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13 posts

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# 249321 6-May-2019 09:25
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Hi all, after a year of searching, over 60 open homes seen, 3 attempts at purchasing houses, on our 4th attempt we got lucky and have landed our first home. 

 

We are excited but overwhelmed, as there are a number of jobs that need to be done, but the most pressing one for us is to fix the water pressure, and look at some kind of water treatment system.

 

We are on rain water. 2 big tanks, one pump. The water pressure in the shower when I turned it on during our final inspection yesterday, was shocking. I was kind of suspecting it. The pressure improved as I turned the shower handle in the hot direction. 

 

My handy partner is going to fiddle with the pump, but is there anything else we should be looking at / checking that might affect water pressure? We are aware we may just need to buy a new pump, but would like to exhaust all other avenues first. Any advice/tips much appreciated!

 

Also, there is nothing between the tanks and the taps, treatment or filter wise. Zilch. The previous family drunk the water for 20 years no problem, but I'm more wary. I'd like to put at least a filter of some kind, and perhaps UV too. What is other people's experience/advice on rain water tanks for drinking? Any particular systems or filters that worked really well? Any in particular to avoid?

 

 

 

Thanks for any advice, I'm a total newbie to all of this, so apologies for silly questions.

 

Cheers.

 

 

 

 


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Banana?
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  # 2231412 6-May-2019 09:48
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How is the cold water pressure in the rest of the house?

 

Can you time how long it takes to fill a bucket (10L) to give you a flow (L)/minute number?

 

 

 

We are on tank water (have been for 40 years), and usually the best thing about it is decent water pressure straight from a pump. The only thing that will change this is if the house operates on a Header Tank (have you got a small tank above your roof, or in the ceiling?). Water pumps should all deliver decent enough pressure to have a good shower - I just replaced ours, and got pretty much the cheapest/smallest I could get and we have a brilliant shower.




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  # 2231491 6-May-2019 11:03
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Thanks for the reply trig.

 

I’ll check cold water pressure in the house and I’ll do a timed fill up from the shower on the hot and cold water to work out flow rates. I’ll get back to you once I’ve done this.

 

That is reassuring to hear that tank water should give decent water pressure. I’m hoping this just means the pump isn’t primed properly. We don’t have a header tank anywhere.

 

 

 

Cheers!


 
 
 
 


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  # 2231528 6-May-2019 11:38
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Have you looked at the hot water side of things? Assuming it is a old low pressure hot water cylinder. I replaced mine with a gas hot water heater and sorted that issue out.

 

If that was the case, I don't think adjusting the pump pressure would make much difference. You can try replacing the shower head. A plumber might be able to improve the low hot water pressure...

 

 


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  # 2231535 6-May-2019 11:42
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Also, if your water pump was rather old and not great pressure, be aware replacing with a modern high pressure jet pump, might result in low pressure pipe join issues if indeed your pipes are old and not designed for high pressure. I had to get joins replaced under the floor as some of them popped with new high pressure.


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  # 2231548 6-May-2019 11:49
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^ They are experiencing better pressure on hot than cold.

 

It is possible the house is old and has low pressure fittings throughout, so the pump has been turned down. It may also be possible that the shower mixer is faulty, or they have some sort of flow restrictor.

 

I know a few people with shower flow restrictors, so that teenagers etc. do not use heaps of water having showers. I'm not sure where the OP is, but where I am (Waiheke Island) half a tankful (10,000L) of water costs north of $300 delivered, and in a hot dry summer you can be waiting over a month for it. Saving water is imperative in that case. Though, for the OP, with two tanks, assuming they are 20,000L, that is a heap of water - we have 30,000L storage and haven't come close to running out for the last 5 years (when we put in an extra 10,000L tank).

 

Oh, off topic for the OP - if you haven't got a front-loading washing machine, invest in one ASAP - top-loaders are the biggest wasters of water (think about 150L per wash).


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  # 2231554 6-May-2019 12:01
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Bit weird that the cold water is low pressure on your shower - normally its the other way round.

 

You may want to check that the mixer isn't forcing water out your hot water expansion overflow. Directly above your hot water cylinder, there is probably a pipe that goes straight up and comes out your roof. Turn the shower on, and turn it to cold - then go outside and look to see if water is coming out that pipe. If it is, you'll want to get a plumber in. 




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  # 2231570 6-May-2019 12:50
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outdoorsnz - thanks, we might try and replace the shower head as one of our options! I don't think the hot water cylinder is that old to be honest. I'll double check with the previous owners though. Thanks for the heads up about the high pressure issue and pipe joins. Good to be aware of!

 

trig - I'm near Wellington, and yep I think the tanks are 20,000L each. We've got a Bosch front loader and love it, I had heard that about top loaders so avoided them! Thanks for the tip though. 

 

Jeeves - Thank you for that, we will get stuck in and see if we can find that pipe, and what's coming out of it!

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
 
 
 


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  # 2231592 6-May-2019 13:10
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We're in the Wairarapa and on rain water - 2 x 25,000l tanks. First flush / leaf trap on the gutter and into the tanks. There is a small gauze filter before the pump to provide some protection for it, and another one just before the water enters the house (pump is 35m away in the shed).

Apart from some very fine filters under the bench that protect the ceramic cartridge in the sink faucet from grit, we have no other filtration.

Previous owners who built the house no live next door, and had no issues at all - including both infants and elderly living with them.

It was on the list of things to look at when we first moved in, however there were other more pressing things we thought to take care of first. Four years later, and with no issues around water, it's dropped off the list - cost, maintenance, repairs etc with no real return over what we currently have (nothing) - it's simply not worth it for us.


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  # 2231607 6-May-2019 13:41
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You would have a combination of faulty shower mixer / low pressure hot water cylinder.

I'm on rainwater myself. And I have excellent shower pressure. Admittedly with a mains pressure cylinder. And a pump that has an inverter drive motor. Had to change the pump settings to regulate the outlet pressure lower. As there was too much pressure in the shower.






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  # 2231792 6-May-2019 16:47
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em720: we might try and replace the shower head as one of our options!

 

 

I think shower heads are pretty "dumb", in that the don't have any control over the flow rate of hot vs cold. If the problem is isolated to the shower it will be the mixer, not the head.

 

I don't know that it's unusual for your pressure to improve when you start turning it in the hot direction - you are getting the full flow for cold and then adding some hot into the mix so naturally the overall flow will increase.

 

What happens when you turn the mixer all the way to hot? Is it better or worse than when it is all the way to cold?


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  # 2231801 6-May-2019 17:09
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Measure the flow with bath taps - that should give you an idea of your system - equal or unequal, mains or low pressure. Then, compare the shower.

Roof water is fine, it's the stuff that gets stuck in it that's the problem - so need a first flush diverted and to keep an eye on the gutter/tank for buildup of gunk/dead animals

neb

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  # 2231832 6-May-2019 17:34
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outdoorsnz:

Also, if your water pump was rather old and not great pressure, be aware replacing with a modern high pressure jet pump, might result in low pressure pipe join issues if indeed your pipes are old and not designed for high pressure. I had to get joins replaced under the floor as some of them popped with new high pressure.

 

 

Another thing to check for is the (mis)use of plastic pipes in areas carrying hot water, even if it's an outlet from something like the shower drain where it won't be at full temperature any more. Here at the Casa de Cowboy some handyman replaced a section of copper pipe in the vicinity of the sink with some sort of PVC one that, over an unknown period of years exposed to hot/cold/warm water flow, became as brittle as eggshells and eventually cracked from a tiny bump when a friend was helping with maintenance under the house.



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  # 2232092 7-May-2019 08:03
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GeOrge – that’s good to know, thank you. I must say, I tried it for the first time last night and it was quite delicious! I’ll check that there is some kind of leaf trap on the gutter.

 

 

Aredwood – Thanks for the reply. We had another check last night when we were moving some more stuff in, and the pump stays on way longer than it should after all taps are turned off. I hope its not on its way out.

 

 

Paul1977 – Okay, thanks. I am tempted to change the shower head anyway just for aesthetic reasons. I’ll check what happens when its full hot this evening. I suspect it is better than all cold, but I’ll double check.

 

 

Nickb800 – Thanks Nick, when we find our bucket which is hiding somewhere I’ll take some flow measurements.

 

Neb – Thanks for the headsup, we will keep an eye out for any dodgy PVC pipes carrying hot water!

 

 

Cheers for the help everyone. I’ll report back this week when we are actually properly moved in. It’s interesting that the pump stays on for much longer than it should, but I don’t know what that actually means!

 


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  # 2232114 7-May-2019 08:51
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Our pump stays on for about 4-5 seconds after turning the tap off. Normal.

 

We just have a basic pump without an accumulator tank (might yet get one) so it comes on as soon as you turn the tap. An Accumulator tank evens it out a bit, but will mean also that the pump keeps going after water use (but the pump may not come on straight away when opening a tap) as it rebuilds pressure.


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  # 2232123 7-May-2019 09:00
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We know when my filters need changing, as the water speed slowed down, if you got 2 filters, then the small 1micon filter could be clogged, change all filters and see if that helps, then clean them every 6 months or so.


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