Whats the trick on getting your water pressure stronger? New water heater?

Baby H
by Baby H
  21 answers
  • Imagery Imagery on Aug 01, 2011
    Hey Baby H! There are many reasons for low pressure, but one fix that I have found was the pressure regulator. Once in a while, these will need to be replaced because they are faulty, or are just tired and old. I'm replacing one in a home this week for the opposite reason, too much pressure to the home...it is leaking also, and allowing 110+PSI into the home (40-80 PSI is considered "acceptable" here in CA. Could be a number of things, clogged galvanized pipes, bad or closed valves, mineral deposits, low city supply pressure, peak usage times, etc, etc... You can have a pressure booster installed if it is just low pressure from the city, but I hear that is a bit expensive...if you have more info on your specifics, I may be able to narrow down the options. I also hear that the elevation of your home in relation to the water tower can have an effect on your pressure also, if you are on a hill, sometimes you'll get less pressure.

  • Paul M Paul M on Aug 01, 2011
    If you don't have any current mechanical problems then you can adjust your pressure reducing valve to provide more pressure. First you need to find the valve, hopefully you can get to it. Then you will see a screw coming out of it with a lock nut at the base of the screw. Loosen the lock nut and turn the screw clockwise to increase pressure and counter clockwise to reduce pressure. If you want to make sure you know what you are doing you will need a hose bibb water pressure gauge so you can see exactly how much pressure you have on your system. If your water system is old you may have constricted water flow due to mineral build up but that is another issue altogether. And if it is mineral build up then replacing parts is the only solution I know of. http://www.amazon.com/Rain-Bird-P2A-Water-Pressure/dp/B00004RACK

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Aug 01, 2011
    These are great ideas if you are on city service. If you are on a well then you may be able to adjust your tank and pump settings.

  • Paul M Paul M on Aug 01, 2011
    If you are on a well and need more pressure you can add pressure to your holding tank and that will increase your line pressure. You will need to adjust your pressure cut off switch otherwise your tank will not fill up as much as it should. If you are on a well and need to make this adjustment you should call in a professional unless you are absolutely sure you know what you are doing.

  • Baby H, can you tell us what type of water supply you have. Well, or city? Also how old is your home? What kind of pipes do you have? Steel, plastic, copper? Also does the house suffer from hard water? Does the water pressure on the cold side of the system appear OK and the hot side pressure is low? Knowing the answers to this will help guide you to the correct answer you desire. All of the answers above are correct, but each one is not necessarily correct for each possible issue you could have. But knowing exactly what your issue is will focus us on the correct answer to your issue.

  • Baby H Baby H on Aug 01, 2011
    Hi Woodbridge, home is 11 years old. The pipes look to be copper.. errr City water.. I just purchased the home but the water doesnt seem to be hard. It has a lot of fancy shower heads in the bathrooms and it may be as simple as we can't figure out how to work them correctly or the pressure really is low. LOL The water heater is original to the home so I'm looking at just replacing it. I wanted to go Tankless but from prior question I believe it would not be a good option for me. So I will go with a high efficiant one. Its has 3 full bathrooms and I'm looking to add a bathroom in the basement soon. Is a 50 gallon tank enough?

  • Shower head pressure can be the result of hard water filling the heads. I suggest that you remove them and soak them in vinegar or CLC then re-install to see if there is any difference. Some shower heads are so large that the house pressure cannot fully provide enough water volume to make them work as they should. This would be an adjustment on the pressure regulator found near the water meter area. Simply turning this device screw in a half turn at a time will help. If water pressure is to high the result is hammering noise on faucets when you turn them off. Oftentimes toilet valves begin to act up as well when pressure is to high. So be careful when doing this. I think you can purchase a pressure device that reads the house water pressure at Home Depot that screws onto the outside hose bib or on washer hose line so you can see what you have. Ideally you should be around 60# max. Much more then that causes issues. Another reason for low water pressure at the showers is undersized pipes. If the supply pipes are all 1/2" in size you simply do not have enough volume of water being supplied to them. Increasing pressure will help, but not by much. You would need to increase pipe sizes to 3/4" for ideal water volume. As far as water heater size. 50 gallon in a modern home is pretty much ideal. This should allow for two showers and perhaps laundry. Of course the efficiency of the hot water heater must be brought into this as well. More efficient units heat water faster thus longer showers before you run out. Lower cost units not so much. You need to ask yourself how many people will be showering at the same time to determine what size unit you need. Its like sizing a septic system. They do not go with how many baths, but how many bedrooms. You can have ten baths but only two bedrooms in a house, so how many showers could work at same time? Same goes with your home. How many will take showers at same time? I would look into the on demand gas units. These are sized based on your desired use. Of course the more showers you want to use at the same time the more these units cost, but you can size them to a point that all showers and fixtures can run at same time and still deliver the hot water. But that is not really reasonable as the cost factor is way beyond what you would normally require. Tankless units are expensive, but payback is much greater then that of a free standing heater. You need to determine how long your planning to stay in the house to see if this is practical or not. In any case, if it its properly sized and piped you will be really pleased at the performance these units deliver. And how much you will save on gas.

  • Paul M Paul M on Aug 01, 2011
    The pressure reducing valve is typically under the house for crawl space or in the utility area for slab construction in Georgia. There is no PRV near the meter here in this state that I have ever seen.

  • Baby H Baby H on Aug 08, 2011
    I wanted to thank everyone for the input. I did a lot of digging and eventually I had a plumber come in and evaluate my plumbing issues. He found that the shut off valve to the water in the home was in operatable. The water heater was set at the normal heating level but not heating the water, after testing it. The pressure was at 41PSI way to low. Soooooooooo I got a new Rheem water heater, new pull down valve for the water heater and moved it off the stand to the floor. New shut off pull down value for main shut off to the home. He cut and cap off my "vent' pipe and cleaned out a few sinks for me. I'm currently a happy camper! Nice hot showers now, water pressure is wonderful and the smell in the basement is gone!

  • Imagery Imagery on Aug 08, 2011
    Baby, glad you got it figured out. Sure is nice to have issues like this behind you! Talk to you soon!

  • Do I have a few questions for you, not to burst your bubble bath. You said he took the heater off its stand and put it onto the floor? What was the reason for the stand? Was this heater in the garage? Changing the shut off valve does nothing to the water pressure, only changes the volume that moves through. So how did he increase the pressure in the house, or did he? If you replace a valve that is not opening all the way, I can see why you had issues with the volume coming out of the taps, But this does nothing to pressure. You also stated he cut of and cap off your vent pipe? Can you tell me just what he did with a bit more information? What vent was cut off and capped? Over all I am glad everything worked out for you but your answers raised some concerns on just what he did. Last question, did he pull the required permits to put the hot water heater in? If not please tell me he is going to do this. Its code requirement and if he did anything unsafe, which explains my questions, this needs to be found out if he did things correct. Bob

  • Paul M Paul M on Aug 08, 2011
    Woodbridge as far as I know there is no requirement here to get a permit have your water heater swapped out. In fact overreaching government is a problem not an asset. However I am with you on most of your questions. Just why did the heater get put on the floor? How was the pressure increased? What vent pipe was removed?

  • Baby H Baby H on Aug 08, 2011
    According to code, that size water heater should not be on a stand anymore and the water catcher(little tank) was mounted to the ceiling without straps. The home inspector also flag this as an issue so I knew the plumber was correct. The water heater is in the basement. The shut off value to the tank area was broke. So he replaced and put a "T" something where I can turn off just the hot water or all the water. The fact that the water heater was old and had "calcified" had help with cause the pressure issues. Once all this was removed and my faucet "filters,arerators were cleaned with the new heater. The vent he capped was in the basement and had something to do with with the rough in the builder did for a future bathroom and I cant remember but it was were he said the water run off for the garbage disposal,dishwasher etc that pipe was just up to the ceiling and open. So he cut it down some and capped it.No permits for Water heater. They did pull a permit for the AC unit. Tamla

  • Baby, Sounds like things are much better. The questions raised by Woodbridge, Paul and now me, are not an attack but simply a request for clarification. We care about our friends here on Hometalk otherwise we wouldn't waste our valuable time. I'm sure you can appreciate that. We all have at least one eyebrow raised on a couple of your comments, so consider our "probing" to be coming from your concerned "brothers". Fixing the shut-off valves will most certainly help your water "pressure" problem, although technically, as Woodbridge mentioned, it is an increase in water flow (volume) that improved the situation as opposed to pressure... regardless of how it is described, the final result is a positive one. The alarming thing you mentioned is pulling the water heater off it's stand and securing the vent. I didn't pick up anywhere whether your water heater is electric or gas. In general, gas water heaters used to be required to be installed 18" off the floor. The reason for this is vapors from most petroleum products(natural gas, propane, gasoline, etc..) are heavier than air so they tend to hang near the floor. Gas water heaters have a source of ignition, so the idea was to improve safety by raising that source of ignition off the floor and away from those explosive vapors, in particular, that can of gasoline for your mower you have sitting 10 feet of the water heater. Most, if not all, new residential water heaters are required to be FVIR, which stands for "flammable vapor ignition resistant". FVIR heaters are not required to be on stands in most applications; but I suspect it may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. So removal of the stand may be a result of installing one of the new FVIR gas heaters or you went with an electric heater. To the best of my knowledge, gas heaters still require venting... so removal of the vent, if we are in fact referring to the heater vent, is okay if you went to an electric heater as opposed to a gas unit. Again, appreciate your tolerance of our questions and trust you can appreciate our asking them... Tim

  • Baby, While I was writing my thesis above, you replied to the questions. I worked hard on that so if you don't mind, I'll leave it...:) Seriously, I'm sure all would agree we are all grateful your problems were solved. Tim

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Aug 08, 2011
    If I'm reading the post right the capped vent for for some un-used rough ins.

  • Baby H Baby H on Aug 08, 2011
    Tim, I need all the "brothers" I can get and wish they were closer so they could make sure I get all my issues addressed. Especially the ones I don't know about I appreciated and need the questions raised. I have no problem going back to the plumber/AC or whatever contractor. The money I'm putting out I need to make sure that what I don't know I learn from others. The water heater is Gas and it is a Rheem Guardian/Fury It has the push button ignite..I'm sure the plumber was trying to use "lammen" terms to help me understand better what he was doing. The pipe was in the basement in the rough in bathroom area and was going all the way up to the ceiling and just open. So not a real vent but probably a term he used to help me understand what it was connected to and doing. Keep the questions coming. I have a lot more questions and projects trust me on that! I have to get back to working LOL

  • Great to hear that things are OK at your place Baby H. I was not aware that no plumbing permits are needed to swap out a Hot water heater, I am surprised at that, but if they not required that is fine. Still A bit confused about the heater being hung or placed in a stand as opposed to sitting on floor however. Also one other quick question. Does the hot water heater have a shut off on each side to isolate it from the plumbing? Or just one valve on the cold water intake side? Bob

  • Baby H Baby H on Aug 08, 2011
    There was a little tank that held hot water, I can't remember what he called it. It was at the ceiling and not strapped. Then the actual water heater was on a large tripod stand. So he placed the new heater on the floor and put a T in the pipe and attached the new smaller tank and put a valve in between them. I believe now I can turn off the hot, all and keep the cold..

  • What that little tank was, is an expansion tank to help prevent against water hammer. It was most likely blue or off yellow in color. As long as there are not two valves one on each side of the water heater to isolate it from the rest of the plumbing your OK, if he valved off both sides of the heater it has been installed unsafely and needs to be corrected. Installing a valve on both sides of the heater can cause excessive pressure build ups should they be turned off for servicing of the heater. Just want you to be safe!

  • Baby H Baby H on Aug 08, 2011
    Only on valve so I'm goodddddddd