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Thread: Total House Water Pressure

  1. #1
    DIY home builder brianander's Avatar
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    Unhappy Total House Water Pressure

    I'm 200feet from the water meter on the street in a 3000sq/ft house, city water - pressure at all fixtures 64psi. When any fixture is used pressure drops to 40psi, then if second is used, falls to 21psi. Very little volume if more than one fixture is used at a time.

    Could I use a boost pump to increase volume to keep up with demand? It's getting old turning off the clothes washer to take a shower or being restricted to just one shower operating at a time!!

    Thanks for any help!
    BCAnder

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    How old is the house?

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    You would be better off bringing in a larger main water service pipe.
    200 feet is a long ways.

    With a 200 foot line at medium pressure, a 3/4" meter would require a 1-1/4" line.

    http://www.terrylove.com/watersize.htm

    Check out table 6-5 in the link below
    You should be sizing for about 33 fixture units with a three bath home.
    http://www.iapmo.org/common/ROP2004/...eprint/ch6.pdf
    Last edited by Terry; 04-13-2007 at 11:30 AM.

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    Sprinkler Guy Wet_Boots's Avatar
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    If this was a large property, you could even scale it up from there. An inch-and-a-half line and a one inch meter. The idea is to almost zero out the pressure losses, in case you want to run lawn sprinklers from the supply.

    (Hey, thanks for the icon! I only wish I had boots that snazzy.)
    Last edited by Wet_Boots; 04-13-2007 at 11:41 AM. Reason: Someone upgraded my footwear! :-)

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    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianander
    I'm 200feet from the water meter on the street in a 3000sq/ft house, city water - pressure at all fixtures 64psi. When any fixture is used pressure drops to 40psi, then if second is used, falls to 21psi. Very little volume if more than one fixture is used at a time.

    Could I use a boost pump to increase volume to keep up with demand? It's getting old turning off the clothes washer to take a shower or being restricted to just one shower operating at a time!!

    Thanks for any help!
    The line from street to house is too small.

    Even with a booster pump, you will be limited to what the line can deliver at zero PSI at your house. It is unsafe to pull a vacuum in the line from the street because a leak could cause contaminated ground water to enter your system.

    Therefore, you need a booster pump and a storage tank.

    Almost any small 1/2 HP shallow well jet pump will give you what you need to pump into a bladder tank. You could use a multistage centrifugal booster but that would produce more pressure than you need and costs more.

    The size of the tank depends on how much water you want to use in a short time in excess of the capacity of the line from the street. A small tank will not work if your demand exceeds the capacity of the line. You need some storage to get over that demand hump.

    You can't know the capacity of the line without some tests. I would skip the tests and use a large enough tank to be sure; probably an 80 gallon bladder tank unless you have a lot of demand over a long time such as multiple showers plus a washing machine.

    You will need a relief valve on the tank setup for safety because the pump + city water pressure will exceed the safe pressure limit of the tank. You will also need a check valve on the suction side of the pump to prevent backflow at shutoff.

    You can experiment with pressure settings. I would set the pressure switch at about 50 to 70 psi with precharge of 40 psi. The lower precharge will give you a little more capacity if you have more peak demand than the city line can't keep up with. The higher shutoff pressure will reduce the cycling on the pump.

    The city pressure will keep filling the tank when the pump is off so you will be operating over a 50 to 64 psi range. The pump not run unless your demand exceeds the drawdown capacity of the tank between 64 and 50 PSI.

    PS: Answers from Terry and Boots came while I was writing. If the bigger pipe is available, that is the best option. I was trying to answer the booster question.
    Last edited by Bob NH; 04-13-2007 at 12:23 PM.

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    DIY home builder brianander's Avatar
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    House was built in 1999. I think I put 1" from 3/4" meter to the house. I'll ask the city about the meter. I'm sure it would cost $$'s to get the 1" meter. I guess 1 1/2" from meter to house would be best??

    thanks for the replies and websites !!!!!
    BCAnder

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Some places charge by the opportunity cost - even if you don't use it, the larger the pipe to the house, you have the potential to use more, and the base price changes accordingly. One community near me has that problem as they have fire suppression sprinklers which requires a 2" line for the way it was designed. Even though they don't use much water, their base monthly minimum is huge in comparison to a "normal" house. Changing the supply line to the house is hopefully a one-time cost. that can be significant. Using a storage system is an ongoing cost, so balance the long-term costs. There might be some advantage to having on-site water storage, but we aren't talking about much, so it would be a minor benefit.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Sprinkler Guy Wet_Boots's Avatar
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    Is the service line copper? Or some other material? Are you certain there are no partially closed valves in the circuit?

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    The booster pump and storage tank would possibly work, but I think the best answer in the long run is to put in a larger supply line with a larger meter. I had a similar problem years ago although the distance wasn't anything near what you are dealing with. I replaced a 5/8" meter with a 1" and replaced the 3/4" galvanized supply line with 1" copper. The 1" meter was a bit more money than a 3/4", but no more labor to install. I am only charged for the water I actually use, not what I could use. Since my sewage bill is based on water use, and I use this water for irrigation as well as home use, the city bases my home usage on mid-winter use when there is no irrigation being done. I am not charged sewage on the additional water usage in the summer. I can run sprinklers, take a shower, wash clothes, and wash dishes at the same time without any decrease in flow, although in actual practice I do my irrigating in the wee hours of the morning when there is less evaporation.

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    DIY home builder brianander's Avatar
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    I spoke to the city, I have an appointment to talk to the city inspector. They said he the first step in the process. I'm going to pursue the larger meter and pipe going to the house.

    Would they change my 3/4" tap from the street to the meter to 1" also?

    The system is all PVC. I laid the supply line from the meter with local labor and would do the same when I install the 1 1/4 or 1 1/2" new line.

    I've got one isolation valve at the input side of the meter and one at the house.... great thought Wet Boots.... I'll check it out!

    Thanks again for the responses.... this forum is awesome Terry! GBY
    BCAnder

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    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking pressure reduceing valve???

    Have the city water people come out and check out the system before you go nuts and try and re-vamp everything


    you could have something as simple as a bad water meter...

    or most likely a bad PRV valve .....if you have one....



    if you have a water softener ,
    that could be stopped up....
    you might want to check out your outside hose bibs and see what kind of pressure you have at those outlets too...
    compaired to inside the home....





    Worst case...
    you could possibly have a crimped off in-comming
    wwater line that is slowly shutting off....that would mean a new one inch line to the home...


    have you talked to the neighbors to see what their
    pressure is in their homes to compair to yours????




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