Return to the Plumbing Forum | Post a Follow-Up

"Slow" plumbing in an old house

Posted by TexasGeezer (My Page) on
Tue, Oct 29, 13 at 21:15

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

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: "Slow" plumbing in an old house

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).


RE: "Slow" plumbing in an old house

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.

RE: "Slow" plumbing in an old house

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.


RE: "Slow" plumbing in an old house

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.

RE: "Slow" plumbing in an old house

Also consider the installation of a permanent recirq. system for the distant fixtures. during your renovation.

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Plumbing Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here