water service line questions

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by don metzinger, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. don metzinger

    don metzinger New Member

    Messages:
    47
    Hi – I have some friend who are experiencing some water flow problems, when the sprinkler system is on the and a toilet is used the toilets take forever to refill, probably 10 minutes, faucet flow is greatly reduced also. They are considering replacing their incoming 40 year old ¾†copper supply line from the meter with a new 1†line. The water company tested the out flow to the house at the meter and gave them a report saying that there was 83 psi and a flow rate of 23 gpm and gave them a report. They said the 1†line would correct their flow problems. The meter is a ¾†meter. The water company also told them that if they put in the 1†copper that they had to start it a least 5 feet away from the meter set up, so the first 10 or 11 feet of line would be the old ¾†copper. The meter sits in a cement tube and on the outflow side has a gooseneck that bend around and down and connects to the old ¾†copper line. The run to the house is probably 60’ or so. Would appreciate some input from you experts. I assumed that all of the line is equally plugged/corroded and using any portion of the old would not be the best approach. It would seem to make sense to remove the gooseneck and clean it or replace it and then connect the new line to it. Could the new 1†copper correct the flow problems when it is connected to a ¾†meter and ¾†gooseneck???? I know there is friction loss in piping but what your opinion might be. The house has 3 baths with sinks and showers and 3 toilets old 3.5 gal. dishwasher, clothes washer and utility sinks, 2 outside faucets and a sprinkling system for a small yard. They are empty nesters now. Appreciate any input I can pass onto them. Thanks - Don
  2. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    Unless the line is replaced all the way back to the main, nothing will change. Flow and pressure will be the same as it was. You just get a bit more volume from the slightly larger pipe.
  3. Mikebarone

    Mikebarone DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    206
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Just some thoughts...

    I am not a plumber, but a handyman that’s been around, so take my suggestion as that. I would go ahead and cut into the main line, where you would be attach the new line, and go ahead and see how many gallons per minute, (at that 83 psi) you are getting at that point. When you cut into the line, you will be able to see how much restriction is in the pipe at that point. Based on the flow/ pressure rate you get at that point, you can then determine what to do from there, as far as sizing of the new pipe or calling the water company back and telling them that tapping into it at that point won’t help. If the water company is telling you that you must stay a minimum of 5 feet from the meter, and the problem is in that section of pipe, I would think that it would be the city’s responsibility to improve that section.
    You might also take a look at the main water line shut off valve at the house, before starting the new water line replacement. If it is an old style gate valve, a lot of the restriction could be at that point too. If you are going to replace it, you could also cut into the main line at that point, and do a flow/ pressure check at that point, (before replacing the main line).
    Even if you do replace the main line from the meter to the house, if pipes in the house itself are restricted too, you might not be gaining much as you hope.
    I would also check the valves at your fixtures, to make sure that the restrictions are not at those points. I also had a slow filling toilet, and when I took off the valve to the toilet, it was completely clogged. Replacing the valve, with a new ball style valve did the trick. Another thought would be running the irrigation, at a non peak demand time.
    You might also check with your neighbors to see if they are having the same problem, and if they did any thing to remedy the problem.

    Good luck,

    Mike, (the handyman).
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2008
  4. Mikebarone

    Mikebarone DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    206
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    One more thing, and then I've got to go to work...LOL

    If you don’t know the pressure you are getting at the house, I would also go to a hardware store, and purchase a $7.00 pressure gage, that you attach at any of your hose bibs on the house. Even if your pipes are clogged up a lot, (with everything shut off in the house) you still should be getting that 83 psi the city says they are delivering. If you are not getting that 83 psi, check to see if you have a pressuring reducing valve. It also may be clogged. Some of them have a screen built into them.
    With that gauge installed on a hose bib, (lets say at the opposite end of the house that your main line comes to the house) you can turn on a hose bib full blast at the main line area to the house, and see what pressure the house is running at, when that amount of water is being used.
    Another note; I would be a little concerned on the 83 psi. IN MY OPINOIN, (especially in some of the older homes) I conceder the 83 psi to be excessively high water pressure. I like to see a maximum pressure of 60 psi performed by installing a pressure reducing valve. Unfortunately, some times the only way to get any kind of volume threw a restricted pipe, is to jack up the psi.

    Mike
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2008
  5. don metzinger

    don metzinger New Member

    Messages:
    47
    Thanks for the inputs. I did not mention in my post that there is no pressure reducing valve for the house. I did check the fill valve on the toilet and it is not clogged. There is a tee where the line enters the house that supplies the sprinkler system and it has a union on it so I may just open the union and attach a fitting and do a flow measurent there to compare with the "23gpm" the water company says is flowing out of meter. I will also hook my pressure guage to the front bib and crank the back one open and measure the pressure and flow. The on/off valve is a older multi turn type operates very smoothly, I could open the valve and check the insides but I don't think the valve is a problem.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,240
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    water

    IT is VERY unlikely that the old copper line has any problem with it, unless it was crushed somehow. You have to isolate the point where the lack of flow occurs and then fix that. As for the meter, we attach our 1" copper right to the meter's yoke.
  7. Mikebarone

    Mikebarone DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    206
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    another place to check, (I'm home from work)...LOL

    When checking at the toilet for any debris, you need to shut off the water to the house, and drain any pressure out from a hose bib, and then remove the SHUT-OFF valve to the toilet, (not just checking the fill valve). I would have a new 1/4 turn style ball valve, (with a new steel flex line) on hand to change out anyways. Check behind the shut off valve, (inside of the pipe) and inside the old valve for debris.
    I just got home from checking out a clients house for the same problem. With everything shut off in the house, I put a gauge on the front hose bib, (where the main line comes into the house) and he was getting 90 psi. When he turned on the back sprinkler system and the pressure fell all the way down to 12 psi. One of the differences between my client’s house, and your friend’s house is that my client’s house has an old galvanized main line. I agree with Hj, that copper line shouldn't have build up in it, (as would a galvanized line would). If there is a point where the copper line hooks up to a galvanized line there should be an isolation fitting at that point. If there is not an isolation fitting there, there will be a chemical reaction between the two at that point, which will cause corrosion. (I can’t remember that technical term; started drinking some good Hungarian wine) maybe tomorrow I’ll remember it.

    Mike
  8. Winslow

    Winslow Plumber

    Messages:
    450
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Increasing the service line will reduce your pressure loss from friction resulting in a net gain in pressure and flow. 60" should give you a noticable gain in flow. You should have 1" at least as far as to where the irrigation takes off the service line.
  9. don metzinger

    don metzinger New Member

    Messages:
    47
    update

    Update - We have decided to measure the pressure and flow just inside the house, there is a tee for the sprinkler system and right after that there is a union so we will check the flow there and get a dynamic pressure reading by attaching a pressure gauage to an out side hose bib not too far from the union. With 83 psi and 23 gpm at the output of the meter we should be able to determine if there is a restriction in the incoming ¾†line. Need some help with some questions regarding replacing the old ¾ copper line. The water company will allow new ¾†copper from the meter to a point 5ft from the pit, this would mean the first 8-9 feet would be ¾†line then if we want to we can run new 1†the rest of the way 50 ft to the house. What would be the difference in water flow with this combination compared to just running new ¾†all the way?? Thanks for your input. - Don
  10. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,756
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Anytime you increase pipe size, it reduces friction.

    3/4" is pretty small. I would upsize as much of it as you can.
    If you have irrigation, I would consider teeing off as soon as possible and splitting off separately for that.

    My mothers home was run in 3/4" copper, 250 plus feet of it.
    I couldn't get the irrigation to run on that size and distance of pipe.

    We split the water supply for the home, and for the irrigation into two 1.5" lines within three feet of the 3/4" meter.

    She now runs her three bath home, and irrigation for a one acre property on the same 3/4" meter but with two 1-1/2" supply lines.
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