My house is about 30 years old; original copper plumbing... with PVC drains.
My village (yeah... it's America. Just a little self-sufficient community
outside a decent sized city) my village replaced some main water pipes in an
attempt to increase water pressure to my section of the village that had
significant expansion over the past 8 to 10 years.
I received a notice informing me that on a specific day they will turn the
new system on. They're making free "pressure reduction devices" available to
us and they "high recommending" we have them installed... at our own
expense, of course. Has anyone had experience with this type of event and/or
understand the mechanics well enough to reasonably access risk? I'd like to
know just what could happen in worst case scenario, what the probability is
of that worst case occurring, then get a guestimate of what is likely to
happen. I suspect there is little chance of anything occurring other than
the glassware being knocked out of my hand when I attempt to get a glass of
water and possible looking like I just caught chicken pox when I get out of
Depends on how high they're going to raise it.
You may need a pressure gauge to find out; and read it in the wee
Over 80 PSI a reducing valve is recommended.
High pressures shorten water heater life and can cause
sudden blowouts of fixture supply fittings.
If you put a reducing valve in, you will almost certainly
also need a thermal expansion tank on the water heater.
Not true; I put in a reducing valve last year (dropping 90psi down to 55psi)
and I haven't needed one. When I turn the water heater off for a few hours
to let it cool, and then turn it up higher than normal without running any
water (which I figure is way beyond anything that could really happen) the
pressure climbs to about 85psi and stops.
Probably due to your water heater's preasure relief valve leaking
(nomally these are set to pop at 125 psi) or maybe toilet fill valves
that can't hold back that much pressure. Other folks may not be so
lucky. Installation of a small thermal expansion tanks is cheap
insurance and easily done when the reducing valve is installed, a lot
cheaper than replacing burst washer hoses, carpets, dry wall,...
You're in for some fun. Get ready. Buy a pail and a mop.
I went through this a few years ago when the city water utility that
didn't plan ahead was faced with supplying many more homes and
businesses than planned for. Their solution was to deploy underground
pumps to overcome the restriction imposed by mains that were too small.
Pressure that had been in the 60 psi range jumped to at least 90 psi
and in the wee hours of the morning got as high as 120 psi (perhaps
higher but that was were my gauge pinned.) I installed Watts Regulator
pressure reducing valves immediately but many of my neighbors didn't.
They installed new water heaters and replaced the damaged carpet.
Washing machine hoses and dishwashers were also mysterously springing
catastrophic leaks. It was a real circus and all under the city's often
voiced mantra of "...providing improved service."
The mayor was cattle breeder so I suspect he misunderstood what the word
"service" meant. The rest of us figured it out quickly though.
John Gregory wrote:
You are gonna just love the loud BANG every time your toilet finishes
filling, among other things.
Seriously... You need the pressure reduction devices, or else you
could end up with serious (expensive) damage to your plumbing and
everything attached to it. Add to that the damage to your house and
possessions, and I think dealing with the issue up front works out to
Q1) What do I look for on the web to get an idea of what I need to install?
Q2) Where do I install it... above the water heater? I have an outside meter
that the village reads but the old one is still connected and sets inside
the house just off the foundation wall on the lower level (slab). The entire
lower level is a furnished living are ... with fireplace, laundry and
Q3) Are these things self regulating or do I have to calibrate them? If so,
where do I get the info?
For this project, you might be wise to pay someone to do it. If something goes
wrong, you may be looking at some pretty expensive damage, considering
especially the finished basement. It would be helpful to have a responsible
party other than yourself to point to if things go pear shaped. It's not rocket
science, but it does sound like you may not have much plumbing experience. That
old meter probably should come out while the other work is being done.
If you can't get the equipment installed before the switch over, I would at the
very least, partially close the main valve to the house as a TEMPORARY measure
to slightly reduce the risks. At least half closed would be my rough guess. Also
flush the toilet and observe whether it bangs when it shuts off. If so, close
the supply to that enough to make it quiet. Make VERY sure that you shut off the
water to the clothes washer when not in use, as that is a very common point of
failure, even when pressure is normal.
might be the sediment in the pipes.. worked its way to the cut off valve
and either thats blocked or the faucet is blocked... first try removing
the tip of the faucet to clear the screen and see if that helps... then
work your way back to the cut off valve( i would remove the valve and
then turn the water on to see if there is pressure coming out there(of
course you need a bucket with a hose attached to the pipe so you dont
get water all over the place(two man job.. one turn the water on and one
to man the bucket with hose..)))...
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