Problems with Shower/Shower Head

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by ethpurd, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. ethpurd

    ethpurd New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Toronto
    Let me first just say that I am brand new to plumping. I have no experience, so please bear with me.

    I recently moved into a new apartment building in Toronto. The building is from the 70s. When I moved in the apartment had a terrible shower head attached (1.5 GPM Earth Low Flow). The flow is very poor and the water stream does not spread out well. As a student I rely on a morning shower (and coffee) to wake up on mornings where I didn't get much sleep the night before. So a good shower is very important and this shower head just isn't cutting it.

    Anyway, I bought a 2.5 GPM Glacier Bay shower head. When I install it and turn the shower on I seem to get two outcomes. Either the shower runs but over the course of the shower (usually within 2-3 minutes) the flow of water has drastically reduced from what it was like initially (to the point where the flow on the low-flow shower head was better). The other outcome that seems to happen is that I hear a loud rattling/humming sound from the pipes within the wall. The closest video I can find with a similar sound is here (skip to 0:15):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWis2f-3Ky4

    As soon as that occurs I immediate shut off the water. This humming sound doesn't usually happen immediately, but normally within the first 1-5 minutes of the shower. When it first happened the tub faucet pushed out from the wall (I can see exposed pipe in the shower that wasn't there before it happened) and that's why I am so immediate at shutting off the water.


    The landlord of the building and the superintendents are extremely unhelpful and are nasty people to deal with so, if possible, I'd like to fix this on my own.

    Any ideas on things I can do/try? Is it possible that the 2.5 GPM shower head is overdrawing the water from the pipe? I believe the pipe is a standard 0.5".

    Thanks so much for your help!! I really appreciate it!

    Ethan


    Edit: Attached is a photo of what the tub faucet is like. That happened when the humming occurred, it was not pulled out. Tub Faucet.jpg
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2013
  2. ethpurd

    ethpurd New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Toronto
    I've tried to do some research and this seems feasible: The bracing that holds the piping secure (assuming there is/was bracing) broke and now the copper pipe is kinked. Could this maybe be a reason why the flow from the shower might drop mid-shower?
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,835
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    IT drops because the hot water stem has a problem, possibly a loose or worn washer, so when the hot water expands it the noise starts and the flow is reduced. The spout is loose and has to be slid back on and tightened up.
  4. ethpurd

    ethpurd New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Toronto
    thanks for responding! Does it only happen with the 2.5 GPM shower head because the low flow one doesn't allow enough flow to be an issue? Also, is that something I can fix by myself or will I need to get the superintendents to do it (I have no plumbing knowledge)?
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,153
    Location:
    New England
    In a rental unit, if you break something, it can get ugly quick! Both are usually fairly easy, but the stem fix will require that the water be turned off. If you're lucky, there's a shutoff for the valve itself, or the bathroom, or the apartment since they'd be reluctant to shut the water off to the whole complex (or building) unless they deem it really necessary. If it's what HJ thinks, and he's usually right, it won't hurt anything other than performance and the annoyance.

    The higher flow isn't a huge issue, but keep in mind that it may have been the complex that installed that low-flow shower head, and they may be annoyed that you changed it out to a higher flow one since that means more hot water, and more sewer charges, and, to them, more money required for utilities that are normally part of the rent and not paid directly by the user as an individual bill.
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