Very low domestic water volume & pressure ?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by kipph, Dec 28, 2005.

  1. kipph

    kipph New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Recently we have been having problems w/ water volume & pressure on our domestic service. I tried everything to remedy internally, but to no eval.
    Replaced both filters, incresed pressure @ PRV (actual got worse after doing that) & cleaned all the sediment out of the shower & vanity fixtures. The only thing I can think of is that the Water Service is blocked or clogged at the meter pit & is giving me less volume then before (which was not that good anyway). Should I have the Meter cleaned & replaced to a 3/4" or 1" to match the service size.


    My System Setup:

    Meter Pit:
    In 1" Poly line @ 100 to 120 psi
    PRV (Pressure Reducing Valve) 3/4" 30 psi drop
    Meter 5/8" in/out
    Out 1" Poly @ 70 psi

    Service Entering Home:
    1" poly to 3/4" copper.
    2.5 gal thermal expansion tank

    Water Filters:
    1- Sediment filter (3 months between filter changes)
    1- Taste & Oder filter (6 months between changes)
    Pressure Gauge @ 70 psi / 50psi w/ use (1 fixture)

    Water Heater:
    Tankless Takagi T-K1S (just installed 3 months ago)

    Thanks in advance,
    KippH
  2. rshackleford

    rshackleford New Member

    Messages:
    284
    Location:
    Eastern Montana (The Bakken)
    What is the water sourse? Well, lake, stream?
  3. kipph

    kipph New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Sorry Public Water (Aqua of PA)
  4. rshackleford

    rshackleford New Member

    Messages:
    284
    Location:
    Eastern Montana (The Bakken)
    What is the source? Is it well water, lake water, river water?

    I have seen some well water meters that get pretty clogged up with rust bacteria, even after the water has been treated. Also, microfilm can form on all pipes and all water. I guess it could be possible that the water meter is plugged up. It is also possible that someone was working on the line and some foreign material found its way into the watermeter.

    Your pressure really isn’t that bad, though. Something must be keeping the flow restricted.
  5. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    You probably have enough gauges to find the problem. You need to methodically measure flow rates and pressures to determine the source of the problem.

    1. Turn on enough cold water faucets in the house to get a good flow (as much as you can).
    2. Read the water meter and record the reading in gallons to within 0.1 gallon (or maybe it is in cubic feet; be sure to check) and the time as accurately as you can, at least within 5 seconds. Use a sweep second hand to get good timing accuracy.
    3. Record the pressure gauge reading and location for each gauge.
    4. Read the water meter again with the time. Same accuracy on reading and time as above.
    5. Calculate the gallons per minute. If cubic feet, 1 cubic ft = 7.48 gallons.

    You should be getting a flow of about 10 gallons per minute. If you aren't, we will find out what is the problem.

    Now look at the readings from the pressure gauges.

    If the pressure after the regulator output is dropping below about 60 psi you should be able to increase the pressure setting. On most regulators you screw in the screw on the top of the regulator to increase the pressure. If the screw goes through a nut on the top of body of the regulator, that is usually a locking nut which should be loosened before adjustment, and then re-tightened.

    If there is more than 15 psi pressure drop across the filters, then you don't have enough filter area. You will get better service with a larger filter, or with more filters in parallel. It will also cost you LESS for total annual cost of cartridges. The single cartridge 10" filters are too small for a whole house and you have two of them in series.

    If you have more than 40 psi at the outlet of the filters but still low flow, then your fixtures are probably plugged.

    You can check the municipal supply flow by connecting a hose to an outside faucet that is usually not filtered. Repeat the process as above to check flow and pressure.
  6. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Your 20 psi pressure loss across the filter(s) is telling you the cartridges should have been replaced. You should change cartridges when you see a 15 psi drop, not by time or what they look like.

    Gary
    Quality Water Associates
  7. kipph

    kipph New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Thanks for all you help.

    I think I will do some more testing inside, bypass the filters & test flow w/ a flow meter and or time it as someone sugeested.

    I also have a call into Aqua of PA (on vaca) to change out the meter to at least a 3/4" or if I can convince them a 1" meter. Then I will have them also pull the PRV to check for sediment or clogging.

    Thanks
    KippH
  8. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    Some PRVs come with a screen and this can clog some timeswhen work is performed on the water mains, you may want to check that if the filter bypas doesn't help or it could be a bad PRV. I'll bet a bad PRV since you say it got bad after adjusting it up. Did you by chance adjust it the wrong way?
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2005
  9. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Meters are usually rated as follows:
    5/8" 10 gpm continuous, 25 gpm peak
    3/4" 15 gpm continuous, 35 gpm peak
    1" 25 gpm continuous, 50 to 70 gpm peak

    Utilities don't like to put larger meters on a residential service because the larger meters tend to "leak" a small flow that doesn't get measured.

    If you don't have a piped bypass around the filters, you can bypass them by simply removing the cartridges.

    The screen on a PRV is often accessed by a large nut or plug that exists for no apparent reason, usually on the inlet side of the PRV.

    Regarding direction of setting, see my earlier note about direction of turning. It is counter-intuitive but you usually need to tighten the adjusting screw to increase the outlet pressure.
  10. kipph

    kipph New Member

    Messages:
    5
    The problem was 1 of the filters clogged I set the filter to bypass & I'm seeing much better flow now. I still want the meter replaced to 3/4" since this is a 5 bedroom residence w/ 3 full baths & 1 half bath. 15 GPM is what I would like to see.
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