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Low water flow

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Onny

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Hi, I have had low water pressure in my entire plumbing system for a while. I have hooked up a pressure gauge to my outside spigot and it shows ~60 psi which is all good. As soon as I take the pressure gauge off the spigot, water flows at a good speed for a few seconds and then slows down. The flowmeter shows ~2.5 ga/min when the outside spigot is fully open. At full capacity (all faucets in the house open) the flowmeter shows ~2.7 ga/min. From what I understand, the flow is well below what it should be. The condo is about 25 years old and I know I don't have any leaks cause when all the water is off the flowmeter shows zero. I have also not seen any visible signs of leaks.

Does anyone have any helpful tips what I could do to increase the flow of water?

Thank you!
 

Jeff Handy

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You need to give lots more info.

Is your piping copper, galvanized, pex, cpvc?

Is there a water filter near the service entrance?

Do you have a water meter?

Start describing your setup end to end.
 

Onny

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The pipes are copper.

I have not seen a water filter so I am assuming I don't have one. Same things goes for a PRV valve. I have not found one in my plumbing system. I do however have a pressure relief tank attached to the inlet of my water heater.

I do have a water meter and that is how I have been checking the flow of water to the house. I have also made sure that the valve is completely open.

There is no difference in pressure between hot or cold water.
 

Onny

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Anybody have any ideas what could be wrong with my plumbing?
 

Jeff Handy

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There is a restriction somewhere.

It could be in your condo, elsewhere in the condo complex, or even in the service line from the city.

Too many variables to guess, without being on site

Because you have an expansion tank on the water heater, that is a clue that you might have a prv or a backflow preventer, probably just before or after the meter.
They can both cause restriction if set wrong or malfunctioning.

Talk to your condo association maintenance people, ask them to come check it out.
Also ask some neighbors if they also have low flow rates.

Some water meters have a filter screen, and if that gets dirty your flow rate will drop.
 

Jeff Handy

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Water meter valves can go bad, and not open fully, or can have a restriction in the valve.

There are often two valves, one before and one after the meter.
Make sure both are open.

Fully close each one, and open them, several times, while your outside spigot is fully open.
This will help flush debris if any is caught somewhere in the lines.

If they are a gate valve type, that style is famous for not fully opening or closing, sometimes just sticking halfway.
 

RS

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Do you have a softener? Most have a fine screen strainer that can restrict flow, and they may need to be cleaned out.
 

Onny

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I don't have a water softener and I know I have hard water. Not a good combination. I'm thinking there is a lot of calcium buildup in the pipes. Does anyone have a good way of getting rid of calcium buildup in your water pipes. I'm thinking of flushing my water heater a couple of times and then filling with some white vinegar and let it sit in the pipes for a few hours.
 

Onny

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Update: I have had a plumber come check my water flow issue. He couldn't pinpoint what the issue is but he suspected it be either the water meter or the main line from the meter to the house.

Today I had the city come out and check their water meter and the meter seemed to work just fine. He thought it was very strange that I didn't have a PRV in the house. So when he left I decided to cut a hole in the drywall where the main water shut-off is to the house. To my surprise I find the PRV. I don't know what they were thinking when they were putting in the drywall. They obviously didn't cut an access hole for it.

So here is my question, could the PRV be causing the whole house to have a low flow of water? Should I attempt to clean it or just flat out replace it?
 
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