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No water!
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April
Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6592
Location: Westchester/NYC

1/17/19 9:20 PM

No water!

After being out of town, came home, open the water shut off valve...

Nothing!

Instead of the reassuring gurgling sound of water rushing in and out of the tap, silence.

Iíve not experienced this before. How do I determine if water was missing from the outside? Or I have a malfunctioning valve?

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dddd
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 3274
Location: NorCal

1/17/19 11:22 PM

Is this a single house, condo or?

I always check with the neighbors when a utility goes out.

I kind of make a sport of trying to figure out what might be amiss when it's a water problem, since this area is criss-crossed with canals of all kinds, which I studied on maps before buying my house. I actually have an underground stretch of a canal running under my back yard.

I always try to be aware of where the shut-off valves are for water and gas after living through the Northridge Earthquake in '94.
Most residential water mains have scheduled shut-down periods every few years for inspection, cleaning and/or repair, and it's best not to run any water until after the water has been back on for a few hours (you don't want the sediment from freshly-completed work entering your pipes or your water heater).

This week it was the cable guy notifying me that my house was being cut off because interference from within my residence was impacting performance of their regional node. I had to remove redundant cabling and disconnect an old TV to get the internet service restored, luckily before the guy had left.[/i]

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17413
Location: Portland, OR

1/17/19 11:29 PM

"Northridge Earthquake in '94"

Yeah, happy b-day on that BTW.

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April
Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6592
Location: Westchester/NYC

1/18/19 8:39 AM

Townhouse, municipal water.

One of the neighbors has water. No answer on the other side.

But thereís been some work outside, road all torned up. Hence my thought to first identify any supply side issue before calling a plumber.

Is it possible my shut off valve didnít open despite the wheel turning easily and freely?

(Already called the water supplier, but I also need to get a plumber ready to work on it shortly IF the problem is I have a defective shut off valve. So trying to identify the source of the issue while waiting)

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17413
Location: Portland, OR

1/18/19 12:40 PM

How cold is it there?

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JohnC
Joined: 10 Jan 2004
Posts: 1938
Location: Glastonbury, Ct

1/18/19 12:52 PM

"Is it possible my shut off valve didnít open despite the wheel turning easily and freely? "

Yes, that's possible, especially if it's old and may have corroded parts inside. (Don't ask how I know - I live in a house with 100-year-old plumbing)

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henoch
Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 1651

1/18/19 1:25 PM

Not that cold today and tomorrow but getting very cold on Sun/Monday

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17413
Location: Portland, OR

1/18/19 2:33 PM

henoch, you same local temp wise?

I guess my question is was is below 30 for any period of time days prior to April's returning home.

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April
Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6592
Location: Westchester/NYC

1/19/19 12:11 AM

Yes, it was below 30, easily. This is north of New York, in late December.

But it turns out it wasnít the shut off valve. Itís the regulator. At least according to the plumber anyway, having it sat unmoved for several weeks could get it stuck on close.

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17413
Location: Portland, OR

1/19/19 12:09 PM

Did it have to be replaced, or just coaxed into allowing water thru??

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KerryIrons
Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 2990
Location: Midland, MI

1/20/19 9:39 AM

Regulator

Interesting that you have a pressure regulator. I've lived in four different houses in two different towns, plus worked on the plumbing is a couple of more communities and none of them had a pressure regulator. I had to look it up. Must have to do with local pressure variations or a system designed with higher pressure mains than would be tolerated by standard home plumbing.

You're never too old to learn something. But sometimes you're just too old!

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17413
Location: Portland, OR

1/20/19 10:33 AM

Never had a regulator that I recall in any previous house, until....

A few days after I moved into my last TN house, the water CO put a new meter and feed from street to the meter. When they left I had 92 lb pressure at a hose bib. They said they will come back and put a regulator if there is a problem.

2 hours later the first elbow on the main pipe from the meter in the basement blew off. I ran out to the pan to turn off the water so fast it was off in less than a minute. A lot of water comes out @ 92 lb in 50-55 seconds....

I put a regulator first thing in the morning rather than call them and wait. After I mopped up the three room pool...

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dddd
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 3274
Location: NorCal

1/20/19 1:53 PM

...lucky that was down in the basement!

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April
Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6592
Location: Westchester/NYC

1/20/19 3:10 PM

8 years after I moved into this house, I finally have a satisfying shower!

I had struggled with insufficient water pressure since I moved in. But after a few minor fiddling, I resigned to weak shower pressure and marginal flow.

Now ($300 later) I know why.

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17413
Location: Portland, OR

1/20/19 5:58 PM

Clearly worth the price!

Re: basement, and only just sheet rocked, and lots of room left for my floor system. [bottom of sheet rock high off floor]So not too big a mess, and a very clean floor when vacuumed up.


Last edited by Sparky on 1/20/19 8:49 PM; edited 1 time in total

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Craig
Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 572

1/20/19 7:37 PM

It's not just about the standard supply pressure, a regulator will prevent pressure pulses or "water hammer" effects from the city should there be intermittent spikes in your supply pressure. While it will certainly be $300 to have a plumber install one, you can buy one off Amazon with built in Shark Bite fittings for about $50 meaning you could install one yourself without any special tools other than something that will cut your main water supply line after the main shutoff. If you have pex (plastic) water lines all you need is a stiff, sharp knife. Copper means you'll need a hack saw or pipe cutter. It's recommended you get them checked annually but some of them have built in downline pressure gauges built into them. Probably worth the gamble that both the regulator AND the gauge won't both fail in the normal lifetime of the parts so an annual inspection probably won't be necessary.

Like a lot of things, you don't know you need one until it's too late.

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April
Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6592
Location: Westchester/NYC

1/20/19 10:21 PM

If I knew I had a problem with the regulator, I might have considered DIY, for a few seconds!

I don't have a pipe cutter (yes, copper pipe). And am generally not in the habit of buying new tools that only be used once. That said, I do have friends who DIY a lot and I could have borrowed the tool AND their experience in actually doing it.

But alas, "knowing where to swing the hammer, $9990" goes the story.

I feel a lot more comfortable fixing electrical and mechanical things (bikes, cars). Water (i.eplumbing) isn't a medium I'm comfortable with.

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4473
Location: Nashua, NH

1/21/19 7:39 AM

A word of caution with Shark Bite fittings

I've used several of them in recent years and have been pleased with them overall. However, I did learn one lesson about them recently, fortunately not an expensive one. I had one fitting (a ball valve leading to an external faucet) that started leaking due to side pressure on it. The two pipes it joined were not perfectly aligned and could not move to accommodate the misalignment. Eventually, this started a very slow drip leak. It appears that the side load compressed the O-ring on one side enough to cause the leak. Fortunately, I happened to notice it when I turned the water on this past spring. Although it was a major hassle to get the valve off due to very tight confines that made it difficult to get a removal tool on one end, I was able to remove it and replace it with a standard, sweated valve.

My next plumbing job will be replacing my aged water heater, but hopefully that will wait until spring. That will be another traditional solder job, as I wouldn't trust Shark Bite parts in a hot water application.

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dddd
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 3274
Location: NorCal

1/25/19 12:46 PM

I wish that I hadn't "cheaped out" with that last year using my old water heater.
It leaked into a central load-bearing wall and did some damage that was just under my deductible. House and water heater were 20 years old.

After installing my new one (with the help of a burly friend) I noticed a huge improvement in temperature regulation, so much so that I can set my shower on HOT while waiting for hot water to arrive and then just climb in. Amazing.
More than worth the expense of the deferred $750 spend, especially with the new unit's higher efficiency rating and less wasted water while fiddling with my shower temperature. I added full insulation to pipes and all fittings while I was at it.
I also learned that today's lead-free solders do not flow as easily into sweated pipe junctions, which is one more argument in favor of the Shark Bite fittings and flex-hoses/pipes. Not cheap but were impressively effective and have been reliable on other installs I have performed (I used solder on mine to save about $40).


Last edited by dddd on 1/25/19 12:50 PM; edited 1 time in total

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17413
Location: Portland, OR

1/25/19 12:49 PM

Water heater anode rods last 5 years, so you probably wasted more then 750.00 in the 15 years in electricity.

Gas WH last so long the tank usually rots. ;)

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dddd
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 3274
Location: NorCal

1/25/19 12:56 PM

Yeah, mine is gas, not electric, but I've only lived here five years so far and the heater is just over a year old.
I imagine the life of the anode (even in a gas heater) depends on the water quality(?), but may remove and inspect it in a few years to be informed. We have naturally soft/clean water here.
That is one seriously neglected household chore, can require seemingly huge torque to remove the anode hex fitting I've found. I doubt that most homeowners know about the anode that protects their heater from rusting out, especially since they are supposed to be glass-lined (but which must be less than perfect).

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17413
Location: Portland, OR

1/25/19 1:03 PM

I am thinking of replacing my WH with a continuous supply/feed wall mounted unit. Our 50 gal elec I put in when we bought the house early 2012.

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 4473
Location: Nashua, NH

1/25/19 1:57 PM

When I replace mine, I'm going to spring for a Rheem Marathon, which has a lifetime tank and should never need replacing.

I know what you mean about lead-free solder. I have to use Mapp gas instead of propane in the torch now. Either that or just use the tin/lead solder I've stockpiled. I don't drink the hot water, so I'm not at all concerned if it has infinitesimal amounts of lead in it.

Sparky, I recently had a conversation about electric on-demand systems with a plumbing & heating tech who was working on my mother's furnace. He says that they aren't efficient up here, since our tap water is typically less than 50 degrees and the heat rise required is simply too much. It's not that they don't work, it's that they don't save any money compared to the higher-efficiency water heaters that are on the market since the regulations changed a few years back. His company won't even install them.

Your climate is probably somewhat more temperate, but I would talk with a few people before investing in the conversion. The unit's I looked at weren't all that cheap and they all require 3 separate 240-volt phases, which means expensive electrical work on top of the price of the heater.

OTOH, if you have gas service, I've been told they work great, even here.

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 17413
Location: Portland, OR

1/25/19 3:28 PM

Thanks Brain, great point. I want to make a pantry where the 50 gallon unit is. ;)

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KerryIrons
Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 2990
Location: Midland, MI

1/26/19 9:40 AM

Anodic protection


quote:
Water heater anode rods last 5 years


That dependst TOTALLY on local water quality. I've replaced 20 yr-old water heaters and the anode looked like new. Getting your water from the upper Great Lakes is a real feature of living near the coast in Michigan.

Look carefully at your water heater choice. If you have pipeline gas, no electric alternative is competive whether tankless, regular, or heat pump. If your alternatives are LP gas or electricity, you might consider a heat pump unit. Tankless heater performance is very much dependent on your source water temperature. I haven't costed it out, but it's possible that two cheap tankless units in series would outperform a single unit that was designed to deal with cold source water.

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