Cold/Hot Pressure Starts Strong Then Fades


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Old 10-21-09, 07:39 AM
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Cold/Hot Pressure Starts Strong Then Fades

I need suggestions for things to try before we spend the money on a plumber.
Here's the situation, we are on a public water system. The cold and hot water pressure at all of our faucets starts off strong then fades after 1-2 seconds. The only exceptions are our washing machine, which is the first stop after the water service line enters the house, and our hose outside that connects right at the point of entry to the house. At the washing machine the cold water blasts out but the hot water is a little trickle. Our hot water heater was installed in 1998.

Things we have tried:
-Our water service line was leaking about 5 yrs ago. We replaced the line. The plumber who connected the line to the house told us that our valve was all the way open and we should have more than enough pressure. Not the case. It remained unchanged from before the time the line was replaced.
-We emptied our hot water heater, flushed it for 5 minutes, then refilled. We removed the aerators from all the faucets to flush the lines and a lot of rusty goop came out, but the pressure did not improve.
-We replumbed our shower on the second floor with 3/4" pipe instead of 1/2" and removed a lot of bends that were there previously in an attempt to improve the pressure. Didn't work. On the second floor we also have a jet tub that takes approximately one hour to fill with hot water, it's that slow out of the faucet!

Thoughts? Suggestions? My husband is very very handy but we are out of ideas and we can't really find anything online. I would think maybe the hot water heater is just going bad, but would that explain the low cold pressure as well? I feel like it has to be something between where the water service line enters the house and our faucets since the washing machine has good cold pressure, but I don't know what it would be.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

-Karen
 
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Old 10-21-09, 10:15 AM
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Hi - i'm not a plumber, but if I had your problem my first step would be to determine what the water pressure is entering your house. Do you have a gauge or test fitting near you water meter?
 
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Old 10-21-09, 10:31 AM
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As stated..you need a pressure gauge to check for sure...but I'm wondering if you maybe have a pressure regulator somewhere on the line? That would explain the hose bibb working well (though not really the washer lines, that might be a piping error) if it is before the regulator. A pressure regulator valve (PRV) would look something like this....

They are normally located in the garage, basement or crawlspace where the water enters the house.

Oh...does the pressure at the garden hose stay good even when something inside is turned on?
 
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Old 10-21-09, 03:03 PM
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It is something downstream of the washer. IOW - water supply into house, PRV or not, washer, then X. Your problem is at cold water X(location). And X is likely before the water heater. When cold water is slow to enter the water heater, so will any hot water line and valve coming from it be slow.
 
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Old 10-22-09, 09:17 AM
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Gunguy45, to answer your question about the hose, the pressure stays constant out of the hose, it does not experience the drop like the rest of the house. Same with the cold water out of the washer.
I'm going to check the area where the water enters the house tonight but I believe we do have one of those pressure valves.
 
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Old 10-22-09, 09:34 AM
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We have a regulator and we tested after the regulator at the washing machine and got 95psi. We have checked between the washing machine and the hot water heater and we didn't see another regulator.
 
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Old 10-22-09, 09:45 AM
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Did you test after the regulator with the water running in the house? 95 sounds way high for normal pressure....should be closer to 40-60 as a general rule. And after the PRV I don't think it should "creep" up when water isn't running..not sure..never owned a house with one...just stayed in a few.

I believe your washer and hose bibb are probably plumbed before the regulator..or you should see the same drop from the hose and washer as elsewhere.

I'm betting your PRV has failed...they don't last forever. It may also just need adjusting.
 
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Old 10-22-09, 02:16 PM
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You need to trace the plumbing and eliminate possible problems. The only way the PRV could be the cause would be if all the problems occur downstream of it. You say you check water at the hose bib and that you tested pressure at washing machine at 95 PSI. You need to see if the hose bib you tested and the washing machine line are plumbed in before the PRV or after. If before then it's possible the PRV is bad, if after then the PRV is not the problem.

If it's not the PRV start working along the line looking for the blockage. It is usually at a valve or at a material transition (copper to galvanized). Worst case scenario you can start cutting into the main line every 10 feet or so and installing a place to check the pressure with a gauge. Eventually you will find the problem this way.

My guess is that if it isn't the PRV it is probably a blockage at the hot water tank inlet and the problem you are experiencing is that most of your faucets are anti-scald so both cold and hot will be affected.
 
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Old 10-22-09, 04:54 PM
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Saw the mention of (95#) pressure on some posts. Static pressure on gauge means nothing. You could have 300 psi static with one drip per hour supplying the 300#'s, and you'd get one quick blast of pressure - and then...drip, drip, drip....that's all you'd get. Yet it be 300# once gauge put on end of spigot, and left on.
 
 

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