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Thread: Water Pressure Booster - remove?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member captmorgan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Default Water Pressure Booster - remove?

    Will an unused water pressure booster reduce the water pressure coming in from the main?

    We just bought a house with galvanized pipes. The water pressure seems fine (haven't lived in it yet) but there were a few leaks in the pipes so we are replacing the galvanized with copper. Two owners ago a pressure booster was added, probably for the outdoor lawn sprinklers. Then the most recent owner built an addition on half the sprinklers and left them winterized.

    Anyway I'm trying to decide if I'll get better pressure by removing a 15 year old pressure booster.


  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    Galvanized pipes when they start to degrade can reduce their diameter to barely a pencil and can actually nearly block off the available flow before they start to leak because all the iron has changed into rust.

    Trying to suck more water than the pipe can supply can increase the wear and could cause the pump to fail if it gets starved. Water pressure with no flow is not a good indication of anything...course, it needs to start out good. See what the flow you get with the pump off.

    A booster pump only works well and lasts long if it can get all the supply it needs. SOmetimes, you may need to fill a tank and pump from there to ensure you have enough volume. Replacing the supply pipes, assuming they're large enough for your desired flow should help lots. Now, some places have quite low water pressure and a pump could still help.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Yakima WA


    I may be you are confusing water pressure with flow. This is pretty common, so don't feel bad if you are. Pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) Flow is measured in gallons per minute (GPM) While you have to have pressure to push the water through the pipes, the flow is determined by the size of the pipe. In other words, you can have very high pressure through a very small pipe resulting in a fairly low GPM. On the other hand, the same PSI in a large diameter pipe will result in a higher GPM. What I am driving at is that perhaps the pressure booster is having no effect, or it could be partly block somehow and reducing GPM but not PSI. I would suggest you start by finding out what pressure your city main is delivering. Then measure the pressure on the other side of the booster. Another possibility for low flow is the galvanized pipes could very well be corroded inside cutting the diameter considerable. This often is the problem with old galvanized pipes (besides the leaks) House water pressure can vary quite a bit and still be OK. 40 PSI or so is decent, over 80 PSI is way too much. Optimum is probably 50 to 60 PSI. Too much pressure is damaging to plumbing fixtures such as washing machine, dishwasher, and toilet valves as well as connecting hoses. If your city main carries too much pressure, then a Pressure Reducing Valve and thermal expansion tank would be in order. The lawn sprinklers should be separated from the house water with a back flow prevention device and the pressure would not need to be regulated. It may be the meter is too small for the irrigation system and/or the line from the meter is too small and the pressure booster was added to try to increase flow. Could also mean there are too many sprinklers on the zones for the GPM. Too many variables to do more than speculate on this, but some things you may want to examine.

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member zl700's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    Unused as installed but not operating?
    Yes it will cause a reduction with water having to flow through additional passageways such as check valves, impellers, vanes and additional pipe. Unless there is a bypass, removing the system will increase both flow and pressures with less friction in your piping system. How much depends on pump and piping.
    Of course it's dependent on whether is on the whole system or only on the sprinkler supply, then it wouldn't matter.
    If Payback is so important to you, why are you not driving a Toyota Corolla?

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona


    A pressure "booster" would have to be a pump, and it would depend on how it was installed whether it had any effect on the pressure if it were not operative. Are you sure he did not install a "pressure reducing valve"?
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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