HELP I got Sand in my pipes!

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Chevy76, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. Chevy76

    Chevy76 New Member

    Jul 28, 2014
    Some fine sand got into our water pipes, and we have lost pressure at three places in the house (both kitchen knobs (which feed one spigot), and a "cold" knob in the bathroom, although "hot" works at full pressure, and they both feed the same spigot). I have already cleaned the sand from the bathroom aerators (This restored pressure to the "hot". The kitchen does not have an aerator.). What is the best way to restore water pressure to these problem faucets?
  2. Earl

    Earl New Member

    Jul 21, 2014
    El Segundo
    I live in a sandy area as well and frequently have gotten sand in my water lines. Usually, fully turning the water on (hot and cold) flushes the sand out. However, as you indicate, to make that work you have to be aware of the small filters/areators in some faucets. Unscrewing this (carefully using a thick rag with plyers if it is hard to turn) to allows free flow to eject the sand. I always first turn on the bathtub after working on the plumbing. For me, it is the quickest way to get rid of the air, sand, copper shavings, etc. without having to worry much about lav filters/areators.

    Once that is done the only recourse is to work your way from the supply line under the sink to the end of the faucet. That is, first run the supply line into a bucket and see if you have full flow. If not, then the problem is blockage in the pipe. If there is flow at the supply, reattach, test, and disassemble the next item in the path to the faucet. This process will help isolate the problem.

    In my case the issue has always been at the faucet/aerator.
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  4. dw85745

    dw85745 Member

    Oct 14, 2004
    Tucson, Arizona
    I just went through this where the calcium buildup inside copper pipe was breaking loose.
    The best solution I found was to:
    1) Shutoff the water.
    2) Remove aerators from all faucets.
    3) Open the bathtub faucets.
    4) Drain water from the bottom of water heater till it was clear.
    5) Turn the water back on and flush the pipes.
    6) I then disconnect the Washing Machine hoses at the machine, place them in the tub and turn on the water.
    I recommend this as a separate operation unless you have a helper who can hold the hoses in the wash tub as the force of the water may cause the supply hoses to be pushed from the tub.


    After doing this it just left stop (angle) valves at the toilets. In my case the calcium pieces were quite large and could not be flushed by just removing the toilet supply line at the tank and placing the hose end in a bucket and flushing. Since my angle values were compression fittings, I made up a jig using a combo female compression to female IPT and screwing a 3/8 inch barb fitting into the IPT side. I then removed the angle value, connected the compression end to the existing nut, connected a hose to the barb, placed the hose in the toilet and turned on the water. This did a great job of flushing the pipes at their endpoints. A word of caution regarding using the existing compression feral and nut. You need to compare the depth of the compression side of the combo against the depth of the compression side of existing angle value. If the combo has a deeper depth your good to go, otherwise you will need to redo the feral to keep from leaking at the compression fitting when the jig is installed.

    FWIW I also made up a jig to flush the bathroom tub and shower faucets. Fortunately they were the original Price Pfister two handled so worked well. How one would make a jig for the cartridge type shower bodies to flush them I haven't had to deal with yet.


    This tool works if you have the incoming pipe open and can use a garden hose to back flush the lines.
    Terry Love
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2016
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