressure). I'd tried a couple of other heads from Lowe's/Home Depot without being satisfied, so this was a nice resolution. Importantly, I didn't compare this to any other Low Flow heads I found on the internet, so I can't give any comparative thoughts. My wife was very happy with her new shower head as well. ("ooh" was the verbatim!)

    Net, while I wouldn't call these a 'miracle' from the engineering gods, they do do what is promised, and I'm satisfied. Also, it's clear that Water Management values their customers -- the heads were well protected by bubble wrap and packing peanuts-- teflon tape and spare washers were also included. (God knows, I have enough teflon tape, but it's still a nice touch.)

    I don't intend to be a regular poster here. My "day job" is marketing research -- so I know the importance of accurate info -- and wanted to provide a "real" review of the products discussed here. While I find 'fake' reviews deplorable, I guess it's a bit easier to forgive if the product lives up to its billing.
  13. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    It might be believable if all these were not coming from 1 post wonders...
  14. Phil Clemence

    Phil Clemence New Member

    Messages:
    22
    LOL ... i clicked on your "eliminate bad advice" link.

    :cool:
  15. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Now you will no longer get bad advice from Southern Man.;)
  16. Ranger1

    Ranger1 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Ohio
    Verification -- at least as much as you can give on the Internet!

    Guys:

    I'm likely to continue to be a one-post wonder. The limit of my plumbing knowledge is around re-building toilets and installing new faucets -- but I read forums like this to get good advice from people who know what they're doing.

    Net, I probably can't contribute much to anything beyond an occasional review of shower heads or faucets. Hanging a shelf or a pendant light is about as much remodelling as I'm capable of! (As a handyman, I'm an excellent Market Researcher.)

    Realize the skepticism here based on the prior posts, but don't let it cross over into paranoia. If you need to verify that I'm not connected with that company, please go to my company's page at: http://www.bases.com/services/contactdtc.html -- I'm the second name on the list, drop me an e-mail and I'll reply from that address. Live in Cincinnati, work in NKY, and don't have any relatives, friends, etc... working for the Water Management folks. Just thought this forum (since I got some good info here) would be interested in an unbiased review.
  17. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    Since this is your second post, you are no longer a one-post wonder. ;)
  18. mgoodlin

    mgoodlin New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Ranger...this sounds like you.. from here...http://www.mikeindustries.com/blog/archive/2006/12/the-ultimate-showerhead-post

    Jonah Keegan writes:

    The Fire Hydrant shower heads from Water Management are a gift from the engineering gods to anyone with low water pressure. I can’t emphasize enough how well this product works living up to every single claim made on the website. It’s so nice to find something that sounds almost too good to be true and discover that it really is. In addition the folks running the business are some of the nicest people I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with, both online and over the phone.

    Another favorite (if your water pressure is nice and high) is the water-pik cascadia. Very sensual and relaxing.
    December 12th, 2006 at 11:20 am



  19. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    No doubt they are a client of your marketing research company!
    So you notice all the threads on this forum that come up real high on the google search engine...
    There was one company not long ago that tried something similar.
    It was a bonehead move because on almost every search for that company or product the forum listed higher than the company...
    Now if we were to get downright nasty towards your scam artist company these attempt at advertising cold be like a fart in church...
    All it takes is key words...
    Like...
    Water Management, inc. showerhead sucks.
    Water Management, inc. showerhead = awful shower
    low water pressure fire hydrant spa junk
    I'd rather stab an ice pick in my eyes than use a low water pressure fire hydrant.

    Post again and I'll spend some time on the key words...
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2008
  20. geogridshorthair

    geogridshorthair Geologist

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    southern california
    all this sybil stuff is confusing

    A couple of weeks ago I was reading this thread looking for help on my shower that had low volume.

    After reading the info on takeashower.com I linked to their web site and purchased the hand-held and the sink faucet products.

    After buying their products I returned to this thread and learned about this SYBIL stuff. I was quite concerned about whether I just wasted my money. However, once the product arrived it appeared to be of reasonable quality.

    I have not installed the product yet mainly because my low flow condition was fixed.

    My reason for this message is because I contacted takeashower.com to return the products and tell them about the sybil stuff on this thread.

    A representative of the company and the owner of the company took the time to hear my concerns regarding the internet sybil stuff and here is their response.

    From: Gary [mailto:gary@takeashower.com]
    Sent: Friday, January 02, 2009 9:50 PM
    To: stevemiller@laderasystems.net
    Subject: Thank You

    Good Evening Mr Miller:

    Earlier this evening I spoke with Sam, who told me about your phone call. Needless to say, when my company’s reputation is at stake, I feel obligated to personally respond as well.

    First of all, I greatly appreciate you listening to our side of the story, and giving us the opportunity to at least try and set the record straight. Unfortunately I cannot prevent the slander and untruths that are written about us; but I can and must defend my company, and myself.

    Sam informed me that you no longer really needed the products you ordered from us, but had agreed to try them in another application. I certainly want to thank you for doing this, but nevertheless, I have already authorized a full refund (including all postage) of your original purchase price, in the amount of $93.10. This amount has been credited back to your American Express account, ending in #1009. This credit will appear on your account within 2-3 business days. Please, try the products we sent you and if you are not 100% satisfied then simply discard, you do not have to return anything. If you are 100% satisfied, then you can call our Store and make payment – if you wish.

    Mr Miller, Sam told me that you were also a business owner. If that is the case then I hope you never encounter, and are never forced to deal with the lies and slander that I have to.

    Cordially,

    Gary Auritt
    CEO & Founder
    Water Management, Inc
    228 Commonwealth Avenue
    Boston, MA 02116
    617 267 2299
    800 249 2299
    gary@takeashower.com


    They clearly stand behind their products and their company; if you check out their web site there are numerous unbiased testimonials and an excellent BBB rating.

    I will be installing the product later this week and if it works as advertised I will pay them the money, if not, I will return the product to them and pay the postage.

    steve in Southern CA









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