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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am doing some re plumbing on a house that has an 8' basement, 10' walls on the first floor and 2x10's floor joists, so the water from the city has to push a column of water up to the 2nd floor at a combined height of 19 feet straight up through 3/4 copper lines. The HO is saying that they have poor pressure upstairs. Now I am going to do a pressure test at street level by using a hose bib as a source. Then I will go to the second floor and compare readings. I feel as though if the towns pressure is low there is not going to be any pressure upstairs.

Option 1
Now I told the HO I could fix this. I have 2 choices here. Install an air ballast tank like the ones used on wells, rated about 5 to 10 gallons to boost the pressure. There is no need for electric as the city water pressure can fill the tanks in the basement then release the built up pressure into the second floor. Problem is that it will be 5 to 10 gallons and will stop and be slow again.

Option 2
Install a booster pump on both the hot and cold lines.

Anyone done this before? It will be a first for me.
 

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Ridgid tool user
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Have you checked the pressure upstairs? Is it flow or pressure? Why not install a 10 gal tank with a booster pump at the cold water main?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You only need 1 booster pump, install it on the incoming service before it splits off.
OK, does that mean that I would increase the pressure in the entire house? Connect it at the incoming main liine? This will boost the cold and the hot. Sounds logical. I never installed one before.
 

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OK, does that mean that I would increase the pressure in the entire house? Connect it at the incoming main liine? This will boost the cold and the hot. Sounds logical. I never installed one before.
Do a google search on Davies pumps, those are what we generally use for single family homes.
 

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At the incoming main. There's a book at hd in the contrator section written by rex cauldwell and he shows how to put one in. Don't follow his work to closely because he does deal with some hackery but you'll get the general idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Do a google search on Davies pumps, those are what we generally use for single family homes.
Cool, thanks KTS. How durable are they? How about any maintenence? Any call backs on them?

The reason is I want to use the best. This guy was said to have been in fortune magazine and Forbes. He is the type that dont mind paying for quality work, but hates crap.
 

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Cool, thanks KTS. How durable are they? How about any maintenence? Any call backs on them?

The reason is I want to use the best. This guy was said to have been in fortune magazine and Forbes. He is the type that dont mind paying for quality work, but hates crap.
I installed one last summer in a seven million dollar home.

They're good quality pumps, and their customer support is good as well. Check your local codes too, they may require a check on the main before the pump.
 

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Are you certain this is what is necessary? I'm in a lot of 2 story homes with basements. I live in the foothills of the Appalachians and will very often find these homes on top of ridge lines. I've never really found, with only 2 exceptions any situations that would call for a booster pump. 19' is not really that much head pressure. You started off by saying you were doing some re-plumbing. Is this an older home? Any galvanized (service included)?
 

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I'm kinda lost here. Nineteen feet of rise at .46 psi loss per foot... you're only talking about 8 psi less not counting friction loss. Where is the problem?
 

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I'm kinda lost here. Nineteen feet of rise at .46 psi loss per foot... you're only talking about 8 psi less not counting friction loss. Where is the problem?
Gear Junkie already typed what I was thinking as I read the o/p...constriction.

I'd have put a gauge on a silcock first thing.
 

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Low pres. @ all fixtures upstairs? Old gate valve somewhere upstream? Can U seperate new from old or split the house? I would do some more testing before adding a pump to the whole system now.
 

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Had a HO call me an hour ago. They installed their own Moentrol in the upstairs bathroom but had lousy pressure on just the hot side of the valve and could not find the cause. I went and had it fixed in 20 mins. They "oured" the solder into the joint when making one of their connections and made a solder BB in the line. This BB flowed through and got stuck in the cartridge. Pullng the caridge and looking at it as the HO had done did not fix the problem. However, I pulled the cartridge and spun the stem in my hand, when the hot side opened up the BB fell into my hand.
The HO kept the BB to show her "handyman" husband what the problem was.
 

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Hubby BB... Damn, he's sleeping on the couch. And just when she was gonna let him back into bed for finally getting that shower fixed too. Poor bastard.
 

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OK, I went back and reread the OP. I was under the impression you were repiping the whole house.

I couldn't see how low pressure to the upstairs would be a problem unless your pressure was marginal to begin with.

First things first. Remember, HO's don't know their butt from a leaky faucet. That means that almost 100% of the time a low flow problem is called low pressure. They are not the same problem.

Low flow can be solved with proper sizing and finding out just exactly what the client expects from the fixture. If they only have a 3/4 hose bibb on the first floor over a mop sink, they are not going to fill a bucket as fast as the upstairs sink. Period.

Talk to them and troubleshoot the problem they describe. If it is flow or pressure, take a pressure reading AND do a flow test. Once you know what is being delivered to the house, you can go from there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I got to rip out the old pipes today. There was a 3/4 main which abruptly branced off to a 1/2 and fed every fixture. When I redo it I am going to use a 3/4 all the way to just where the 90 turns out the walls and ues a 3/4 x 1/2 90. Still going to check pressures though. Will be there next wednesday night to start re installing
 

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poor pressure

Here's my 2 cents worth.

19' of height....round to 20'. Each foot of elevation= .433 psi of loss....round to .5 psi. .5 psi X 20 feet= 10 psi loss due to elevation.

Take a static pressure reading on the lowest level if possible. Let's say you have 30 psi. You can expect that you'll only have 20 psi at the top. If you can take a reading upstairs, it ought to track close to your math. If not, then lets look for reasons for pressure loss.

1. Small diameter pipes (or are there old galv. pipes that are probably corroded nearly shut

2. Are the aerators and shower heads plugged up with crap?

3. Is the house on a well or city main with too small of service line?? What is the dynamic pressure, while several taps are open. Take my house for example. I live in an older part of a small town. I'm on the end of a 4" looped main with a 75' of 3/4" copper service. I have a static pressure of 55 psi, but when a couple of fixtures are running I can see a dynamic pressure as low as 25 psi. If your situation fits this, you would only see 15 psi up top!!!!

I installed a booster pump in my house to stop this. Here you have two options, both costing about the same money in the end.

1. check valve after the meter on the service, booster pump and pressure tank setup, just like you would see on a well system. Say you have a static pressure of 40 psi. You put in a 1/2 hp centrifigal pump (that would probably gain you 25 psi -- check the performance curve for the pump you select) Now your house has 65 psi. --sort of. You'll have to install a pressure switch to tell the pump to come on...maybe at 40 psi and shut-off at 60 psi.

2. Put in a VFD boost pump. This is a neater package that you can buy that will come with everything you need. Pump, small pres. tank and controls. The cool thing with these is that the pump is variable speed and runs according to demand, thus keeping your output pressure at an almost even pressure, which you can set. The other plus is that the pres. tank is a two gallon tank, the whole unit takes very little room.

Either option is going to cost you around $1200 to $1400 for materials, but very well worth it.

Another hints. Look for systems or digital pres. switches with low pressure shut-offs built in for safety, in case the city main loses pressure. If not you have to wire one in (IL pl. code)
 
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