Sunday, July 1, 2012

Under pressure. . .

.    .    .water pressure, that is.  And that's a good thing.

Oh, the ridiculous repairs you have to do when you own a house.  For the past several years, the water pressure in my house had been decreasing, a little at first, then more in the last year, so much so that after you flushed a toilet you couldn't get enough of a trickle of water at the sink to wash your hands.  If you were watering the flowers every other water use in the house had to stop.  And heaven forbid that you needed to run a tap while the washer was filling.  The low flow starved out the pressure washer the house painter was using to clean the patio, and made doing the dishes a lengthy proposition.

Finally, it got on my nerves too much.  Something had to be done.  If it was corrosion in the galvanized pipe between the meter and my house, well.   .   .well, that would be BAD.  Expensive bad.  Hopefully it was something else.  I called a plumber to investigate.

The only water tap in the entire house seemingly not affected was the hose bibb on the front.  It was flowing fine.  He hooked up his pressure gauge to it and verified that, yep, it had 80 psi, just like the city water supply.  But the one on the back of the house only showed a pitiful 20 psi.  Under the house we went, where we discovered that the line to the front hose bibb teed off the supply upstream of the pressure regulator valve, whereas all the other water connections in the house were downstream.  So that was why the front was not affected.  Now, why the low pressure and pitiful flow?

The whole house is plumbed in copper pipe, except for one 6 inch long segment of galvanized iron pipe connected to the exit of the pressure regulator valve.  So either of these might be the problem.  Either that bit of galvanized pipe was corroded and inhibiting flow, or the pressure regulator, original with the house, was out of adjustment or plugged up.  The best solution was to replace both.  The plumber said he would pick up the parts and be back the next day.

A few hours later the next morning, he was done.  And boy, howdy, did that ever fix the problem!  I have water again!  You can turn on two faucets at the same time - heck, you can turn on THREE faucets, and still have plenty of water.  Yippee!

That night, I had my first truly enjoyable shower in years, augmented by a nifty new shower head.  I replaced the original 1968 one that put out a stingy spray about an inch wide.  I don't think they were thinking about water saving features back then, but this shower was miserable to use.  Just like kitchens with inadequate counter space and skinny hallways, it was a '60's thing, evidently.  Bathrooms weren't for luxury, they were for function.  But now my new shower head has a large lovely spray pattern, and it also pulses, thank you very much, if you want it.  Which I did, when I came in the house drowning in perspiration this morning after watering all my azaleas, trying to keep them alive in 100 plus degree temperatures and no rainfall.

I also had the plumber replace the flush valve in a toilet tank because I am too old, inflexible and grouchy to crawl under toilets anymore and hate to fix plumbing.  And he would have fixed my leaking kitchen faucet except whichever genius assembled it when the kitchen was renovated tightened all the connections so tightly the plumber couldn't get it apart without fearing he would scratch it up and wreck it.  He had to cease and desist until I could get replacement parts from Moen (thank you, lifetime warranty).  Now, if the worst happens we have new parts.

Just another day in the life of a home owner.


Darryl Iorio said...

You did the smart thing and called the plumber when you noticed signs of a plumbing problem. It would be bad if your problem was a leaking water pipe, as that can horribly increase your water consumption bill. Good to hear that the problem was just with the 6 inch galvanized pipe and the pressure regulator. Now you can run two or three faucets at once, thanks to the plumber!

The Calico Quilter said...

Hmm, I'm betting Darryl is a plumber.....