Water pipe size questions

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The water pipes for my house are mostly attached to the ceiling of my basement (which makes it super easy to get to!). It starts out 3/4", and gets reduced to 1/2". My shower valve has 1/2 threads on it, so I see the need to reduce it at some point.
In the shower, the water flow seems to be diminished. One of my shower head settings is some sort of water blast, where the water comes out of a half dozen large ports. Both hot and cold just dribble. Other settings work OK, but none of them give really good volume. I'm thinking that i'm the victim of a water mizer shower valve, and that replacing it will fix the problem. This is one of those valves where you have no control over volume - it's on or off, and all you can do is adjust the temperature.
Question: Will 50 feet of 1/2 pipe reduce the flow of water such that I won't get good volume at the shower head? Or should it work fine and I need to look somewhere else for the problem (like the shower valve)?
I can be easily convinced to plumb my house with 3/4 pipe, but I'd like to avoid drastic measures like that if not really necessary. The only place we really need good volume is the shower, and if 1/2 pipe will give us that, I don't need to start gutting my plumbing.
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I guess you didn't watch Seinfeld. Usually the 'water mizers' are in the showerhead itself.
see here for a way to deal with it: http://www.ehow.com/how_5189790_remove-flow-restrictor-shower-head.html
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You couldn't pay me to watch Seinfeld....
I replaced the shower head. It's not the problem.
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Our master bath has 3/4 to it for cold and hot. Then reduces for the individual hookups. Don't have any problems with use in the other baths or kitchen affecting our shower. If you are using copper then there is a noticable price difference between 1/2 and 34. Not so much with cpvc.
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jamesgangnc wrote:

Going up to 3/4" will significantly increase the time you wait for hot water. If the presure is good, it might be a negative improvement.
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...unless you replaced it with another water mizer shower head...
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No no no - it's one of these water wasting water blasters :).
Just to make sure (because I've done stupider things than this...) I just now walked into the bathroom and removed it. Turn water on. Bah - I can just about pee better then the stream that came out of the pipe. And at my age, I don't pee anywhere as far as I used to when I was younger...
Now that I think about it. When the pipe in the wall broke, we had a most serious water spout coming out of the wall. It appears that there is more than adequate cold water delivery, it's just not making it through the valve.
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Zootal wrote:

There could be debris plugging holes in the valve. Shutting off the water and taking the valve apart and cleaning it might fix it. Blowing compressed air or using a hose to reverse flush from the showerhead pipe might flush it out.
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Bob F wrote:

You might even be able to drill out the outlet hole to the shower in the valve if it has a built in restriction.
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I should read the rest of the posts before suggesting to try the water with the shower head removed. Does the bath tub fill properly?
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Christopher A. Young
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On Feb 9, 7:01am, "Stormin Mormon"

Bob's right about the hot water delay, it is longer in my masterbath. There is a garden tub and I turn that on hot for a minute before I shower. But it's a waste of water.
Pex is really designed with the professional plumber in mind. It's the fastest to install in new work with a minimum of on hand parts. A pro can do a new house in a fraction of the time it took to do copper. Plus pex pipe can adapt to poorly drilled and misaligned holes better as well. If you go pex you probably should just buy a crimper. They are cheaper online and you can find them with exchangable heads.
There really is nothing wrong with cpvc. It's been around a while.
I agree, it sounds like your valve has built in restriction. You may be able to disassemble it and get more thru flow by enlarging openings. I've done that on valves and shower heads.
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That's likely to get you arrested by the same cops who inspect matress and pillows to see if the tags have been removed.
Perhaps one of us should read Zootal's old messages, and see if the shower ever did function well. Could be valve, or piping restriction, now. Or, water meter, or partial frozen lead in pipe from the street, or... or....
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Zootal wrote:

Another possible solution. Replace the shower head with a really good "low-flow" head. Because it is designed for low flow, the shower valve limitation might not be a problem for the low-flow head. It will naturally have better pressure on the low flow.
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Did you try running the water with the shower head removed?
If the shower head truly isn't the problem, the next things come to mind are bad valves at the tub, bad diverter if you have shower or tub. Or, of course, the reduced pipe interior.
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Limp Arbor wrote:

I carry tools and a shower head when I travel. I got good at quickly changing them in and out, some have little socket head set screws, I have them covered too. *snicker*
TDD
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Do you also bring teflon tape? Also, be careful about carrying tools on airplanes... I once had a small allen wrench confiscated because the sign said "no tools" -- I tried to explain that an L-shaped 3" long piece of blunt hexagonal metal is not a weapon but I guess the droid thought that my pale-white, American family traveling together on vacation was obviously more of a danger than the Middle Eastern travelers with turbans and burkhas... go figure...
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*When I bought my new valves for a bathroom that I redid a while back I noticed that the top orifice had a tiny opening and the bottom was full size. I talked to a plumber about this and was told the top was for just a plain showhead connection only. For other connections such as multiple showheads or combination handheld and wall mount like I have you need to come out of the bottom full size opening. Reading the installation instructions confirmed this. So I plumbed to the bottom opening and capped the top. I have a three-way diverter valve so I can have two things going at once and don't have a problem with the volume of water. 1/2" copper feeds the valve.
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You did not state an age of the plumbing. Half inch is all you need unless it has become calcified which is less likely with copper than iron pipe.
I would bet on the mixer valve or defective seats for a Delta style faucet. If it has always been that way it could be a trapped solder ball inside the fixture.
I would splurge and spend the $20 to buy a new mixing valve and seats before I ripped out pipe.
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The existing plumbing is about ten years old. We also have very soft slightly alkaline water here. No deposits have every built up anywhere that I'm aware of. Toilet tanks are clean enough to drink out of. Pipes that I have had apart show no sign of deposits.
I already have a new valve ( I hate the one that is in there - no volume control, just temp control only). I bought it a long time ago, just never had a good enough of a reason to install it. What is definitely going to happen is that I'm going to rip out the wall and replace the valve. What is uncertain is how much plastic I replace with copper.
To be honest, I'm leaning towards just biting the bullet and getting rid of the plastic. I have the time and money to do so, and I hate the idea of plastic pipe in my walls.
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On Mon, 08 Feb 2010 14:52:25 -0600, Zootal

In another thread, PEX and sharkbite connectors or crimps were suggested.
My walls have PEX / Manifold / lines in the walls and the attic.
NOT a single leak in five years. I'm the second owner and the PO lived here 7 years or so.
The best PEX connector imo, is the expanded type. In recent years I'm seeing PEX lines in lawn irrigation in the Mojave desert.
I 2nd the PEX idea.
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