Help Troubleshooting Water Pressure Issue

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Old 11-09-12, 10:13 AM
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Help Troubleshooting Water Pressure Issue

Hi all, I've read a number of the threads here to help diagnose my issue but haven't been able to pinpoint the problem. I'll try to outline the issue as clear as possible.

The problem(s):
1) Generally lower water pressure in tub/shower than at faucets
2) Loss of hot water in the shower when hot water is used elsewhere in the home
3) Sudden drop in water pressure at the faucets and shower when a toilet is flushed

Steps taken so far:
1) Water pressure checked at outside bib - reads ~70. No drastic change with faucet running (hot, cold, or both)
2) Water pressure checked at washing machine cold side - reads ~70. When toilet is flushed, drops to ~50 or less.
3) Pressure checked at washing machine hot side - reads ~70. When hot water is turned on at faucet, drops to ~50 or less.
4) Checked shower heads to ensure no debris is blocking.
5) Tried closing toilet water line slightly to slow filling - helps with faucet issue somewhat, but not completely.

Home background:
1) 2-story condo built in 1980.
2) Shower is upstairs
3) Copper pipe
4) Home inspection report states that there is no PRV installed because pressure from the main is 80. There may be one installed on the main line coming it to the complex, but I don't even know where that is.
5) 30 Gal water heater is gas powered, approximately 7 years old. No expansion tank. I can't verify if the cold water line is completely open because it's difficult to reach and rusted to all hell.

Attached are pictures of the water line at the unit - not sure what that relief valve is for. Also, don't mind the water - it was raining, not a leak.

So is there something here that I can correct? My next thought was maybe to try a new shower valve and just live with the toilet flushing issue.
 
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Old 11-09-12, 02:06 PM
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If you have 70 lbs of pressure on the hot side of the washing machine, chances are the cold water feed valve is completely opened. The problem could be in between the floors. However, you didn't mention the kitchen. I had a similar problem which was caused by dissimilar metals on an elbow. The elbow rusted & partially clogged the pipe. Thank God is was in the ceiling in the cellar where it was accessible.
 
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Old 11-09-12, 04:18 PM
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Thanks for the reply. I'm not sure if the problem is between floors because there is a noticeable drop in pressure at the powder room sink when flushing the toilet right next to it - on the first floor. As for the dissimilar metals - I don't really know how I would be able to tell.
 
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Old 11-09-12, 04:31 PM
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Are these pics taken outside ? Is that the main coming up thru the ground ?
 
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Old 11-09-12, 04:53 PM
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Yes to both, the piping on the right is the main coming thru the ground and it is outside, coming up from pavement. Also, to clarify, the pipe on the left is not connected to the one on the right - I assume that's the drain line.
 
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Old 11-09-12, 05:02 PM
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I should have asked although I think the answer is no, is there a cellar or basement?
 
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Old 11-09-12, 05:05 PM
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I'm guessing the expansion valve is for unexpected pressure surges although normally a regulator is used. I'm also guessing that freezing is not an issue in your area. Interesting.....looks like iron pipe as the underground feeder. Not an issue in your particular problem though.

My thoughts are 1/2" line used throughout the house and drops like you're experiencing would be normal.
 
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Old 11-09-12, 06:27 PM
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No, no cellar or basement. And PJ is correct , freezing is no issues (So. Cal). I'm not sure about the 1/2" piping, but sounds like it might be the case. If so, would a newer shower valve have any benefit?
 
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Old 11-09-12, 07:54 PM
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would a newer shower valve have any benefit?
Sure....you get to shower in style



But the answer is no. I don't think it would help your problem. My house is primarily 1/2" copper and I get the same reductions that you get and a shower head didn't make much of a change. I did however put in one of the types with the flex hoses.
 
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Old 11-10-12, 04:09 AM
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Its in a condo complex, are any of your neighbors experiencing similar problems? That would point to a design flaw in the whole layout as opposed to you having a unique problem.
 
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Old 11-10-12, 07:02 AM
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IMO if that main service line is galvanized pipe its probably corroded and closed up. What you are losing is volume because of this. If all copper in the home then the fix would be a booster pump, or replace the service.
 
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Old 11-10-12, 07:16 AM
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How can it be the service if pressure isn't lost from the hose bib when the toilet is flushed?
 
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