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Re: Home Plumbing Problem--not a structural related

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Hi Szuchuan,
The problem you describe is quite common with old galvanized pipes.  And pressure is not the problem,  you need to increase the volume of water to the shower. 
The appropriate fix is new pipes to the shower.  I really don't think that running the pipe exposed is a good deal,  too easy to damage the pipe and the pipe insulation.  I would run a big pipe ( 1" diameter ) under the house with tees for future replacement of spur lines to other fixtures.  However this may not fix the problem.
You may need to consider replacing the section of pipe from the meter to the house,  if it is severely restricted,  you still will not have an adaqute volume of water coming into the house to run multiple fixtures even with a big pipe to the shower.
Lots o luck.
Robert Shaffer,  P.E.
Santa Cruz,  CA
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, January 10, 2000 12:30 AM
Subject: Home Plumbing Problem--not a structural related


I move in to my more than 40 years old house about 12 years ago.  Since the day I moved in, I have noticed that the water flow in the shower get very weak if any of the other faucets are in use.  (shower being the furthest outlets from the water main.)

I asked the city's water company to check the water pressure to the water meter.  They said that the pressure they are providing is well above the minimum required.  Our water supply in Santa Clara County, CA is kind of hard to begin with.  I was told by a friend, who lived in the neighboring city Sunnyvale CA, the galvanized water pipe seem to get clogged with years of mineral buildup.  He had to replace his pipes to his home completely.  Since the old pipes are lay in the craw space under the floor, which are had to get access, his contractor reroute his pipes on the perimeter of his house to keep the project cost down.

My questions are:

(1) Is there way to unclog the mineral buildup in these old iron pipes?  Like an angioplasty operation to our artery at cheaper cost?

(2) If not, should I reroute my hot and cold pipe outside?  We don't get below freezing here too oftern at Cupertino.

It really bothers me when I suddenly lost water pressure in the middle of a shower.  It is getting so bad, when taking shower, we have to let each other know not to use either hot or cold water in our house.

Thanks in advance

Szuchuan Chang, SE