Any easy/cheap way to determine where restriction in water service may be?

Hi all,
Friend's house, complaint is that it is literally impossible to use more th an one appliance or faucet at any time due to low water pressure. Asked me if I had any ideas, I said I'd look at it. Finally dug out a pressure gau ge and stopped by with it. What I found was that the resting pressure is 9 0 PSI at the base of the water heater tank, but it drops to about 20 PSI wh en the clothes washer is filling and it fills very slowly. This seems to i ndicate to me that there is a massive restriction somewhere upstream of the water heater. My best guess is that it is actually between the street and the house, but that is just a guess as I cannot visually inspect all of th e water lines between the main shutoff and the water heater (it's not near an outside wall) nor do I have any idea in what condition they are inside. Just to include as much info as possible, I suspect the house was built in the late 60's or early 70's and all the visible plumbing is copper. I see no evidence of a pressure reducing valve or backflow preventer anywhere.
Is there anything that I can do to confirm/deny my suspicions, or is it tim e to simply "let the pros handle it"?
thanks
nate
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On 7/31/14, 4:47 PM, N8N wrote:

No mention of the main "whole house" shutoff valve. Did you find it ? Is it fully open ??
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On Thursday, July 31, 2014 4:56:00 PM UTC-4, Retired wrote:

d me if I had any ideas, I said I'd look at it. Finally dug out a pressure gauge and stopped by with it. What I found was that the resting pressure is 90 PSI at the base of the water heater tank, but it drops to about 20 PS I when the clothes washer is filling and it fills very slowly. This seems to indicate to me that there is a massive restriction somewhere upstream of the water heater. My best guess is that it is actually between the street and the house, but that is just a guess as I cannot visually inspect all o f the water lines between the main shutoff and the water heater (it's not n ear an outside wall) nor do I have any idea in what condition they are insi de. Just to include as much info as possible, I suspect the house was buil t in the late 60's or early 70's and all the visible plumbing is copper. I see no evidence of a pres

Wow.
Normally, I'd respond with a snide comment BUT... I think you may have got it!
I'm posting from that house as I'm still there helping out with some other stuff.
I'd previously located the main shutoff - big (1"? Larger than 3/4" anyway) ball valve in the coat closet behind a nasty unclosed hole in the drywall. Your comment made me go look there again, and down by the floor there was a wooden access panel. So I removed that and behind there was ANOTHER val ve, an old stop valve this time.
It was barely cracked open...
one of her roommates was doing laundry so when I heard the washer start to fill I ran over to the water heater and my gauge was showing about 84 PSI.
Flushing an upstairs toilet, turning on the faucet, and turning on the show er simultaneously seemed to indicate that that was the issue. Maybe someon e had shut that valve in a misguided attempt to use it as a PRV as the pres sure is really rather high?
I will advise that they get new washer hoses and possibly think long term a bout installing a PRV as 90ish does seem to border on scary. My old place was 80 PSI and that made for badass showers, but I knew full well that on 7 0 year old piping it was a crapshoot not installing a PRV. However, as it is a three story house, the high pressure may be appreciated...
Sometimes fixes really are easy? I'm on a roll here :)
nate
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N8N wrote:

You mean they always had pressure problem or it started some time ago. If latter, surely some one touched the valve......
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On Thursday, July 31, 2014 5:17:48 PM UTC-4, Tony Hwang wrote:

ked me if I had any ideas, I said I'd look at it. Finally dug out a pressu re gauge and stopped by with it. What I found was that the resting pressur e is 90 PSI at the base of the water heater tank, but it drops to about 20 PSI when the clothes washer is filling and it fills very slowly. This seem s to indicate to me that there is a massive restriction somewhere upstream of the water heater. My best guess is that it is actually between the stre et and the house, but that is just a guess as I cannot visually inspect all of the water lines between the main shutoff and the water heater (it's not near an outside wall) nor do I have any idea in what condition they are in side. Just to include as much info as possible, I suspect the house was bu ilt in the late 60's or early 70's and all the visible plumbing is copper. I see no evidence of a

all. Your comment made me go look there again, and down by the floor there was a wooden access panel. So I removed that and behind there was ANOTHER valve, an old stop valve this time.

SI.

meone had shut that valve in a misguided attempt to use it as a PRV as the pressure is really rather high?

ace was 80 PSI and that made for badass showers, but I knew full well that on 70 year old piping it was a crapshoot not installing a PRV. However, as it is a three story house, the high pressure may be appreciated...

Old-ish house, but current occupants have only been there less than a year. No idea when the issue started, it's always been there as far as they kno w.
I'm quite sure someone touched the valve, *guessing* maybe landlord, house was previously a rental? attempt to curb water use on a utilities-included lease? Or someone was aware of the high pressure coming off the street an d didn't understand that static pressure wouldn't change if flow were restr icted? Who knows. just hope it's fixed now, and I'm feeling good :)
nate
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N8N wrote:

One "Atta boy for you", LOL! Our PRV is set at 60 psi when running water. Incoming pressure is over 100 psi. Fairly new neighborhood. Houses are all less than 20 YO.
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On 7/31/14, 5:09 PM, N8N wrote:

Glad to help...sometimes we get lucky..........
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On 7/31/2014 1:47 PM, N8N wrote:

on the hot water tank drain. Run other end outside and turn the drain faucet on.
If both give full stream, then the problem is the water heater outlet.
If only outside has full stream, get a new water heater.
Paul, KD7HB
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Hi all,

Is there anything that I can do to confirm/deny my suspicions, or is it time to simply "let the pros handle it"?
BWAH HAH HAH HAH!!!! GOOD ONE!!!
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82PSI is considered normal domestic water supply pressure here in Waterloo Region (Ontario Canada) and 90 is NOT out of the ordinary. A 150 ft tower will provide 65psi by gravity alone to houses built at the same level. If the tower is on a hill 50 feet higher, ot a house is in a valley 50 feet lower, you have over 85psi. Pressure reducing valves are virtually unheard of here.
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On Friday, August 1, 2014 11:54:58 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

What are typical plumbing method/materials used in your area?
Everything I've read/heard says that normal DW pressure should be ~60 PSI or less. Personally I like a little higher for better showers, but not sure at what point "a little higher" becomes too much.
nate
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