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Icesailor are you there?

jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
Need your advice on this one.Here is the situation.I just installed a mod/com with 50 gallon indirect.Feeding 3 bathrooms.House is a halfway house for vets.Before we got there they all complained about the water pressure if more than one person showers.The powers that be would like it fixed.A few people I have talked to said to use a booster pump.I would rather run larger pipes.Main is 3/4 and leaving boiler room it is 3/4 hot and cold.I think though that 1/2 copper was run to each bathroom.Pressure is 55# coming from street.What do you think? booster pump or start breaking walls and re-pipe?Thanks


  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Under Presssure:

    First, you have 55# coming in from the street. "Static Pressure". When nothing is flowing. Can you put a 0-100# pressure gauge on where it comes into the house? What happens when you turn on the showers. Does the pressure stay at 55# or a little less? If it is dropping considerably you may not have a large enough service or a sticking water meter. A Booster Pump might be a solution. But you should try to be sure that there isn't some problem with the piping somewhere. You can take a braided sink supply, like a 12" or 20" one and a 1/2" X 1/4" MPT bushing will fit. Put a 1/4" 100# pressure gauge. Any fixture that has a 3/8" od compression fitting on a stop supply can be replaced with the gauge. You can check the water pressure and try to locate a problem. The house doesn't have a well does it?

    I'd be trying to be sure that there isn't some piping problem before you go to a booster pump. If there's some obstruction, it won't solve the problem and you might not look good. Its hard when you're not there. Is it just in the showers?

    If you're running water in a sink and you open up another, does the pressure drop?

    Kinda need more information. Are these bathrooms on the second floor?
  • jonny88
    jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
    thanks mr ice

    yes sir,55# static.water supply is from the street.when I go back I will cut in a tee by the meter and get a reading from there.Three bathrooms one on first floor two on 2nd floor.They say when one is taking a shower and if anyone else uses water it drops dramatically.I know i have more investigating to do but I will do as you suggested.Thanks for your time and help.I took the pressure reading from the hose spigot which is 5ft away from meter.There was a few sharkbite fittings I saw on the piping not sure if that would cause much restriction.I will do as you said and report back.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,459
    Another thing to check

    what type of shut-off valves are on the main, water heater and branch lines?

    The usual stop-and-waste type really chokes back the flow. A full-port ball valve does not. 55# should be plenty of pressure to operate this system if the flow capability is good.

    Many people confuse flow with pressure. If we have good pressure at the water service where it enters the house, and insufficient pressure when someone uses one of the facilities, there is a flow problem somewhere.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    One other thing

    One other thing to check is the shower heads themselves, are they low flow? Three showers at once is a hell of allot of volume to be putting out of a 3/4" pipe. I hope they have one hell of a water heater too. Check out the usual suspects as Ice and Steamhead have said but know that it could just be that they are overtaxing the system.

    Also, if there are any existing galvanized pipes they do tend to block up with rust and crud.

    Good Luck and take care of our Vets,

  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Flow Pressures:

    Steamhead and Rob are right.

    From where you describe, the gauge on the sillcock is OK. Turn on the showers and see if the pressure on the sillcocks drops. If it does, its a service issue. Like Rob said. you can get a lot of water through 3/4" copper tube. 1" would be better but like  Rummy said about the army going into Iraq. You go with the Army you have, not the one you wish you have. Same with water services. Its never too big and can always be bigger.

    Remember, the showers on the second floor will ALWAYS have less pressure than the first floor. Make sure that the flow restrictors are in the shower heads and not removed. They make nice new flow restricted shower heads. They really work and mostly, they feel like there is more pressure.

    Personally I'd go to the municipal water provider if it is city water. Find out if they can tell you what type of shut off valve they use. Is it a full port ball or plug valve or is it a globe type Stop valve. Which is very restrictive.

    Try to locate any and all restrictions before you go to a booster pump.
  • jonny88
    jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
    thanks guys for your info

    I just installed a Burnham Freedom(donated by Burnham)and a 50 gallon indirect.Availability of hot water is not a problem.Judging by other houses or should I say the majority of houses I go to they branch of in 1/2 inch and feed each bathroom this way.I only saw copper in the boiler room and I dont think there is galvanized pipe in house.Delta shower bodies 1/2 inch in each bathroom.Anyhow I will be back there hopefully this weekend and find out.Before this they had a 50 gallon electric water heater so at least they can take hot showers now.I must say it is very sad to see the condition of some of these guys after they came back from their tours.Thanks again for your time and help.

    Icesailor I will have water company come also.I would like a new 1inch service hopefully they will step up.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265

    Delta is NOT a stellar valve. The balancing spool is smaller than a pencil.

    Be sure to check the shower heads. Be sure that the flow restrictors are in place.

    The standard Symmons shower head that comes with a S96-1 or 2 gives you a feeling of a lot of pressure with the restriction in. And remember and remind them, if someone is on the second floor in the shower, and someone starts one on the first floor, there will be a big drop in pressure. About -1/2# per foot to the shower head on the second floor from the 55# at the service entrance.

    If the service coming into the house is 3/4" Poly (PE), it is only 5/8" Inside diameter. If you are to replace it, do it with 1 1/4" SDR 160/200# Poly pipe. If it is a CTS, it will equal 1" ID. The 1" is only 3/4". Even if you just replace from the curb to the cellar wall, you will improve pressure and flow.
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    edited July 2014

    Kudos to Burnham for stepping up to the plate for our veterans. I wish I were closer to give you a hand John.

    On the water service side, find a vet in the department who is sympathetic / patriotic. It's a shame, but sometimes it's worth playing on peoples emotions to do good. Anything to help.