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Re: [Shop-talk] a(nother) plumbing question

To: MG List <>
Subject: Re: [Shop-talk] a(nother) plumbing question
From: Pat Horne <>
Date: Wed, 12 Dec 2007 18:56:11 -0600
I thought I had low water pressure also. We live out in the country and 
are on a private water system. We are also located near the end of the 
lines. When doing some plumbing work I needed to leak test the copper I 
had just soldered. I capped off all the openings and used a pressure 
gauge on one pipe. To my surprise the pressure was about 75 psi! I 
turned on a nearby faucet and the pressure dropped to 30 psi. It turns 
out that the previous owner used 3/4" pipe to connect the house to the 
meter, a distance of 700'. I have plans to replace that pipe with 1-1/4" 
pipe when I get time, but for now I just live with the low pressure at 
the house.

If the well pump capacity (rate) is not enough to supply your new 
shower, you will either have to upgrade the pump or put in enough 
storage capacity to supply enough water for however long you think you 
will be using the shower. I'd probably start with that before I go to 
the expense of putting in a high dollar shower that probably won't work 
well with your existing water supply.

I made the mistake in my renovation of going with 1" lines because of 
the "low" water pressure. IT is fine for the cold water, but the hot 
water takes forever to get to the sink, 40' away. I added a demand water 
heater at the sink to take care of that problem.

Instead of running a return line to the water heater, consider using a 
small pump, a check valve and a thermostatic or time switch. Plumb the 
towel warmer to the hot line, with the outlet fitting going into the 
pump intake. From the outlet of the pump to the inlet of the check 
valve. Finally from the check valve outlet to the cold water line. Since 
the water pressure in the hot and cold pipes will be almost the same, 
the pump won't have to push much pressure. Set up the controller 
(temperature or time switch) to control when the towel warmer will be in 
operation. I suspect that you won't notice that the cold water is warmer 
than usual when taking a shower, which is probably when the towel warmer 
is needed.

I would stay away from plastic pipe for water lines. Yes, it is done and 
it meets code, but the only time I've seen it is in apartment houses or 
low end condos. Houses generally use copper.

I would contact another plumber, one that is recommended to you by a 
plumbing supply house or friend  who knows that this plumber has done 
similar work in the past. Ask for references, then follow up on the 
references. You should be able to find someone who can give you the 
straight answers in your area.

Thusly spake
> I know our rental was only 1/2" from the street.  nonetheless, the 
> fixture requires 1" in, so I thought I'd go overkill now so I don't 
> have to later (I suspect the plans for the master bath include 
> something like the bathroom I'm doing now, only bigger/more). 
> I basically need to figure out how to get the pressure up after the 
> well tank, and what material I should use for the pipes.  they're 
> going through the attic no matter what, since I'm not going to crack 
> up the slab.

Pat Horne, Owner, Horne Systems 
(512) 797-7501 Voice            5026 FM 2001  Lockhart, TX 78644-4443
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