Help with low water pressure

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drew.hoch

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Hi all,

New here and first time post. I appreciate any of your help. I'm trying to diagnose a low water pressure problem that recently started on the hot and cold side of any faucet, shower, bath, hose bib, toilet, or fixture in my house built in 2011.

Back in April this year, I had my whole house replumbed, because of defective NIBCO PEX pipe. After the 12th leak, two of which I couldn't fix myself, I was put in a corner to get a replumb. The plumbers I had come out did a great job and my water pressure went up (wasn't low to begin with) after the replumb.

Four months later, I'm experiencing horrible water pressure. If a fixture is first turned on, it has normal pressure like usual. After maybe 30 seconds, it noticeably goes down. If a second is on, even worse, another, it's painfully low, especially when trying to take a shower. I bought a water pressure gauge and hooked it up to a hose bib outside. First reading I took with no fixtures on inside, the gauge read 80 psi. I went inside and turned on 4 fixtures hot and cold. Went outside to check the gauge and it went from 80 to not registering on the gauge and the gauge goes down to ~13 psi. Turned off one fixture at a time and the gauge didn't change, until they were all off and after about 4 minutes, the gauge slowly crept back up to 80 psi.

I'm very mechanical and handy and this is driving me crazy! My house has not been nice financially over the past year, so I would like to fix this myself if possible. Please help! Thank you!
 

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Eman85

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I'm not a plumber. Is this municipal water service? Is there a pressure reduction valve on the service?
 

Jeff H Young

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with 80 psi you should have a prv thats the very highest it should be. kinked line , rocks whatever reduces volume and when demand is high causes pressure drop . try checking as close to the main or meter is possible if its way higher then you know blockage is downstream of the place you checked, its possible stoppage is other side of meter though unlikely . you could even pull the meter connect a hose and let it blast out and see if the volume drops off after opening run it for a good minute to be sure
 

Reach4

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Many PRVs have cleanable screens.

"Turned off one fixture at a time and the gauge didn't change, until they were all off and after about 4 minutes, the gauge slowly crept back up to 80 psi.
"

Did the pressure rise slow for a while at a lower pressure? If it rose smoothly from 0 to 80 would be strange.
 

drew.hoch

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There is a serious flow restriction somewhere. Check to see if water meter is fully open, or water shutoff at the entry point.
The valve after the meter is fully open. That was the first thing I looked at when the water pressure started acting up.

I'm not a plumber. Is this municipal water service? Is there a pressure reduction valve on the service?
Yes, this is city water and there is a PRV after the meter.

with 80 psi you should have a prv thats the very highest it should be. kinked line , rocks whatever reduces volume and when demand is high causes pressure drop . try checking as close to the main or meter is possible if its way higher then you know blockage is downstream of the place you checked, its possible stoppage is other side of meter though unlikely . you could even pull the meter connect a hose and let it blast out and see if the volume drops off after opening run it for a good minute to be sure
I've asked some neighbors if they are experiencing the same problem, and they said no.

You have a failed and clogged PRV in your system somewhere.
This makes sense, since it's affecting my hot and cold water. I have a feeling the problem is somewhere between the meter and where the water line ties into the house, but that's totally just a feeling.

Many PRVs have cleanable screens.

"Turned off one fixture at a time and the gauge didn't change, until they were all off and after about 4 minutes, the gauge slowly crept back up to 80 psi.
"

Did the pressure rise slow for a while at a lower pressure? If it rose smoothly from 0 to 80 would be strange.
I didn't know the PRVs have screens! I wonder if this could be the problem.

The pressure rose very slow once I shut all the fixtures off.
 

Jeff H Young

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drew.hooch, sorry I missed your clear statement that it takes awhile to build pressure back up. that to me suggests a bad or plugged regulator very likely
 

drew.hoch

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drew.hooch, sorry I missed your clear statement that it takes awhile to build pressure back up. that to me suggests a bad or plugged regulator very likely
I'm going to take the valve apart tomorrow, once the rain cooperates. I HOPE cleaning the screen is all the problem is.

Again, thank you to everyone helping out!
 

drew.hoch

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I took the top off the regulator today. There was water and debris in the cap. The debris seemed like it was from the spring rusting. When I had the cap off, water was slowly flowing from one edge. I feel like water should not be in the cap, right? I couldn't see something to unscrew on the bottom to pull the screen. There was a nub on the bottom, but it didn't look like it unscrews. Is this fixable or do I need to replace the whole regulator?
 

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Jeff H Young

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bad regulator I gotta say in this case dont waste your time Tring to fix it replace
 

Master Plumber Mark

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Why not just eliminate the prv valve and see what happens?? their are a lot of folks in my
town that have 100+ psi coming into their homes without any prv to kick it down.... I cant even
talk them into a PRV valve so they have more stress on the system.....

If you think you only have around 80psi coming into the home
then just put in a jumper and see what happena
you can always throw another one back in some day

It looks like they put this prv valve out in the mud somewhere , I wonder why
they would do this???
 

Reach4

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Some PRVs have rebuild kits available. If you have plenty of free time, that might be worth checking .Rebuild kits usually include a diapgragm, which separates the water and the spring.

If that is sand being pumped in, you might want to put in an accessible wye filter before the PRV.

If this is sediment generated by hardness materials, I don't know if it is practical to wash that out with recirculation of vinegar.
 
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Eman85

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Again, I'm not a plumber. Why not eliminate the PRV which from your pics appears to be outside. See how it all works then if you want a PRV install it at the house where the water line enters.
 

Jeff H Young

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Why not just eliminate the prv valve and see what happens?? their are a lot of folks in my
town that have 100+ psi coming into their homes without any prv to kick it down.... I cant even
talk them into a PRV valve so they have more stress on the system.....

If you think you only have around 80psi coming into the home
then just put in a jumper and see what happena
you can always throw another one back in some day

It looks like they put this prv valve out in the mud somewhere , I wonder why
they would do this???
a crappy install I agree. reason is most likely underground is it likely is a slab home and they have some freezing there.
Im kinda with you on elimination if its a max of 80 psi just throw a jumper in or splice in a straight piece of pipe
 

drew.hoch

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I replaced the PRV today. Took longer than expected, but got it done. More importantly, it fixed the issue!

Thank you everyone for your knowledge and input!
 
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