"Slow" plumbing in an old house

texasgeezerOctober 29, 2013

Hello All,
I have just finished the annual descaling of my Noritz tankless water heater and am just wondering . . .because the distance from the heater to the kitchen is almost 40 feet and the old house (circa 1964) has 1/2 inch copper pipe for the entire distance, would it be advisable to descale the copper pipes?
I use white vinegar and a recirculating pump through the water heat exchanger and could do the same with plumbing in the house if it would help water delivery and NOT HURT anything.
Other facts: from the heater to the two bathrooms the distance is less than 10 feet and the water delivery is fine. Still 1/2 inch copper pipe. On the kitchen end of the house is the utility room with washer/dryer. We have poor pressure and delivery in all fixtures in that end of the house. The pressure has gotten consistently lower for the past ten or so years.
So what does anyone out there think?
I will appreciate any input.
Lee - TexasGeezer

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It may be due to build-up in the pipes reducing the flow. However, based on current guidelines I've read, you should have at least 3/4" pipe if you have more than one fixture on the pipe. If you have the kitchen and the washer sharing a 1/2" pipe, I think its significantly undersized (both require quite a bit of water).


    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 9:09PM
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Thanks Bruce.
Would the white vinegar recirculated though the pipes with build-up reduce the build-up and improve the flow without doing damage to the pipes? We have to avoid using the sink faucet, dishwasher or laundry at the same time. Only one at a time will work satisfactorily and the flow is still slow.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 10:02AM
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I used to live in Texas and deal with hard water. Vinegar usually helps with getting scale off fixtures or something where you can keep the vinegar in contact long enough to let it do some work. However, I don't know if it will work very well trying to clean out a pipe.

I would also take a careful look at any shutoff valves or other junctions that may be causing a restriction. New installations use ball valves for main shut-offs and quarter turn valves for sink line shutoffs. It might be worthwhile to have newer valves installed, since the valve may be a significant part of the restriction.


    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 6:03PM
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Thanks again! All the plumbing is new from the slab up on all but the kitchen. It was renovated in 1987 and will get new fixtures and plumbing within the next year. Some of the renovations in our neighborhood have used pex plumbing with apparent success. That may be in our future if we cannot get the flow problem solved otherwise. I think I will try the recirculation for several hours just to see if there might be any benefit. I can time the filling of a gallon bottle before and after to gauge the possible effect. I really appreciate your help.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 11:17PM
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Also consider the installation of a permanent recirq. system for the distant fixtures. during your renovation.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 6:49PM
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