OT low volume water pipes

I just closed on an older duplex home in a small village where we have a municipal water supply. Just realizing that the volume of water pressure coming out of shower isnt high enough to operate shower head properly.In the past there hasnt been any high volume of water usage. Anyone have any experience like this before? Dont have time to replace all the plumbing. Im thinking battery acid or something viscious to run thru pipes. Any other ideas?

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Yeah, when you take apart those old iron pipe systems, every fitting breaks, and you almost end up working your way back to the meter! I suspect pouring some vinegar straight, or just slightly diluted would dissolve the calcium and such, but it might be a very slow process. I suppose you could rig tubing to both ends of the pipe, make up a bucket of the acid solution and circulate it with a pump. If you are more daring, well-diluted muriatic acid might make things go faster. It is generally only the hot water pipes that have this problem, the heat precipitates out the salts.


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Jon Elson

Have you checked static pressure? Chances are that the (galvanized steel) pipes are occluded and need to be replaced with copper. Our local hardware store sells a pressure gauge fitted to a garden hose thread. Pressure here normally read about 80 PSI with no flow. After repiping with copper, we got our flow back.

Of course, if your (no-flow) static pressure is only about

10 - 15 lbs, a repipe will probably not be too helpful.


Reply to
Len Turnbow

I have tried air pressure in an older home one time. It worked beautifully. Naturally, there are some risks such as plugging it up even more but you should be able to unplug by blowing in at another location. Also, if this pipe is really deteriorated, you could burst through a weak spot. However, that may not be all bad as it would tell you BEFORE a leak wetted everything.

I put in air and then flushed with water and did this several times and the water pressure went up substantially.


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Wwj2110 wrote: (clip)the volume of water pressure coming out of shower isnt high enough to operate shower head properly.(clip)Any other ideas? ^^^^^^^^^^ When you say you don't have time to replace all the plumbing, I take it that you need a quick solution. An untried idea like dissolving a heavy incrustation of insoluble crud out of old pipes may or may not work, and as others have pointed out, may introduce additional problems.

So, maybe, instead of fixing the problem, you can work around it. Suppose you put a water tank in the attic, on the roof, or on a tower or in a tree next to the house. This tank will fill up when no one is taking a shower, and deliver a deliver a large enough volume for a shower when you need it. But, so far, the way I have described it, it would be a cold shower. So you put in one of those heaters that produces "instant" hot water. I think those are more economical to operate than a hot water tank, because you don't have to keep 40 gallons of water hot 24/7.

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Leo Lichtman

FWIW what kind of piping was originally installed?

It wasn't galvanized by any chance, was it?


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Reply to
jim rozen

Something nobody else has mentioned: Check the pressure regulator where the water main enters the house.

You can get a pressure test gauge at the hardware store for $10 and see what the city pressure is before the gauge (if you have a yard faucet tapped in front of the regulator) and the house pressure setting after the regulator from a regulated outside faucet or at the laundry faucets.

Check for a clogged sand strainer in the regulator, go look at

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and the strainer is the first threaded bottom chamber from the city-water inlet end. You pop it open, clean out the screen and reassemble.

Or it might have a separate Y strainer in front of it - here's a picture of a regulator with one:

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usually take out the pipe plug and put a faucet in the cleanout hole at the bottom of the Y, so you can open the faucet and flush out most of the sand. Serious clogs may require disassembly.

You want around 40 to 50 PSI inside the house, and definitely no more than 80 PSI or you start popping hoses. Regulators do wear out and fail. Our neighborhood backs up against a small hill, so our mains run between 110 to 130 PSI depending on demand to get water to the top - so if the regulator fails open you can have some big trouble...


Reply to
Bruce L. Bergman

I forgot to mention that I put air pressure into the pipe/s WHILE the water was running. That way, after doing this several times, the crud was washed back and forth until it broke up into smaller particles and passed through the pipe.

Anyway, glad you are making progress with the new pipe.


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It could also result in a pretty wicked explosion if the air pressure built up quickly enough. Compressed air in any volume stores a lot of energy.

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