Homesteading Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,021 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Do any of you have water pressure regulators on your homes?

I've run into a mess here at Barb's pace. She got a $1,400.00 water bill this month---and the place was unoccupied.

Internet sources say that the bathroom faucets should run about 2 gallons per minute--I calculated that out and got around 3600 gallons per day.
No leaks in the lines, new commodes, outside faucets show no signs of having been opened, no hoses in sight.

I concluded that the only possible answer was that on her last visit she left a bathroom tub or sink faucet open, so I ran tests on those. The bath tub faucet ran over 7,000 gallons per day in a five minute test. The sink over 5,000. Yoicks.

Put a gauge on the line---pressure was over 80 psi. Small wonder. Replacing regulator and water heater at this minute.

(Oh, the city gave us a discount--wholesale rate.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
649 Posts
I had to replace the one in my house a few months after moving in. My water, and electric bill kept going up and up. I knew I wasn't using that much water or electric!! The pressure was too high and the regulator was bad. It blew a valve on the hot water heater. it was several months, and trying to figure out why my newly laid flooring was buckling before the problem became apparent.
 
  • Like
Reactions: arcticow

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,031 Posts
Little town I lived in once. My water bill skyrocketed, was using more water than a house in a college town with 10 twenty-something female college students. (I checked) Could NOT get the water company to check to see what was wrong.

Head of the water department said I was using so much water because I used a wringer washer....they always use more, he said. Duh! Told him that 20 gallons a week...I carried those buckets of water to the washer (!!)...wouldn't BEGIN to match was I was being charged for.

The town finally figured the man didn't know what he was doing, fired him and hired someone else...who said he couldn't read my meter because it was too FAR UNDER WATER. The new head of the water company said they'd just keep charging me at the rate I had been using....until they put a new meter in. Which WAS the point, I had NOT been using it, it was NOT making its way from the meter to the house, it was going into the ground!

I moved from that town.

Mon
 
  • Like
Reactions: arcticow

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,372 Posts
Ox, are you saying the water heater was leaking or did it blow off the pressure relief? Were the readings right?
frogmammy, Most towns say they are responsible to right after the meter. If the meter was running, the leak was on the customer side, if on the city side, the meter would not be running....James
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,021 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Undetected leaks can ruin you---even a half dozen drips an hour can ruin a floor if you do not catch it.

James; I tested every faucet, checked the line--tested the flow rates wide open on the only two faucets that could produce the amount charged. Turned out that if I left a sink faucet on in one bathroom the result was about what they charged.

The 90 psi on the interior plumbing accounted for the high flow, but I suspect a forgotten "open" faucet, which herself denies.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,372 Posts
Were the readings right? I was the supervisor for the city for 16 years. Most "leaks" were reader error. You have the last reading, new reading good, did it run after new reading, ie; Last (high) reading same as now?. If faucet left on someone turn it off? People get into a routine, hardly unlikely a faucet was left on. Normally it is fairly easy to find where water ran this time of year. IF the pressure relief on the water heater is plumbed through the floor, it will be wet right there. Can you turn (leave) the water off?
 

·
Scotties rule!
Joined
·
1,617 Posts
I have a pressure regulator on a rental house. Without it the water is about 95 PSI. Was easy to install. I think it was about $100 7 years ago. When you go to adjust it, it works opposite of how you expect it to, so turn it the wrong way!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,031 Posts
Ox, are you saying the water heater was leaking or did it blow off the pressure relief? Were the readings right?
frogmammy, Most towns say they are responsible to right after the meter. If the meter was running, the leak was on the customer side, if on the city side, the meter would not be running....James
The "old" water company guy didn't know what he was doing, as he had forged whatever papers were necessary to get the job. The city was upset because the man caused quite a bit of damage overall. Didn't do regular preventive work, and whenever someone had a problem he just put it off. Long, long time ago, in a town of 500 people.

Mon
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
16,680 Posts
Every once in a blue moon I look at the meter when no water is running.

If the dial is moving there is either a leak or a problem with the water meter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,021 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
James; these are new meters, electronically read. I got daily printouts for the entire billing period. The "leak" started the day Barb left, ended when they turned off the meter. Barb pitched a fit, the supervisor took out the meter, tested it, put it back. When all the faucets are off there is NO movement of the meter. When I tested a sink faucet wide open for five minutes the results were consistent with the meter reading charged us for one day. (water used in five minutes, x twelve = one hour's use x 24 = one day's charge by the water dept. ) Each day's reading was so close that pressure variations in the main line could account for the differences.

My only logical conclusion was that SOMEONE left a faucet running, or perhaps a big snake came up thru the toilet and wrapped around that faucet and turned it on.

A neighbor has a key, but it is illogical to think that she came in and turned on a faucet the instant Barb left, and the meter reading for that day is about what I'd expect for the time it could have been running.

To top it off, after the plumber put in the new pressure regulator and a new hot water tank Barb took a nap yesterday, waked to tell me that she could not take a bath because there was no hot water.

Called the plumber and the owner himself came out. Turned out the kid who wired the tank made his connections with wire screws and just flat missed one connection--no contact at all in that screw. Then he found that they had not changed the washers in the copper flex connections and there drips in both lines. Very patient guy, but I'll bet there was a training session this AM.

When we left I turned off the water at the meter. I'm really surprised that the faucet was left on; Barb is a seasoned traveler and she has a departure checklist that would make you think she was piloting a 747.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,585 Posts
A faucet running full bore at 70 psi is pretty loud. When you turned the water back on the offending faucet would have been in the on position... correct? Was there a running faucet discovered? I did not read about one. If one was not discovered then your current theory is false. I believe it was the outside taps.

Is there a reason the neighbors would use her water? Do they have a pool? Is their grass real green? I would conduct the same timing usage tests on the outside taps just to get an idea. The change in water pressure regulator would have to be accounted for. Something is not adding up here, by your own account she's highly organized, not the kind of person to do that.

I smell a rat somewhere, and the story continues.......
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,021 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Only two sillcocks on that unit. The one in front is plainly visible to all; no one could steal water without being seen, and there would be water running in the street if that faucet were left open.

In back there are no near neighbors other than the tenant in the next unit. No sign of running water, no pool nearby. The one hose nearby has lain unmoved for four years.

The damning evidence is that the high water usage started exactly when Barb would have been leaving the condo and ended only when the meter was cut off one hundred fifty five thousand gallons later. Barb told me that when she entered the condo on her next visit she turned on the kitchen sink faucet to get a glass of water. No water. Not believing that this could be so she went to the master bath and tried the faucets there, turning them on and off. If she'd left one of them on she'd have turned it off without knowing it had been on.

She called me, I questioned her about damp/wet carpet, wet spots around the foundation, any signs of puddles in the lawn. None, so I told her to turn the water back on. A passer-by helped, no leaks spotted anywhere.

I went back with her this week and ran all the tests. No sign of any leak, the meter tested perfectly, so we did the best settlement we could.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
587 Posts
If only plumbers didn't cost so much...*sigh*

I've got pressure regulator problems here, also. Run a shower, or fill up the washing machine or the kitchen sink, and in a few minutes the pressure has built up to where it will blow the lines if you don't remember to go back and turn on a faucet and let the pressure off.

It has blown out the lines under the kitchen sink, the bathroom sink, the commode, and started a slow leak in the cold water line in the basement.

Its as though the regulator opens up all the way and won't shut down to a normal pressure until it has built up way too much.

Getting at it involves digging and a lot of trouble, and plumbers here charge $95./hr.

I bet it was put on backwards, or like littlebitfarm said above, it might have been turned the wrong way. I was not at home when it was installed.

Oxankle, it could be that there is a hairline crack in the piping underground. The pressure would build up enough to pump out an enormous amount of water into the ground, where it would not be seen on the surface. This happened to me a few years back. No idea there was a leak until I got an impossible water bill and went to the meter to look at it.

With the help of neighbors the whole mess got dug up and we uncovered a small hairline crack in a 90 degree bend of the PVC pipe. It had leaked enough to fill a swimming pool. My lines are about 4 feet in the ground, so it didn't show on the surface.

I now think it would be a good idea for folks to cut their water off at night and when they leave the house for the day. Have a good cut off valve located in the basement or somewhere that you can get to it fast. A positive on/off valve, preferably a ball valve type instead of a gate valve.

Water is insidious. It destroys. It ruins. When it gets out of its bounds, it is a horror.

Good luck on detecting the reason for this!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,021 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Alice; A 3/4 inch water pressure regulator can be had at Home Depot, Lowe's or almost any plumbing supply house for about $50 to $60. If you have to dig up a water line to get to it, hire two high school boys, show them where you want the hole dug and make a deal with them for the exact amount they will get paid to dig up the line.

Then get any man who can cut and glue plastic pipe to install the regulator. They come already adjusted to a reasonable 45-50 PSI, but you can buy a water pressure gauge for about $5 and check the setting before you fill in the hole.

Even better, if you can get to a water line where it comes into your house, or your basement, put the regulator in there. Barb's regulator is in her hot water heater closet, the first place the line comes in from outside. No digging that way.

My own is in a meter box just on my side of the water meter, but here the fellow only had to dig about two feet. The line from my well is buried deeper than the water district lines.

Whodunit: I've ruled out thievery. The flow was too constant and too long. Not one day varied by more than 150-200 gallons.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
587 Posts
Oxankle, !!!You are a genius!!! I would not in a million years thought to do that. Thank you, thank you, upteen times over. This is do-able.

Hope you get your situation figured out soonest!

Thanks again :happy:
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top