Low water pressure in one shower


  #1  
Old 12-05-04, 09:35 PM
mzellers
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Unhappy Low water pressure in one shower

Our house was added on to about 13 years ago.

The previous owners added a second bathroom (with a shower, sink and WC) and moved the location of the hot water heater to the new addition (the old water closet is now inside the house).

Over the last few years, the hot water pressure in the new bathroom has gotten lower and lower, to the point that it is now all but unusable (we get about 1 gallon of hot water in 15 minutes ).

There is adequate hot water pressure at the sink in the new bathroom, the original bathroom and the kitchen. It is just the new shower that has the problem.

According to the plans, the water comes from the water heater to the sink in the new bathroom and then to the shower -- so it would seem the blockage must be between the sink and the shower. I'm not sure where the split-off to the older part of the house happens.

I'm not 100% sure (can't be without opening walls) but I think the plumbing is copper rather than galvanized.

I tried running a snake through the pipe, but I can't get it to turn the 90 degree angles in 1/2" pipe.

I briefly tried backflushing from the shower (capped the shower itself and hooked up 1/2" nipple in place of the hot water knob, attached a 1/2" to 1 1/2" adapter, a short piece of 1 1/2" pipe and one of those hydraulic drain clearer gadgets that you put into the pipe and then swell up to send pulses of water down the drain. I could try that for a longer period of time (at a gallon every 15 minutes it is not going to waste a lot of water!).

When I was at home depot, I saw a gadget that claims to use compressed CO2 to clear drains -- would something like that help? Could an air compressor do even better? I'd much rather shell out $250 for an air compressor than $5000 to open up the walls and replace the pipe.

I've also considered trying to snake something like 14-18 gauge wire through the pipe and pulling something through it like a giant pipe cleaner, but I can't see how to get through the valve at the hot water heater (even if I could get it to negotiate the 90 degree angles).

It looks like the only alternative is going to be to open up the wall and get into the pipe -- if not replace it.

The whole house is on a concrete slab, and I 'm not sure whether they ran the pipes through the slab, through the attic or just in the wall. I guess I can go up into the attic and see what I can find there.

Is there any alternative to major renovation here?
 
  #2  
Old 12-05-04, 09:54 PM
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You can try removing the faucet handle(s) and stems. You will have to shut the water off first.Then have one person turn the water on and flush out anything that may be clogging up the faucet assembly while another holds rags over the openings (lots of water ,may come out). Did you run the shower with the shower head off? (sorry to ask but the head may be clogged). You can try the compressed air but make sure you open both hot and cold faucets on the shower and the faucets on the sink so you know if you are getting pressure back to the sink. Good luck and post back with the results and we will go from there.
 
  #3  
Old 12-06-04, 07:57 AM
mzellers
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Thanks for the reply.

I did try backflushing the shower, but I could try letting it run for a longer period of time. I was not getting a lot of water through (I would guess about a gallon every 15 minutes).

Mark Z.
 
  #4  
Old 12-06-04, 09:05 AM
mzellers
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One more question:

Why would I want to open the cold water tap at the shower and the sink? The shower has one knob for hot and another for cold. I would have thought I just wanted to turn off the cold water going into the hot water heater and then disconnect the hot line from the water heater so that the back flush goes out (rather than back into the water heater).

Thanks,

Mark Z.
 
  #5  
Old 12-06-04, 09:11 AM
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My suggestion was so you would know if the line was open from the sink to the shower.
 
 

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