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Thread: Low Flow to Lavatories

  1. #1
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    Default Low Flow to Lavatories

    I have a 15 year old home(service call) that has an upstairs bath consisting of a bathtub with shower,toilet and two lavatories side by side. The bathtub/shower has a delta 13-14 series pressure balanced valve. The bath/shower unit has great volume and pressure and maintains great flow even when you flush the toilet. The toilet has great volume.

    The water pipe in the home is pex. I found 3/4" pex feeding from downstairs to this bathroom. The cold pipe reduces from 3/4" to 1/2" at the toilet with a 3/4 x 1/2" x 1/2" tee and continues to the lavatories with 1/2". I cant see anything past the toilet connection. It disappears into the 2x12 floor joist.

    The lavatories have low cold flow. You can turn the hot water on either lavatory and it will literally blow water out onto the floor with the aerators off. The cold is the problem. One lavatory will run "ok" volume but way way less than the hot......if you turn on the second lavatory cold only and have both running at the same time the flow drops to a trickle between the two.

    If you turn on the hot water and cold together on one of the lavatories and then only the cold water on the second lavatory the hot water has so much pressure it backfeeds through the faucet into the cold line and boosts the cold water at the second lavatory.

    I'm thinking a kinked pipe or foreign object lodged in a fitting between the toilet connection and the 1st lavatory. All the fixtures are lined up on one wall.

    The supply to the toilet has super pressure and volume with the supply running into a bucket. The problem is with the last two fixtures at the end of the run. The fixtures are on a 12" wall in a line all side by side.

    I'm thinking cut the ceiling from below between where I'm getting water and where I'm not getting water and cut the pipe........

    Any ideas?

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    The first fixture is the tub/shower unit,toilet and then the two lavatories all lined up on one wall. The 3/4" pex feeds the tub/shower unit 1st then the toilet. The lavatories are the end on the run,

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    I could run a 1/2" pex line from the accessible 3/4" cold line in the attic space and drop the 1/2" pex down the wall to the last lavatory and connect back into the existing cold for the lavatory.

    This would feed the two lavatories from the opposite direction. This would also leave the bad pipe or foreign object in place.....which could be bad if it moves to another location.

    This way would be the least invasive with only one small hole cut in the back of the vanity cabinet.

    Its the customers choice.

    For the record I suggested a complete repipe. Its all durapex. LOL

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    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    I'd almost bet that there's a kink in the pex somewhere. You should push hard for a total repipe if it's all durapex.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    I'd almost bet that there's a kink in the pex somewhere. You should push hard for a total repipe if it's all durapex.
    Me too. I think its kinked. I'll be finding out next tuesday. He doesn't plan on keeping the house very much longer and refused the repipe. I told him be sure and keep my number handy and make sure the wife knows where to turn the water off. LOL

    ADD> The customer lives on a lake. He has ducks that come into his garage and eats and drinks the cats food. The cat was just sitting there watching the ducks. I went back into the house and told the customer he has strange plumbing and animals...LOL

    I took a video of the ducks but the cat ran out of the garage before I could get it on camera. I was able to take a pic of the ducks in the garage and the cat sitting about 15 feet away.....watching me. LOL Crazy.

    Last edited by Hackney plumbing; 02-29-2012 at 06:36 AM.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    It may be junk in the PEX line before the fitting too.
    You could cut the line where it's visible and put a vac on it and see if you can suck anything back toward the 3/4"
    The insert fittings are pretty small openings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    It may be junk in the PEX line before the fitting too.
    You could cut the line where it's visible and put a vac on it and see if you can suck anything back toward the 3/4"
    The insert fittings are pretty small openings.
    I considered it could be junk in the line. The problem would be getting a shop vac to the space. Its barely enough room for me to belly slide where the roof comes down in the attic. Its a 25' crawl then a few feet walking.

    I can see the 3/4" pex and a few connections but to actually crimp a fitting in I would have to cut some of the plywood out. They let the plywood run long out into the attic space so the pipe is covered with plywood.

    Thanks for the suggestion and it could work.

    It comes down to time vs a for sure solution. I'm thinking I could cut the sheetrock and access the pipe and have it replaced in less than an hour. Then he will have drywall repair but I think he is considering doing some renovations to the kitchen ceiling anyway.......remove a light and add some recessed lights and get rid of the popcorn celing....that blown on stuff. Which really doesn't make sense because he told me he didn't plan on living there but for a few more years. You know how people are.
    Last edited by Hackney plumbing; 02-29-2012 at 11:47 AM.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    I would think that anywhere on the cold side would work for a vacuum.
    If it's something lodged tightly, then maybe not. Last time this worked for me, it was right at the tub valve, and I was able to loosen it from inside the valve with some a length solder stuck through the hole in the side of the valve, and that loosened it enough that the vacuum was able to pull it out.

    Huge sigh of relief. If that didn't work, it was going to cut the wall.

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