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2014

Low hot water pressure

Test hot water volume /pdf

1) Start with temporary pressure gauge

One that reads up to 100-200 psi and has threads that screw onto hose bibb.
 For example 200 psi Rain Bird P2A or 100 psi Brady BTG 100

I purchased my pressure gauge at local ACE hardware
Buy:
Buy Rainbird at Amazon
Buy BTG 100 at Amazon
Pressure gauges at Amazon
Safety Equipment for Professionals
Industrial and scientific Amazon
pressure gauge
Permanent pressure gauge

Or Permanent pressure gauge on cold water line

Pressure over 80 psi can damage tank and shorten life of plumbing fixtures
1/4" pipe thread

Buy:
Pressure gauges at Amazon
Tank pressure

2) Put temporary gauge on water heater drain valve 

3) Open drain valve, and see if pressure gauge moves

Open drain valve counterclockwise
If there is no pressure, tank drain is clogged

Resources:
How to open clogged water heater drain
How to replace drain valve

4) Turn OFF all water taps

5) Put ear against pipe and listen for water leak

6) Note static pressure when no water is being used

7) Turn ON 2 or 3 COLD taps

8) Does pressure fall?

9) If pressure falls a lot, then supply to house could be clogged

If pressure falls a lot, then supply pipe to house could be clogged.
Run same test on outdoor spigot nearest water meter.
Check if neighbors have same problem. This will show if supply line to house is clogged or water main has low pressure. People on water well: check pressure switch on pump.
Tankless flow rates

10) Close COLD taps

11) Open 1 HOT tap

12) Does pressure fall?

14) If pressure falls a lot, then supply to heater is clogged

With new water heater, Look at heat trap nipples: Remove cold side supply. Check if water will flow when not connected to water heater. Look down into nipple for clog or replace heat trap nipples.
If water will not flow when disconnected from water heater, then look at water heater shut off valve for possible clog, and then go back to split where incoming cold watersupply branches off to water heater.

15) If pressure does not fall, then turn ON 2-3 more hot taps

16) If pressure still doesn't fall, then  hot-side outlet of water heater is clogged.


water flow rate

Other causes for low household water pressure

Bad faucet cartridge. Read about  Crossover
Leaking TP valve, Leaking water heater Diagnose leaking water heater
Clogged sediment filter or water filter
Clogged or manfunctioning water softerner
On tankless unit, the water filter must be cleaned each month.
Copper to galvanized fittings not protected with di-electric connections
Old galvanized pipe
Rusty brown water

Rusty hot water

Can indicate water heater is rusted out.
Can indicate deteriorated galvanized pipes, which frequently clog at elbows and joints
Heat trap inserts

Heat trap inserts, washers, and nipples can clog 

And make noise

Manufacturers include heat-traps so their product appears to use less energy
When installing water heater, remove manufacturer's heat traps.
Read resource about heat traps

Top image shows heat-trap washer. This specific washer is necessary to hold dip tube in place when installing di-electric nipples. To make this washer usable: Push washer over sharpie ink pen and cut off baffles so washer can be used without risk of clog.

Bottom image shows heat trap nipples
Buy:
Camco dielectric heat trap nipples
Dielectric nipples at Amazon

Heat trap washer
Heat trap

Remove heat traps:

Heat trap washer can be changed to high heat washer

Water heaters with insert type dip tube might have heat trap washer
Dip tube

Resource:
Read about dip tubes
Combo anode rod

Hot side nipple might be connected to anode rod

Replace with combo anode rod without heat traps
Resource
: Read about anode rods

Cold side nipple might be connected to dip tube

Replace with combo dip tube without heat traps
Resource: Read about dip tubes

Buy:
Water heater dip tubes at Amazon

Pex-lined di electric nipple at Amazon

Install pex-lined nipples

Available home center water heater department
Buy online:
Pex-lined di electric nipple at Amazon
Dielectric nipples at Amazon
Buy:
Camco dielectric heat trap nipples
carriage bolt

How to remove clogged nipple

Use 5/8" carriage bolt so nipple will not collapse
Remove by turning nipple counter-clockwise

Larger image with details

Make your own heat traps

Save $4-12 per year
Use mega-flow water heater connectors
Mega-flow connectors have larger inner diameter pipe to allow greater water flow
Resource/Buy:
Site
Buy:
Water heater connectors at Amazon
Low water pressure
Larger image

If whole house has low pressure

Then clog starts somewhere in the incoming cold water line before, or at, cold water tee.
Cold water tee is where cold water line splits: one line supplies cold water to each faucet, other line supplies cold water to water heater.

If cold runs fine, but hot water has low pressure, then test with pressure gauge as shown above. AND read about crossover.
Testing will tell if clog is before or after water heater.
Use pipe wrench and take apart unions. A union allows two threaded pipes to join together. Take photos of pipes before starting so that pipes can be reassembled easily.
Begin by inspecting inside each pipe and at each join.
Pipes can fill with sediment over time.
Sediment can break loose and catch at any joint or elbow
Cold inlet and hot outlet can be clogged with sediment
Cold inlet and hot outlet can be clogged with minerals if water heater temperature is set above 140 degrees.

leaking di-electric union

Di-electric unions can clog

Di-electric unions have rubber washer that can leak
Rust and sediment can gather at union.

Low water pressure can be caused by:

1) Sediment clog in pipe, water heater, or defective shut-off valve.
2) Crossover where bad single-handle faucet cartridge causes cold to enter hot pipe. Hot takes long time to arrive at faucet or never arrives.
3) Clogged faucet areators. Remove and clean areators with CLR calcium-lime-rust remover, or white vinegar, or replace areators.
4) Clogged water filter or water softener. Change filters regularly. Service water softener.
5) Leaking pipe, leaking TP valve, leaking water heater. Shut off all faucets. Inspect for leaks and listen for running water.
6) Broken water main, city water problem. Open outdoor spigot nearest main shut-off to see if pressure coming into house is low. Check if neighbors have same problem. Call city services.
7) Bad water well pump, waterlogged water well. Check pressure gauge on pump. Run water and see if pressure stablizes. Call well service.
8) Bad pressure regulating valve (only if valve is installed). Replace valve.
9) Bad check valve on recirculation sytem or elsewhere along plumbing. Look for check valve and replace or clean with CLR.

If problem is located at one tap:

Clean areator and check if problem solved.
Clog will probably be located at low point in water line.
Remove and replace shut off valve.
While shut-off valve is removed. Use stout wire, electrical-wire-puller or drain auger to run into pipe down to next elbow, and then flush line.
Hook air compressor to water line and push air into water line to help release clog. Flush line again. Read more and see image
If problem continues, then pipe has to be traced back to next elbow, and that elbow removed and cleaned or replaced.

If all hot taps have low pressure,

then problem is usually at or near water heater.
Clogs can be found inside the heat-trap nipples at water heater, or regular galvanived nipple, anywhere along the pipe, at elbow, tee, or valve.
Cogs can also happen at check valve, or mixing valve, or pressure valve if these things are installed.

Another place to check is connection where both copper and galvanized pipe join together.
In case of copper and galvanized, the nearby galvanized pipe deteriorates and needs replacement.

Test for location of clog

Use BTG-100 pressure gauge on outdoor spigot nearest to main shut off to get baseline pressure for house.
If pressure is over 80 psi, then install pressure reducing valve to avoid damage to pipes, plumbing and water heater.
Have helper turn on hot and then cold water faucet inside house and watch for pressure drop for each hot and cold.
Attach pressure gauge to water heater drain valve. Water heater drain valve must be open. Read: if water heater drain valve is blocked
With pressure gauge on drain valve, open hot water faucets. You are looking for rapid fall in pressure. Rapid fall in pressure indicates that clog is between the test point and the incoming cold water tee. If pressure does not fall rapidly when hot faucet is turned on, the clog is after the test point.

Disassemble pipes as needed. Inspect and replace pipes, valves and joints as needed.
Move down the water line and continue inspection and replacement.

High water pressure over 80 PSI

expansion tank

Pressure over 80 psi can damage plumbing and water heater

Can damage tank, cause leaks and shorten life of plumbing fixtures.
Install expansion tank on incoming cold water line
Buy:
Expansion tanks at Amazon

Resources:
Leaking water heater

Pressure reducing valve on cold water line

Pressure reducing valve will solve high-pressure problem
Buy:
Pressure reducing valves
Pressure regulating valves at Amazon
Hot water slow to arrive at faucet
Larger image
Typical faucet has 2 gpm (gallon per minute)
Typical tub spout has 2-1/2 gpm

Faucet can fill one gallon container in 30 seconds.

2gpm water flow= in 30 seconds hot water will travel a distance of 83' along 1/2 pipe.

If single handle faucet is lifted in center, then equal amounts of hot and cold water will flow, so distance is 41' along each 1/2 pipe.

If single-handle faucet has bad cartridge, hot water or cold water can be slow to arrive: Crossover
flow rate of 2 gpm through the water heater is a flow rate of 17.43 inches/second through a 3/4 inch ID pipe Read
Test hot water volume /pdf

Things to do to increase amount of hot water:

How to increase amount of water:
Adjust thermostat to higher temperature. How to adjust thermostat
Install shower timer so more people can shower before hot runs out.
Install low flow shower heads and areators so hot lasts longer.
Take showers instead of bath. Shower uses 5-9 gallons hot water, bath uses 12-15 gallons
Take showers in quick succession so hot water located at top of tank does not cool when incoming cold water arrives.
Install larger water heater tank.
Install two tanks. Two water heaters
Install under-counter water heater at sinks.
Install insta-hot faucet in kitchen.
Use pot boiler at kitchen sink.
Leave gallon jugs of water in sun during day for hot water needed at lunch or dinner.
Install solar water heater in addition to other sources. Solar water heater
Install tempering tank next to regular tank to passively preheat incoming cold water in winter. Tempering tank
Electric: convert elements from non-simultaneous to simultaneous operation. requires additional circuit breaker and wire to heater, and rewire of heater. Simultaneous wiring
Install mixing valve so some usage points receive warm water while others receive hotter water.
Do not turn on hot water when using cold water. Single handled faucet lifted straight up will cause cold water to immediately enter tank. Crossover
Turn off hot water to washing machine.
Wash dishes by hand.
Install dishwasher on cold water line instead of hot.
Reduce water pressure in house using pressure reducing valve. Turn down water well pressure. Hot water lasts longer. Plumbing pipes and fixtures last longer.
Clean restrictions in pipes. Low hot water pressure
Shorten distance from hot water tank to usage point. Distance hot water travels in 30 seconds
Gas water heater: install external air intake so ambient room temperature is not lowered in winter when combustion draws cold air through cracks and doors.
Install water heater with higher recovery rating, and higher first-hour delivery.
Clean sediment out of tank to increase efficiency. How to remove sediment/ efficiency numbers
Insulate water pipes throughout house. Insulate water heater .Read 9-ways to save with water heater
Two water heaters
-
Additional links


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Compare gas and electric water heater timers

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All costs are energy
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Cost to run electric water heater

Drop wire from attic
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How to wire off-peak water heater


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9+ ways to save with water heater

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