Check Main Valve to Fix Water Pressure Problems
LESLIE: Al in Georgia’s got a problem. You’ve got little or no water pressure? Where is this happening, Al?
AL: Oh, what I’ve got is the city has come out and checked my water pressure coming in to the … into the main shut off area where they check how much water you use.
AL: And they’re telling me that I have plenty of water pressure coming in there. But inside the house itself it’s … I imagine it’s probably only running maybe 20, 25 psi.
TOM: That’s pretty low. Well, what kind of plumbing do you have, Al? Copper or steel?
AL: It’s just primarily city.
TOM: But I mean in the house … is it steel pipes or is it copper pipes?
AL: Copper pipes.
TOM: How old is your house?
AL: About nine years now.
TOM: Oh, well it’s a new house.
LESLIE: And this is happening at all of your faucets or on just some faucets or …?
AL: No, it’s on all of them; both upstairs and downstairs.
TOM: Well look, here’s what’s happening. You’ve got a restriction in the valve. Somewhere.
TOM: Now, if they changed … they checked the pressure on the street side. You want to check the pressure … the closest place to the main that you can get inside.
TOM: And see what the difference is. If you’ve got a dramatic difference in pressure between those two points, then your main valve is bad. You may have a situation where you have a ball valve, for example, or a gate valve that’s partially closed. And that might be what’s restricting the water. Because there’s really nothing else, in a copper plumbing
system, that should be obstructing it. If you had old steel pipes, we would be talking about interior rusting in the pipes and if – as Leslie said, if you –
LESLIE: Almost like a clogged artery.
TOM: Right. As Leslie said, if you had it in just some fixtures we could be talking about other things. But if you have it through the whole house and you’ve got a nine-year-old house with copper pipes …
LESLIE: You shouldn’t have this problem.
TOM: … it’s got to be … it’s got be a valve; there’s nothing else left.
AL: Yeah, because I’m … because I also see it on my water outlets for using the hose and all that stuff outside the house also.
AL: And what I’m curious – I haven’t crawled under the house in a long time and I’m wondering if there may be like some shutoff valve …
TOM: Well, you know, it’s funny you mention that because in all the years I spent as a home inspector, I very often found main water valves that people didn’t know existed. They may have had one inside the house and not known that there was a second one in the crawl space.
TOM: So it’s quite possible that this could be as simple as opening a valve. You definitely need to do some further investigation on both sides of that supply – on the street side and also on the house side – to try to figure out where the obstruction is.
AL: Okay. Now, how would I check the water pressure inside the house? Because I know the city does outside but I don’t …
TOM: Yeah, there’s a pressure meter that you could use. I mean a plumber has one as sort of a standard part of their plumbing tool kit.
TOM: It’s simply a water pressure meter. It’s a little dial that you screw on and you open up the faucet and it tells you what you got.
AL: Oh, okay.
TOM: But it doesn’t sound like it should be too terribly complicated to fix. You just have to figure out exactly where the restriction is.
AL: Right. (inaudible) My wife’s been complaining about it for a while and I drive a truck for a living and by the time I get home I have so many things to do at the house that (laughing) these little things …
TOM: Well, fix it for her, will you? Fix it for … fix it for her. (laughing)
LESLIE: (overlapping) She’s just going to continue to give you a hard time about it.
AL: Well, of course. My honey-to-do list sort of keeps growing.
TOM: (laughing) That’s right. Yours and mine both, my friend.
LESLIE: Well, earn some points and cross this one off.
AL: Yeah. Yeah, it’s probably going to be the first thing I’ll have to do.
TOM: Al, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Is your honey-do list growing (laughing) like mine is? So Leslie, since you’re the home improver in your house, do you have a honey-do list from Ed?
LESLIE: Mmm. It’s called the Leslie-do list and I usually tack things on myself.
TOM: (laughing) Alright. Yeah, you probably … you probably do more work to add to that list than he does, huh?
LESLIE: Yeah, I’ll be like, “Ooh, I should fix this. I need to do that.” And it’s like I’ll make work for myself; it’s not like I don’t have enough things to do. I’ll be like, “Oh, I’m going to organize that” or “I’m going to fix this.”
TOM: Well, let us help make some work for you. Call us right now. 1-888-MONEY-PIT. We promise it’ll be easier than when you started.