Whole house low flow water issue

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Greg814, Jul 1, 2020.

  1. Greg814

    Greg814 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2020
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Hello, I live in a one bathroom 980 sq/ft house built in 1973. All the fixtures have really low flow including the toilet. I've used a pressure gauge to test the pressure on the front spigot and it was around 60 psi. When I turn on the kitchen or bathroom sink its really good at first since there's air in the pipes but then goes extremely low flow and pressure.I also can only use one fixture at a time or there is no flow at the sink. I can barley take a shower. I have copper pipes and I'm not sure the size. I looked at the water meter and noticed a kink in the pipe on the water company side not sure if that's part of the cause. I've lived here for 5 years and it wasn't this bad at first. I live in central Arkansas. I was thinking about replacing the pipes with pex but not sure if that would even help. I've included some pics of the water from the kitchen sink and bathtub and circled where the kink is in the pipe.
     

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    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020
  2. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    The circled area does not appear to be kinked enough to impair flow, but there does appear to be a crack developing which you may want to inspect more closely and have the water utility fix if a crack is actually present. I can't determine where that area is in relation to the water meter.

    Ask your water utility to verify all valves feeding your home are fully open. While there is a valve shown beside the meter that appears to be fully open, there maybe another valve(s) further upstream.

    Is your home equipped with a water softener or whole home water filter? Over time, water softener resin can become damaged and filter media will become clogged, which will impair water flow through those devices. Usually bypassing the problem device will immediately improve flow which will indicate which device is causing the flow restriction.

    Inspect your main plumbing line from where it enters the home onward to where the 1st low flow fixture feeds from. Look for any valves that may not be fully open. A valve may also appear to be fully open but is broken internally and is then reducing flow. Often water flow through a valve that is causing a restriction will be somewhat noisy while water is attempting to flow through it.
     
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  4. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    IL
    How low does that pressure go when you have the kitchen sink on, and how soon does it go low after you turn on the kitchen sink?

    I am thinking you may want to talk to the water company, but it would be good to have those numbers.
     
    JohnCT likes this.
  5. JohnCT

    JohnCT Member

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    Location:
    Northeast
    If your pipes are full of deposits, it will cause a drop of pressure when volume is used. The pressure will return to normal when the fixture is turned off as long as the pipes have at least *some* flow. But, the problem is where?

    If all the plumbing is original, I'd try replacing a small section of pipe and cutting it open to check for deposits. A friend of mine had to repipe his house because of low flow due to hard water deposits. I don't know if this problem would happen on municipal water though.

    Could the water company do a pressure and flow test at the meter?

    John
     
  6. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    IL
    Tell us more about the area in this entire picture:
    [​IMG]

    It looks like 3 pipes connecting. Which is the water from the water meter, and where do the other 2 legs go?

    Maybe show us a wider shot.
     
  7. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    He said that circled area with the kink is located on the town side of the meter which would be the feed to the meter. As the kink location is not shown in photo 2443, I'm not certain of its location but suspect the supply nut shown at the far right of the photo you enlarged is the connection to the shutoff valve located on the inlet to the meter as shown in photo 2443.
     
  8. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Then there would seem to be another hole. It would be nice if the problem is due to the kink. I would think that would be the water company's responsibility.

    I wondered if it would make sense for Greg to talk to a neighbor on the downstream side to see if they have a similar problem. I agree it would be unlikely, but seemed worth checking. If there is doubt about the direction of flow in the water main, check with a neighbor on each side. But thinking about it, if several neighbors had the symptom, somebody would have called the water company already.

    Calling the water company should not wait.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020
  9. dj2

    dj2 In the Trades

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    Aug 13, 2013
    Location:
    California
    1. Check your aerators.
    2. Check your angle stop valves.
    3. I suspect you have some galvanized nipples in the house, rusted with restricted flow.
    They used galv iron pipes in the early 70s.
     
  10. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

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    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Image 2458 appears to be the bathtub fill spout which is not equipped with an aerator.

    As the main feed line into the home appears to be copper, I would anticipate the home will be plumbed with copper, but we don't know.

    As Greg specified air escapes from faucets initially, that is a concern, but could be explained by a water softener with a defective air-check valve.

    While 60 psi is mentioned, I anticipate that is static pressure so it would be interesting to know what the pressure will drop to when a faucet is flowing.

    Agreed. Follow the path of flow. Verify the flow rate is correct before water enters the home instead searching backwards from inside the home only to realize the problem source is the water service from the town.
     
  11. Greg814

    Greg814 New Member

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    Jul 1, 2020
    Location:
    Arkansas
    The water meter is right above the pipes in the pic. I don't have a water softener or whole home water filter. I don't see any valves or prv valve unless its underground. There is no access panel anywhere that I see.
     

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  12. Greg814

    Greg814 New Member

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    I just tested it and it was about 10 psi and it took maybe a min.
     
  13. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Ahh. I see. The thing off to the right is a strut, and not a pipe. The valve is just above the top of that photo.

    There may have been some additional excavation of dirt before that photo was taken.
     
  14. Greg814

    Greg814 New Member

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    The pressure drops to 10 psi when I have the kitchen sink on. I don't have water softener. From every pipe I can see it's copper.
     
  15. Greg814

    Greg814 New Member

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    I'm not sure if there is any galvanized nipples or not since most of the pipes are under the slab. The pipes I can see are all copper.
     
  16. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Where the water comes into the house, what is that like? Is it coming up from a slab? Is there a valve there?

    Are you sure there is no whole-house cartridge filter?

    You may need a new pipe from the meter, but keep troubleshooting.
     
  17. Greg814

    Greg814 New Member

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    The only place where there's pipes coming up from the slab is where the water heater is. The only shut off valve there is for the water heater. I'm sure there is no water filter or anything. There's a access panel behind shower for the valves that's it.
     

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  18. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I wonder if there is a PRV (pressure reducing valve) somewhere. Those have an incoming screen and I have pulled some that were pretty badly blocked.

    1973 I would guess that you have poly pipe from the meter to the home and with copper pipe, that should be a good system.
    I don't see a problem with the meter setup. You can easily run a three bath home with a 3/4" meter if you are sized correctly after the meter.
    For a three bath home I would run 1" poly. A one bath home can get by with 3/4" poly and copper.

    PEX is a smaller diameter and that needs to be taken into account.

    It's not the meter though.
     
  19. Greg814

    Greg814 New Member

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    Location:
    Arkansas
    Where would the prv valve be. I've looked everywhere for one and can't fine one. Could It be underground? There doesn't seem to be any access panel anywhere that I could find.
     
  20. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I have seen a few right after the meter underground on the main line to the home. I thought it was pretty dumb at the time. I would never want to do that to a homeowner. You mentioned that you looked for one already. What is around the water heater?
     
  21. Greg814

    Greg814 New Member

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    Arkansas
    Nothing but copper pipes coming up from the slab.
     

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