little pressure coming from my shower faucet

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Pabs

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hi all

trying to figure something out and not sure I can on my own :)

my mom called me last week and asked me to look at her shower/tub. Told me they stopped using last year since very little water would come out of it.

everything else in that bathroom has proper water pressure.
The faucet in question is something like this




goes up and down to **** off and on and twist side to side for hot and cold. took the plastic cap off and revealed the insides, looked like this





expect I didn't have the face plate off.. .but similar to that. took the white cap and seal off to reveal the ball. too that out and ended up with this



took seals and springs out to see if I could spot anything.. everything seemed fine, nothing clogging the holes, no rips , nothing out of the ordinary.

I then asked my step dad to turn water back on... I figured at this point I would see water flying out... nope..same thing,,,very low pressure coming from it.

is there something magical behind those seals that would cause the water pressure to drop like that?

is it because they didn't use it for so long? calcification on the inside maybe? if so, how could that bve fixed without tearing out the old faucet?

any tips and ideas welcome... I'm confused and out of ideas

thanks

pabs
 

Geofd

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Try removing the springs and caps,then spray vinagar into the openings,let it sit for a while then try a wet dry vac and see
what you pull out you clould also try coated wire in the holes then try turning the water on
 

Jeff Handy

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There has to be a restriction on the pipes leading to that valve.

There are no built in valve stops there, but there could be shutoffs elsewhere, nearby or far away, that were partially closed for some reason.

Is this a single family home, or a condo or apartment?

Meanwhile, there could have been something that broke loose inside the plumbing and ended up stuck near the shower valve.
Huge amounts of chunky mineral scale, or fragments from a water heater plastic dip tube, for example.

If you don’t find valves anywhere to adjust, you might try having a plumber drain the system and try blowing the valve out backwards from there, with compressed air, or back flushing it.
 

Pabs

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hey guys

no, no shut offs leading to it for sure. JEff , single family dwelling. it's actually the house I grew up in for a while.
So, if I understand you guys...beyond the little holes where the spring and seal go that should just be copper pipe? there is no funky mysterious apparatus in back of that?
if I stick a wire in there, how far should I expect to go in there?

thanks

Pabs
 

Pabs

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If you don’t find valves anywhere to adjust, you might try having a plumber drain the system and try blowing the valve out backwards from there, with compressed air, or back flushing it.
what do yo mean by if I don't find a valve? do you mean a shut off valve?
 

Jeff Handy

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Yes, I meant if you don’t find any partially closed shutoff valves anywhere.
No funky apparatus inside, just chambers that lead to the copper pipes.

I would try to somehow blow compressed air or pressurized water into there, with the house water off, and a valve opened elsewhere, like drain the water heater then leave the drain valve open.

So the air or water you are injecting has somewhere to move to, hopefully carrying chunks of crud with it.
Better crud in the tank then stuck in the valve, if that is actually what is going on there.

Be careful if you shove anything inside the holes that the rubber boots and springs came out of.

If you scratch the brass body, the boots might not seal properly anymore.

Something that might slip safely into there is a skinny little plastic sink drain cleaner called a Zip It.
They are about two feet long, cost about $3.00, handy to have for bath sink and tub hair clog grabbing.

Look again for some valves, or a water filter or softener, something along the way that has gotten tight or turned down.

Posters in here have discovered things up inside ceilings, or behind walls, that had been forgotten about.
 

Jeff Handy

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By any chance did this low pressure problem start after they had a new water heater installed, or any work done elsewhere on pipes in the house?
 

Diehard

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Just to be absolutely clear....

The lack of flow is at the tub spout also?

Same symptoms regardless of using just the cold water or hot water?
 

Pabs

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Look again for some valves, or a water filter or softener, something along the way that has gotten tight or turned down.

Posters in here have discovered things up inside ceilings, or behind walls, that had been forgotten about.
I suppose anything is possible but given that they have been there for about 30 years and have never renovated that bathroom I'll guess that there is no shut off valve hidden away..something jammed in pipe may be what's happening here
 

Pabs

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Just to be absolutely clear....

The lack of flow is at the tub spout also?

Same symptoms regardless of using just the cold water or hot water?
yes...tub spout and shower head...well, shower head is worse since the pressure can't bring water up. cold and hot are low pressure. cold seems to have a little less though
 

TomFOhio

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Pabs, your probably gonna half to replace that faucet. You'll be lucky if you get it open. They clog like concrete in
those openings. I would recommend a Moen faucet.
 

Jeff Handy

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You could try busting up any mineral clogs with vibration.
A similar way to how they bust up kidney stones.

Chuck a large bolt into a small hammer drill, and set the flat hex head of the bolt against the valve, where the hot and cold lines enter.
Vibrate each side separately.
Don’t go crazy with vibration power, long time and easy vibration are safer on the pipe joints.
You could cover the bolt head with layers of duct tape, if it is hitting too hard directly on the brass valve

This might cause some calcium chunks to give way.
 

Pabs

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what about CLR? normally not a fan of stuff like that but in this case couldn't that be more efficient than simple vinegar? it's not like they will be drinking from this pipe anyway so he poison risk is a non issue I would think. I've never used the stuff but heard plenty about it and it seems to be pretty strong
 

Pabs

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Pabs, your probably gonna half to replace that faucet. You'll be lucky if you get it open. They clog like concrete in
those openings. I would recommend a Moen faucet.
that's the last option as I would need to cut out an access panel in order to install. and that access panel would in the stairwell, not the prettiest place for it..so if I can salvage the existing set up they will be happier
 

Geofd

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Clr/vinagar along tbe same lines try what you think will work just let it sit
 

Diehard

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FYI..."pure CLR is about 15 times more effective at dissolving calcium than household vinegar."

But it's NOT a non risk issue. I could give you examples but it may just start dialog on it's probability and I'm not going to get into that.
(I worked closely in all aspects of cross connection control for many years.)
 

skeezix

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I would recommend a Moen faucet.
No disrespect to you, but...

I have 3 showers in my home. One of them has a Moen valve. Push it in to turn the water off, pull it out to turn the water on. Twist side to side to regulate water temperature.

I've had to replace the innards of the Moen valve twice in the last 25 years, and have had to clean and relube it several more times because it keeps on getting stiff and won't pull out easily. The valve is a total PITA.

YMMV.
 

TomFOhio

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Not sure what your abbreviations mean but all the years that I tore faucets apart I would take Moen any day. That's all I
have in my house. Its like anything else if you want to keep it for 25 years you have to take care of it.
 

Jeff Handy

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Moen valves are easy to service, reliable, and very well liked.

However, if you leave the cartridge in there for 30 years, they can get stuck, and sometimes need special tools to get un-stuck.

If they are installed with extra silicone grease on the seals, and easily changed every 15 to 20 years, you should never have any trouble, and they will not get hard to push/pull.

IMHO.

Yes, more abbreviations, haha!
 
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