Do I need a booster pump

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Bry899

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Hello all I am new here, my 1st post, so I hope I posted this right.

I have 2 cottages on the property, and wondering if I need a booster pump for them.
The main house has city water and the pressure is great through out the house.
In the basement the water line goes to the first cottage which is about 50 feet away, and then continues to the second cottage which is about 30 feet away. The cottages are rentals and the tenants have complained (sometimes) that the pressure is not good in the showers, other fixtures are fine.
So my question is if I was to add a booster pump, can it be installed in the basement of the main house before it goes to the cottages?
If the pump was added at the basement exit point would it lower the pressure in the main house?

Both cottages are 1 bedroom, 1bath units.
The tenant in the 1st cottage is moving out this weekend so I will check the pressure with a gauge, to see the difference from the main house.
The first cottage has a basement, and the natural gas heating system, and domestic hot water is there. If I remember correctly it looks like 1/2" pex for hot and cold water goes to second cottage.
We purchased the property in Jan 2022 from an estate sale, and the tenants moved in on March 1st.
I might be worrying too much as the tenants have not complained in the past 3 months, but I figured that if I needed to add a pump then now would be a good time when the 1 cottage is empty.

Thank you in advance for the help
 

Reach4

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Note the pressure with no water being used, and watch the pressure (from a different spigot at that house) with the tub spout sending out water.
 

Bry899

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Note the pressure with no water being used, and watch the pressure (from a different spigot at that house) with the tub spout sending out water.
Thanks Reach4; I will check the house pressure and cottage pressure, and post back here. I will also check it with the tub spout open as you said. Hopefully Monday.
Thanks
 

Bry899

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I tested the pressure today:
there is a 3/4" Cold water line from the main house basement to the first cottage basement (approx) 50') it then exits the first cottage basement underground (approx 35') to the second cottage (no basement)
The heating system is in the first cottage basement,
The hot water line is 1/2" loop from a super store indirect heater with a circulator pump, from the first cottage basement to the second cottage underground.
From an outside spigot on the main house the pressure was approx 54 psi, not sure how accurate the rainbird gauge is.
In the first cottage basement the cold water supply line was approx 44 psi, and also 44 psi exiting the basement to the second cottage. The hot water was also 44 psi exiting the cottage basement to the second cottage.
Testing both the Hot and cold water separately, exiting the first cottage with the tub spout open in the first cottage the pressure dropped to 24 psi.
Testing the same hot and cold lines exiting the first cottage with the tub spout open in the main house the pressure dropped from 44 to approx 38 psi

Being lazy, and the plumbing and electrical is easier to access, could I get away with adding a booster pump before it exits the main house?
would a booster pump at this location reduce the pressure in the main house?
Are booster pumps that add an additional 20 psi to the line worth it such as the "Kolerflo 120w water pressure booster pump 115v 396 gph 21.7 psi"
Maybe I should contact the municipal water Company to see if they could run a separate line and meter to the cottage, The gas company did.
 

Jeff H Young

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Getting water company in my area southern california never heard of a water company running water from property line to house. but 3000 miles away they might its totaly unheard of here though. its only a phone call.
 

Reach4

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24 is too low. Consider running new pipe to cottage 1. Maybe get all new poly pipe. Getting poly pipe run will cost, but it is a 1 time cost. Pumps can need maintainence.
 

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The reason the pressure drops so low when the tap is open is because the pipe is too small. You can't add a booster pump where the pipe is too small or you will starve the pump for water. If you add a pump to the meter where the line is large enough to feed a pump, the pump will need to put out 84 PSI to make up for the 30 PSI lost in friction loss from the small pipe. With larger lines you get the same pressure at flow you see at static.
 

Bry899

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The reason the pressure drops so low when the tap is open is because the pipe is too small. You can't add a booster pump where the pipe is too small or you will starve the pump for water. If you add a pump to the meter where the line is large enough to feed a pump, the pump will need to put out 84 PSI to make up for the 30 PSI lost in friction loss from the small pipe. With larger lines you get the same pressure at flow you see at static.
I have a 3/4" water line from the water company, it goes through my basement (with multiple tees) this line then exits my basement underground to the 1st cottage at 3/4". After multiple tees in the cottage basement the 3/4" line continues underground to the second cottage.
Is a 3/4" line big enough for 4 bathrooms, 3 kitchens, and 3 washing machines?
Should I assume a 1" line would be a better? Could be expensive to replace all the 3/4" to 1" plus what the water company would charge for a new larger water line.
If the pipe is too small do they make a booster pump with a water tank, so the pump won't starve for water? In my motorhome when I am connected to a water connection I also turn on my 12v pump (pulls from the water tank) to increase the pressure for the shower.
 

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3/4 Pex with the insert fittings will have as much restriction as 1/2" pipe. Even 3/4 copper or PVC is pretty small when going long distances. Without installing larger pipe a booster pump would bring the pressure up. If you are losing say 20-30 PSI to friction loss in the small pipe, a booster needs to add 20-30 PSI at the beginning to give you better pressure at the end. The booster pump will however need a sufficient supply. If the supply line to the booster is too small, a small storage tank or cistern can be filled over time using a float valve on the city water line. Then the booster pump can supply as much flow and pressure as needed. It would look like this except for a float valve from the city instead of a well pump supplying the cistern.
LOW YIELD WELL_ CENTRIFUGAL_PK1A.jpg
 

Bry899

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3/4 Pex with the insert fittings will have as much restriction as 1/2" pipe. Even 3/4 copper or PVC is pretty small when going long distances. Without installing larger pipe a booster pump would bring the pressure up. If you are losing say 20-30 PSI to friction loss in the small pipe, a booster needs to add 20-30 PSI at the beginning to give you better pressure at the end. The booster pump will however need a sufficient supply. If the supply line to the booster is too small, a small storage tank or cistern can be filled over time using a float valve on the city water line. Then the booster pump can supply as much flow and pressure as needed. It would look like this except for a float valve from the city instead of a well pump supplying the cistern.
View attachment 86414
Thanks for the info, I thought it was possible to add a cistern with a booster pump, but I could not find info on this combination for city water.
One last question, how do i size the cistern?
 

Reach4

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Not following you. It happens at ll the faucets.
If water is not flowing in a pipe, there is no pressure drop in that pipe due to friction. There is pressure drop due to altitude.

One pair of numbers cited gave me the impression that one of the cabins has 10 psi lower water pressure than the main house when no water was being used. That would imply the cabin was 23 ft higher in altitude. But maybe that is not what you reported.
 

BIGBREW

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If water is not flowing in a pipe, there is no pressure drop in that pipe due to friction. There is pressure drop due to altitude.

One pair of numbers cited gave me the impression that one of the cabins has 10 psi lower water pressure than the main house when no water was being used. That would imply the cabin was 23 ft higher in altitude. But maybe that is not what you reported.
Oops, I was on the wrong thread. My apologies.
 

Bry899

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How much room do you have?
I have a lot of room, it is an unfinished basement. What size would the Cistern be for the 2 cottages? Would 100 gallons be enough?
I did add the "Kolerflo 120w water pressure booster pump 115v 396 gph 21.7 psi" it adds 20 psi to the line, Both tenants said the pressure is better. It might just be coincidence that with the tenants on different schedules the showers aren't used concurrently.
I do want to have it right so when I can afford to get a pump and the cistern there will be no future issues.
Sorry for the late reply, and I really appreciate the help, I actually thought I had it set up to get emails when someone replies.
Thanks again
 

Reach4

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Bry899

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In addition to space, door width is important in getting the tank down the basement. Some tanks are made with that in mind. https://www.plastic-mart.com/category/8/water-storage-tanks may be of interest. I have no relevant experience.

doorway to basement is 32" wide, So the doorway tanks would be best.
Is there a formula to calculate tank capacity needed?
Does this sound right: 2 showers at 2.5 gallon per minute for 15 minutes each would be 75 gallons.
So a 100 gallon tank would have a 25 gallon reserve not including how many gallons it is refilling in that 15 minute time.
 
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