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    Plumbing Forum? (61 Posts)

  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 11:28 PM
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    Plumbing Forum?

    I have a non-heating related question so I'm hoping some of the plumbers on this site could suggest a good plumbing forum. I'm hoping for something similar to this site, but I realize that's a tall order. I have a 1914 house with its original plumbing fixtures and would like to have a go myself  before calling anyone in. I've done most of it myself thus far, but I'm stumped.
  • There are

    a lot of plumbers here.  What's your question?
    Often wrong, never in doubt.
  • senior senior @ 8:04 AM
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    been plumbing etc. since 1953, Alberta and Utah.
  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 8:57 AM
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    Would you folks like to add a Plumbing Questions section?

    I can do that if you want it.
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  • Henry Henry @ 9:03 AM
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    Good idea Dan! It would make it easier for all concerned
  • Dan

    I think a Plumbing Forum will fit in well here and help a lot of people.
    Thanks, Bob Gagnon
  • heatpro02920 heatpro02920 @ 10:27 AM
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    Dan How about a Pros section

    where we can talk pricing and other topics without non pro input... a pumbing section wouldn't be a bad idea either...
  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 10:35 AM
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    What defines a pro?

    How would I check? 
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  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 12:19 PM
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    One idea

    for contractors- licensing. Those of us who advertise in Find a Contractor would already have our licensing info in your system, so we would be the "charter members". Anyone else wanting to join would need to submit their licensing info, which in most cases could be checked online, or that they own or work for a company that is licensed. 

    Many localities require those in the business to include their licensing info with all communications, invoices, advertisements etc. This would avoid trouble if someone tries to make a case that someone was coming across as a "pro" without including their licensing info.

    Then there are non-contractor professionals who we all know, like Tim McElwain, who would be automatically included.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

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  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 12:27 PM
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    Considering that it's just me here.

    Who does all this checking and vetting? And how does it make the others feel when they're left out of this members-only part of the site. Should we also have a non-pro section, where pros are not allowed. Those folks could also talk about pricing, and which pros they don't like.

    I don't want to go there.

    I've been at this since '96 and you've been with us since then and you probably remember that we've talked about this a bunch of times in the past. I want the site to be inclusive. We get the most done that way. If people want to talk price they can do so by email. I've seen other sites fall apart when they try to create tribes within tribes.
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    This post was edited by an admin on May 14, 2013 12:29 PM.
  • Robert O'Brien Robert O'Brien @ 12:45 PM
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    Plumbing section?

    While I understand the different sections concept,I miss the old days of just one Wall,where you never knew what the topics at hand would be. I learned a lot about things I never thought I was interested in!
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 1:11 PM
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    You're right, of course

    but since you asked how one would check, I gave it my best shot ;-)

    Personally I've never felt a need for such a section here. I participate in another board which is professionals-only and that one seems to be doing quite well. But there seems to be some interest in it now, as well as some newer members who might not have been around the last time, so maybe this thread will get the pros and cons out where we can all look at them.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

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  • bill bill @ 1:34 PM
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    I wish the guy who started this whole thing would just ask the damn question instead of seeking permission:)
  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 2:36 PM
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    Sorry...needed to take a pic!

    Sorry Bill. I didn't mean to be annoying. I just like to build the suspense. :) I wasn't exactly asking permission...I just didn't want to clutter up the board or go off-topic if it wasn't welcome. I posted that late last night and haven't been able to get back to it here at work. However, it's interesting that this has prompted some interest, as I have noticed a smattering of questions concerning plumbing recently.

    So my question is this: I have a 1914 Speakman Mixometer mixing valve that feels warm to the touch at all times. It was leaking, but I was able to successfully replace the outer gasketing so it no longer leaks, but that didn't change it feeling hot. However, since replacing the gasket the temp starts warmish, but turns cool within 2-3 minutes. This is NOT the case with any other shower or bath where we have to wait for the hot water, but then have a lot of it. The water pressure also seems less. We generally have a 100psi coming in an 1" pipe, so pressure is never a problem.
    The shower has an older waterpik head.
    this is a separate tiled shower with NO access panel.

    What could be causing these things (hot mixing valve, cool water, lower pressure) and are any of them related? Also, how would I fix them? I have an extra stem for the mixer valve if that would help. (On further thinking, I'm not sure the gasketing has anything to do with the cool water. I don't personally use this shower so it may have done this for a long while.)

    Also, I will NOT CONSIDER replacing this as it is part of the original plumbing that has massaging "needles", a hand-held "shampooer" and separate temp and pressure control. Plus, it's really cool. Hope someone can help!!! Colleen

    P.S. I'm a gal!
    P.P.S. a plumbing section would be great since since so many of the pros are plumbers.
    This post was edited by an admin on May 14, 2013 4:38 PM.
  • heatpro02920 heatpro02920 @ 1:38 PM
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    Duly noted, Dan

    You are correct, It would be quite the hassle to background check each that wanted to join. I would do it with a timed 20 question test.... All questions only a pipefitter would know, like how many times do you turn a 3/4" fitting with a 24" steel pipe wrench vs the same fitting with an 18" aluminum pipe wrench?
    This post was edited by an admin on May 14, 2013 1:39 PM.
  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 1:48 PM
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    I couldn't pass that test.

    So I'd have to include myself out of that exclusive (and very expensive to develop) section, which is what I'm doing. ;-)

    Would you like a section of Plumbing Questions?
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  • Rich Rich @ 6:48 PM
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    Kudos Dan

    the site is fine as it is and I for one agree with your rationale , not that it matters .   I have been doing this for 30+ years and don't have a license (don't want one either) . There are 6300+ active plumbing Licenses in NJ and possibly 700 Real plumbers (Damn 80 & 90's) .   Heat Pro , would you have an oldtimer like me sit out of the action , after all A revolution is a revolution no matter how long the lever
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would
  • ced48 ced48 @ 2:46 PM
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    a plumbing section would be great-
  • bill bill @ 3:39 AM
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    Why not?

    It's those background checks that get tricky!:)
    This post was edited by an admin on May 15, 2013 3:47 AM.
  • Jack Jack @ 9:41 AM
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    Based upon a few

    of my recent posts, it would certainly be helpful to me;) I came up through the plumbing trade and was a contractor, but not having worked with the tools for a long time, why, things have changed. I would like to see it and will contribute as I can.
  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 10:25 AM
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    Okay, I'm game.

    Just set up the Plumbing section. Have fun! 
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  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 12:45 PM
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    So, can I keep my question here or should I re-post to the new plumbing (yeah) section? Anyone have any ideas?
    Also, why is the steam section suddenly at the was so convenient at the top. Is this a seasonal change?
    This post was edited by an admin on May 15, 2013 12:47 PM.
  • Dan Holohan Dan Holohan @ 1:23 PM
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    I put things in alphabetical order.

    Lots of people were writing to complain that their section wasn't up top like Strictly Steam. They said I was playing favorites. This seems like the fairest way to go.

    I'll move this thread to the Plumbing section. Thanks.
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  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 5:51 PM
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    Further thoughts...

    I think I may have over thought this thing and scared away any help! I believe prior to the ceramic cartridges and such that most mixer valves were similar to the one pictured. The only difference might be that this has a separate control for the pressure and the temperature. I've been reading that the valves can bleed, but would that explain why it gets cold. I've also not been able to find any info on FIXING the bleed-through.

    Let's get this new section up and running!!! thanks in advance.

  • Charlie from wmass Charlie from wmass @ 7:48 AM
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    Colleen only answer

    you would need to open the valve and check for washers you could change. Systems with pressure over 75# we install pressure reducing valves on as many fixtures and faucets do not like the high pressure. I know it has been this high of pressure for decades, it does not mean it has been happy all that time.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

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  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 12:32 PM
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    Thanks, Charlie. So if I'm understanding you correctly, this bleed-through may just be a worn washer perhaps caused by the high-pressure? I don't think I could put a pressure-reducer on this, but maybe the guy and my old hardware store (where I bought a replacement stem!) can advise. Would this make it go cold so quickly as well?

    I figured they used the large pipe because the house is so large and they wanted to make sure there was pressure on all floors. But you're right...just because it is, doesn't mean it's good. Would a pressure reducer be something to put by the meter? This is really the only tap where there's ever been a problem. Off-topic...could the high pressure be affecting other things?
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 2:16 PM
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    I have an older Speakman single-handle valve

    though not that old- it has two pistons with washers on the end, one each for hot and cold. On that one, the pressure-balance piston is piped in after the washers.

    It's possible that yours has a pressure-balance that comes before the washers. If so, that might be the cause. ISTR this was an issue with some Moen units.
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  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 4:57 PM
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    Thanks, Steamhead. I want to give a BIG shout-out to Mr. Frank Salacki at Speakman. I called there and he sent me diagrams of my valve and instuctions for operation. How awesome is that?. They don't even sell them anymore, but he looked it up and emailed it lickety-split. Now I'm just hoping someone here can help explain to me, based on the drawings, what is wrong with mine and how I might fix it. Thanks for reading this.
    Oh yes, he also said that all the Mixometers were basically the same. He only had instructions for the commander.
    This post was edited by an admin on May 16, 2013 5:56 PM.
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 6:41 PM
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    Doesn't look

    like that has a pressure-balance. Can you send me Mr. Salacki's info- I want to get the info on mine, which is a Sentinel rather than a Mixometer.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    This post was edited by an admin on May 17, 2013 6:42 PM.
  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 7:49 PM
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    Sent U an Email, but found this...

    Hey there. I sent you an email with the info on Friday, and found I had downloaded this prior. It wasn't useful for the Mixometer, but I think it's what you're looking for. Scroll down to the Speakman section.
  • Larry Weingarten Larry Weingarten @ 2:06 AM
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    cross connection

    Hello:  It sounds like water is leaking from hot to the cold side of the plumbing, but testing for it will give you some more info to work with and help in the fixing of it. 

    To test for cross connection, turn off water to your water heater.  If it's electric, turn off power, if gas turn to pilot.  Open a hot tap somewhere other than the shower and see what it does.  If there is no cross connection, the water will run only a little, then stop.  Otherwise it'll keep running.  If it runs, go back to the shower and listen for a high pitched ssissing sound.  Let it run a few minutes.  Stop the test , put things back as they were and then run hot water at the shower.  If the valve is cold and runs cold for a while first, you know that cold water came from testing and that there is a cross connection at the shower valve.

    From there it's valve seats and/or washers/seals that are leaking.

    Yours,  Larry

    ps.  100 psi is too much.  40-60 is considered normal and is easier on the plumbing.
  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 2:40 PM
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    Cross Connection...yes!

    Thanks for this test. I'd given up on this post, but maybe I can get this worked out now. It seems I do have a cross connection

    . My main problem now is getting to the valves. I'll try and post a pic on Monday and maybe someone will have a suggestion on how to remove them without ripping out the tile. Old houses... got to love them. Oh well, it's lasted 100 years and I'm not sure I won't  need a little maintenance at that point! At least I do have some gaskets that are supposedly for this mix-0-meter.

    I know most people would have done this by now, but I had to put in a shut-off valve in the basement to at least the cold water. I can't find the hot one so I have to shut off the water to the entire house. That sort of puts a cramp in getting this done. It's on the agenda for Monday.
  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 12:43 PM
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    Cold taps turned hot???

    Did not do this as planned as I had a toilet to fix...100yr old Douglas that should now be good for many a year.Three tries, but got her done.

    So, I do need to get a picture of  the inside of the shower to see if anyone can figure out how to get to it without ripping out the tile. I did Larry's troubleshooting and there's definitely bleedthrough on the shower. But I'm now noticing other weird things concerning this bathroom's plumbing. These are recent issues only since dealing with the shower.
    In the separate bathtub,  hot water is now coming out the cold tap and when I turn it on, I can hear water coming up to the shower, which is 10 ft away. The Hot tap is a trickle. Same thing for the sink, no hot from the hot tap, although it does seem to be cold water from the cold tap. I may have to let it run for a while as there's usually a wait for the hot in this bathroom. At least the toilet works!
    Any thoughts on what would make this system go crazy like this after so long? I haven't changed any of the piping runs and have really just turned off the water at the mains or the cold water in the basement. I know the cold  is currently "on", as the toilet flushes with cold water.
  • Jean-David Beyer Jean-David Beyer @ 12:51 PM
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    Temperature regulating valve?

    In my darkroom, I have a clever two-stage pressure balancing temperature regulating valve. Each input has a check valve in it so that if I turn off the output, the cross connection will not cause problems. If those check valves both stuck open (old age, calcium deposits, etc.), there would be a cross connection.

    Some shower valves are like that. Normally, they probably do not need the check valves because the water would escape through the shower head. But my low-flow shower head has a valve in it that I use to regulate the flow. If I turn it off, I would have a cross connection problem. Did a shower head like mine recently replace an old one?
  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 7:47 PM
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    Hadn't read this....hmmmm

    So I do have a low flow and wonder if this contributed to the problem.

    Well the bath is fixed (Turn-odd in wrong direction), the toilet is no longer hot and the hot water is no longer heating the whole assembly...BUT the HW flow to both sink AND shower is VERY weak. Really not suitable for a shower. The HW pressure in the separate tub is great as is the cold water throughout the entire bathroom. There is no main shut-off to the hot water for this bathroom, but I don't think that's the problem as the bath get hot just fine. I believe the line head from the bath to the sink and shower, but it's hard to see in the access area.

    What could be causing this very low pressure? These pipes are galvanized, I think. Could it just be debris and how could I trouble shoot this short of ripping out the plaster ceiling?
    Thanks for any help. It would be wonderful to use this bathroom m again.
  • icesailor icesailor @ 10:08 AM
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    New Posting:

    I don't know if you just posted here today about your pressure problem and what you have done.
    If your posting is a continuation of one, and you had pressure in the sink/shower, and only the hot, but now, you have less pressure and you have galvanized pipes, there is a complicated way to perhaps fix it. But you don't have (at this time) what you need to do it and it requires some work.
    I write too much blather here. If it really is a problem, I'll post my method for clearing rust chunks from galvanized water lines. It has almost always worked for me. If the chunks are loose, it ALWAYS works.
  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 3:15 PM
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    Continuation of problem...

    thanks icesailor,
    This is actually a continuation of the same post, just an update on what got fixed and what's still not working. I posted as a reply because i hadn't seen the comment regarding loflo shower heads.
    This post started as a question on my 100yr old Speakman shower Mixometer t and morphed into the addition of the Plumbing Forum to The Wall. Then a few others jumped into the Speakman fray with newer models. If you can bear it, skim through my post on the peior problems and their resolution.

    The lack of hot water (other than a trickle) is now the issue. Thanks in advance for any insight you may have.
  • icesailor icesailor @ 5:49 PM
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    Low Flow:

    So, what have you been told is a solution other than a re-pipe?
  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 6:30 PM
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    We're basically baffled by it. The one odd thing, thinking about it, is that the toilet water got really hot before fixing the shower gaskets, but the shower and sink HW is just a trickle.
    I jwould like to eliminate any easy solutions before decided it's clogged lines.
  • icesailor icesailor @ 10:30 PM
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    What I think:

    I think that when the checks in the shower valve were bad, it allowed hot water pressure to flow to the toilet because there is an obstruction in the hot and cold between somewhere and the sink. It filled the toilet with hot water because the obstruction is greater to the lav than to the toilet.
    You say that you don't have any valves to the bathroom. How about under the sink? Do you have any there? Can you put any in? Like ones with 3/8 OD compression ends so you can use flex connectors?
    Either way, you need to be able to flush the lines. I always take a wire coat hanger, straighten it out, and with the water to the lav off, take the guts of the faucet out and put the wire end of the coat hanger down the bore. You have to push it through the washer hole. If it is obstructed with rust chunks, you will feel them. They tend to gather there. You should end up by being able to push the hanger down a couple of feet down the pipe. If you do hit something, here's where you need the stop. You need to put a plastic glass over the faucet and turn it on. Water should flow rapidly out of the faucet. If it is slow, run the hanger up and down. If the flow increases, you will see chunks come through. Try both. If the sink is in a cabinet and valved, put long flex supplies on the stops and blow them into a 5 gallon bucket. See what you get. If you get this far, there are ways to connect an air compressor to the lav connections, connect them together, and blow air backwards. Which might blow the debris backwards.
    If someone is cleaver, they can figure out ways to blow the lines backwards and get rid of the rust chunks. All the tricks we learned from opening old houses for the summer have gone by the way. We re-piped them all with copper sooner or later.

    I had two jobs in the past few years where entire houses were plugged up with fine sand and no water would flow and one with rust from a new water service. Two plumbers had given up before I was called. One was from a caretaker who knew far more than I do but he called me in desperation. He couldn't believe the ways I had to get the rust out with air and not destroy the house that was being sold the next day. He never called me again. The other was a new house where water flooded under a deck where someone had put the water well and the fine silt of the loan filtered through the electrical pipe and into the well cap. The whole house filled with fine sand. It was a new house and two other plumbers had given up. The landscaper recommended me. I did the same thing. I got most of it one day, and finished the next. They never crabbed about the bill to me but they never called back. It was a rewarding challenge to me. The other ones gave up. If someone puts thought into it, they might be able to make it go. I'd try things first. But they might not see things the way I do. You just treat the air and water like water and make it go backwards.
    Good luck.
  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 11:18 PM
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    Thank you! Will try...

    I'll give this a try when I have some help next week and report back. Thank you!  I do have shut-offs under the sink and bath and toilet, just not to the shower or to the entire bathroom in the basement for the hot. I'm digesting these instructions and hopefully it will work...that would be much better that ripping up the ceiling below. How would you suggest I go about the shower or do you think fixing the lav will accomplish that?
     I think you're correct about the HW to the toilet. That was wild!
    This post was edited by an admin on March 13, 2014 11:20 PM.
  • icesailor icesailor @ 8:41 AM
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    I thought the shower was working now. Take the shower head off and replace it with a 1/2" IPS cap. Open the lav water faucets one at a time. how is the pressure? Open the shower valve all the way. Does the lav pressure change? Does the water entering the valve correspond to the placing of the shower valve handle in the manner in which the water comes out of the shower? The shape of the cartridges determine which way they go in.
    Its hard to explain because I have so many years of experience doing it from the hundreds and hundreds of houses I used to turn on year after year. Maybe thousands. But thousands of bathrooms.
    Dealing with galvanized rust chunks in galvanized piping is a acquired skill that you must acquire. I've told people what I was going to do so they would understand. And they stood in awe of what I did, not believing it if they hadn't seen it.
    If you have stops under the lav sinks, that is the best place to start. With the Coat Hanger. You have to think like water. You have to think in reverse. Air will go wherever water will go. You can make it go in reverse. Its just easier to clean up than water.

    Good luck.
  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 6:14 PM
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    I apologize...

    I'm sorry for how confusing this thread has become with all the different topics covered. The gaskets on the shower were fixed so it doesn't drip tand here isn't any crossover anymore. Mine doesn't have cartridges as it's before they had them...100yrs old. Here are two pdfs for it that Speakman sent me. They were made for a really long time.
    I'll try the sink first because cleaning it might help out the shower and it's easier since there are independent shut-off valves. thank you for taking the time to help.
  • Couldn't You

    Shut off the water main, open a faucet down stairs on the water heater and try and blast out those galvanized mains by attaching a hose to your upstairs faucet? I've heard of guys doing this.

    Thanks, Bob Gagnon
  • icesailor icesailor @ 8:39 PM
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    You can get hosed:

    You can do that or any shape or form of it.
    When trying to get fine sand or fine rust and sediment out of piping systems, I have found that using water works. But if it doesn't, its because the water makes the sand/rust more difficult to move and that air pressure will start moving it. Because small amounts of air start passing through the sand and makes room for more air to follow. Like a lot of good ideas we develop, necessity is the mother of invention. When one thing doesn't work, we try something else. Until something works. That worked for me on many occasions. My air compressor became the most important power tool in my truck. There is no limit to what uses you can find for a well appointed air compressors. Today, I was grouting the brick tiles I made by cutting up some 12" X 12" tiles on my patio. I needed to get the debris out from between the joints from the bricks. Out came the compressor and a 50' hose with a air blow nozzle.
    Grout spaces clear of leaves and loose mortar. Job completed. Quick connectors are a wonderful thing.
  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 7:20 PM
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    did not work...

    I'm sure it's totally user error and lack of experience, but blowing down the lines with the air compressor didn't work. It did dislodge some rust,but the hot on the sink and shower is still a trickle.Should I still try with a hanger as I only used the compressor?
    I'm checking behind an access panel to see if there are any shut-off valves that I didn't know about, but am not holdin gout much hope. I'll report back on any change, but for now it's a fail. :(

    I hope I didn't miss something in the instructions. thanks for taking the time to try to help. I'm still open to questions and advice.
  • icesailor icesailor @ 9:13 AM
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    Rust pressures:

    You need constant air pressure on the piping. That means that you have to come up with a way to connect your air compressor to the piping. You have to make the air/water run backwards. It also needs a place to go. That's why you need to be able to connect the hot and cold together in a way that you can blow into the hot and either make it come out a hot water drain, or come out the opposite faucet. You must make the water or air run backwards. I have a 50' air hose for my air compressor with quick disconnect adapters on the compressor. I have another device (one of many) made of 1/2" pipe nipples, fittings and a valve and hose drain that has a quick disconnect fitting on it. I can connect it to my air hose and adapt the other end to anything I can think of that I want to blow air through. I can connect it and leave it.
    Think of it as your body with atherosclerosis. There's a clot somewhere. You need to find it and get it out. You need both ends to be open so that when you blow on one end, the air/water has a place to go. I suggested the sink because you can usually remove supplies and replace them with braided flex supplies. Then get other supplies that you can connect the air to. Or cross connect to. You have to think like water. I can look at a problem like yours and instantly see ways that might accomplish my goals. I go into stores looking for "something". Someone asks me if they can help me find what I am looking for. "No, I don't know what I am looking for, but I'll know it when I see it". Some times I have to go to more than one place. After years, I had quite the collection of things to do anything I needed to do. Including once, a rig to test the piston ring leakage on my lawn tractor. It wasn't the piston rings, it was the broken flywheel key that I had replaced that broke again immediately because cranking the engine with a broken flywheel key will polish the end of the crank and flywheel and eliminate the resistance of the friction fit. So, I used valve lapping compound to rough up the end of the crank and flywheel and I never broke another key again.
    You have to think globally but act locally.
    Sometimes, you have to find the spot and beat the crap out of it with a hammer for the shock effect.
  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 1:43 AM
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    Trying again...experiments

    So I tried some trouble-shooting experiments to see if any of this makes sense to anyone.
    Background: 100yr old Speakman that had a valve cross-over leak. We fixed that aspect, but the other problem of trickling hot water at the sink and tepid water at the shower persists. This is a second fl BR; the tub and toilet are fine. All the water to other plumbing in the house is HOT and pressure is great except to hot water tap at sink.

    For these experiments I shut off the Cold water supply in the basement that ONLY feeds this bathroom.
    1st experiment: Turned On hot taps to shower and sink
    Turned Off Cold supply in basement.
    Result: no change.trickle at sink, tepid at shower.

    2nd experiment: Turned on Cold at sink (great pressure) and left running for a couple of minutes
    Turned of Cold supply in basement.
    Result: water at tap did not turn off, but turned HOT!!!, and pressure stayed strong. No effect on dribble of water at hot tap.

    3rd experimen with cold supply remaining shut Offt: shut off cold tap to sink (which was running HOT water), turned ON cold to shower. NO cold water at shower so turned tap off. Then I turned on the Cold at the sink, but this time instead of Hot water there was no flow. Hot tap NOT affected.

    The only difference was I turned on the sink tap AFTER turning off the Cold supply and trying to turn on the cold at the shower.

    4th experiment: Turned on Cold supply valve and then cold tap at sink.
    Result .full flow of cold water at sink. No effect on Hot tap.
    I then turned shower mixer to hot, but sink remained cold.

    Why can't I get HOT water at the shower and full pressure at the sink. I tried cleaning the lines as icesailor suggested, but no luck. Do these experiments help anyone trouble shoot this? And why was I getting HOT water out of the COLD sink tap? I'm determined to fix this.
  • icesailor icesailor @ 11:53 AM
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    Hot & Cold:

    Its hard to follow what you did in the order which you did it.
    I suggest that you do a single line drawing of all the fixtures with the hot lines in red and the cold lines in blue. With a green line as the outlet. You have to think of it like an electrical schematic except that electricity doesn't care where it goes (unless you use diodes) and of you turn off one side of a water supply system, the other side will go where it wants to go. The only place that you have a direct cross connection between the hot and cold is at the shower valve.
    I once had something similar to what you describe, In a past renovation, years before, someone put a Watts #70A tempering valve under a floor to control water temperature to a hand shower on a tub. Through subsequent renovations, this fact was lost. The owner never complained about cold showers, but people paying $20,000 for a month Summer rental did, But you I couldn't make it happen when a tenant was there and the owner never complained. The house was sold. The new owner complained. After a lot of screwing around, I found the valve, covered over years before with no access anywhere. Because the house was built in the 1920's and had some parts piped overhead, I had to figure out how it was piped before I could pinpoint what the problem was.
    Are you sure that there is no place where someone might have put a tempering valve that became buried in the walls that only controls the hot water for the tub/shower and the sink?

    Can you shut off the water to the whole house, drain it back and take out the guts of the stop valve for the hot water in the cellar? Look and see if the bibb screw head has come off and/or the faucet washer is off and jammed into the seat of the valve. If it is a brass screw and the head is off, it could be jammed into some galvanized pipe.
    At one time, it worked. The problem is finding out what happened so that now it doesn't.
  • RobG RobG @ 12:24 PM
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    Has it

    Has it ever worked since you have been there? If yes, what has changed?
  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 3:42 PM
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    I know it's confusing...

    Thanks icesailor and robg. Yes, it always worked until the last couple of years. It's seems random as nothing was changed recently except putting a low-flow shower head on which I removed  for all didn't seem to have any effect.
      The tub and shower are original fixtures  @ 100yrs old. The shower has no access panel and I can't see anything unusual in the bath access panel. It's basically just the drain pipe and water lines with shut-offs. The toilet is ten years old and the sink taps were put in maybe7-8 years ago on an old sink. It's a modern washerless faucet.No chance of any tempering valve as I've lived here many years and this is a recent problem.

    I thought I'd fixed the cross-over problem when putting in the new shower gaskets...does the hot water in the sink tap mean that's not the case?

    I can draw a little schematic showing where the fixtures are relative to one another, but I can't really see the piping. I presume it comes to the tub first and then to the sink and shower as the tub pressure and temp is fine. I'll do that when I get home.
     I'll try your suggestion at the HWtank on Monday when I have help.

    The experiments basically just involved shutting off the cold water to that bathroom in differnt orders and seeing what affect in had on the hot.  The only time it did anything unusual was when I had the sink tap on prior to shutting off the main supply. It's just too strange that cutting off the cold supply while running cold water at the sink would force hot water into the tap.. BTW, I had the shower off but turned to cold and when I shut off the cold supply it DID shut off any cold flow to the shower and tub. When I turned it to Hot, water came out.
    I love a good mystery, but this one is beyond me.
    This post was edited by an admin on August 23, 2014 3:47 PM.
  • RobG RobG @ 5:50 PM
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    It's a shame that you don't have an access panel and individual shut offs for the shower. The only thing that comes to mind is that the cold water (which has higher pressure than the hot) is cross connecting in the shower valve. I recall that you repaired it recently but was it a correct fix? Old valves and new parts do not necessarily work well together. If it worked before, it has to be in the shower valve.

  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 8:08 PM
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    Tell me about it...

    It's the only plumbing fixture without individual shut-off valves in the entire house and only one of two on an outside wall, which explains no access panel also.

    soi here's a cruddy little schematic showing the br set-up Right +North. I think the water lines come in from the East to the tub and then from there over to the sink/shower/toilet, but i can't really see behind the panel very well due to insulation/joists, etc.

    When we recently repaired the drip, we just put in new gaskets. That fixed the toilet hot water issue. Everything about the actual mixer tap seemed in really good shape and the plumber cleaned it all beautifully before reinstalling it. The gaskets were specifically for this Speakman mix-o-meter.

    When i have help on Monday, I'm going to try to turn off the HW valve for the front side of my house and see if any lines from there go to the problem bthroom. I've never been able to find a master shut-off for the back side of the house.
    This post was edited by an admin on August 23, 2014 8:09 PM.
  • icesailor icesailor @ 12:58 PM
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    Speakman Mixers:

    Those old Speakman Mixers like the Kohler ones have a quirk. At least the Kohler ones do.

    Did this start when the plumber changed or repaired the shower valve parts?
    Does the valve open and cold water comes in and on when you first turn on the water? If you look at the parts that hold the washers, they appear to be the same until you compare them side by side. Then, you will see that they are exact opposites. If you are unaware of this difference, it is very easy to flip them over and have the hot spool on the cold side. If you take them out (carefully), you will notice that the scooped out part on one starts on the bottom by the washer and the other one is on farther up and open at the top. That is so as you turn on the water, one side (cold) starts first and as you move the yoke farther away from the seats, it exposed more of the other side. But that shouldn't be the cause of all your problems. I see things like yours when faucet washers come off because screw heads on bibb screws fail from de-zincification. The screw gets lodged somewhere and or the washer gets ground into the seat, partially blocking the hole for the water to come through.

    There is a way to add stops to the sink. Some may not see it but others among us can see how it is done. The soaring thinkers among us who can't walk away from a situation and find out that someone fixed it. Because the hot supply only feeds the tub and sink, it has to be in there. You need to install a stop valve on the sink so you can make air or water go in reverse and blow whatever is in there, out. I can see and hear subtle things that mean absolutely nothing to you and others that mean a lot to me. That's the difference between one and another. Experience.
  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 2:25 PM
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    Sink shut-offs

    Thanks icesailor,  I love reading your musings.  I wanted to clarify there ARE shut-off valves to the sink ,bath and toilet, just NOT to the separate shower as it backs onto an exterior wall.There also, is NO shut off valve to just shut off this half of the house in the basement (that we/ve ever found). Should I take it off and try the air compressor method there? We did it through the faucet before.

    Regarding the mixer  valve. I'll try turning it to cold and see if I get hot. If I'm reading your reply correctly that's what should happen, although I don't think it's the case here. In the prior experiments, when I shut off the cold in the basement, I didn't get any water flow out of the shower when it was turned to cold. That tells me cold  is hooked up to the cold valve. You do have a great understanding of these valves...they work exactly like you say!

    I'll try the air compressor tomorrow. If that's the issue, it should help the flow of water to the shower as well, correct?
  • RobG RobG @ 6:05 PM
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    I haven't read the entire thread (you should start a new one). If this home has galvanized piping and you were getting hot water through the toilet, you have a cross connection. I will take a wild guess and say that it is at the shower valve as that is the only pressure balanced unit in the bath. Can you install shut-offs? That would make troubleshooting a breeze.

  • icesailor icesailor @ 3:19 AM
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    Old Shower Valves:

    As I remember in this long thread, the valve was made sometime after the end of the Pleistocene era and before the descendants of the Chukchi Siberian reindeer herders crossed the Alaskan land bridge, where they settled in Canyon De Chelly and became Navajos. That was before pressure balance valve. I guess that is why in the beginning, I thought of anti-sweat valves. They are a direct cross connection between hot and cold. You can also get hot water cross connections where you have hand sprays and hoses with positive shut off valves. If the hot and cold are open but the hose shut-off valves is off, you have an open cross connection.
    If you have plaqued up galvanized and the hot is obstructed on the riser to the bathroom and the cold is free, the cold will have a higher flow pressure and overcome the hot, making the hot water slow but cool because although water is flowing out of the faucet, the restriction is the overflow. There's all kinds of tricks like sticking my finger over a flowing faucet to see if the flow increases at another faucet. Its hard to remember all the things I have done. Its like one of those "moments". If you have supply stops on the sinks, you can always adapt an air hose to them and with the water off, see if you have equal pressure.
    This post was edited by an admin on August 25, 2014 3:20 AM.
  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 1:59 PM
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    Hilarious, but SO true!

    That is hilarious, but so true. I have a hard time wrapping my head around
    disposable plumbing fixtures, I guess.  Generally, I've found the
    original to be superior or at least fixable. Even my Chambers stove is
    getting up there in years. In fact, the  single modern state-of-the-art
    system in my house is that for heating:   twinned Slantfin Intrepid
    TR50s, stage-fired, but they're attacehed to the awesome 100yr old Trane
    vapovacuum steam system.and use the original Vstat.

    I'm startinga new post with my latest findings. Please follow. I'm pretty good at
    trouble-shooting with guidance, but need guidance!!! Plus, then I'll
    need to figure out how to fix the problem.
    This post was edited by an admin on August 26, 2014 2:00 PM.
  • vaporvac vaporvac @ 3:00 AM
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    Problem solved!!!

    If at first you don't succeED, try  try again, and then, HIRE A PLUMBER!  But not just any plumber, but one who'll work with you and take the time to figure it out. My thanks to Charlie, Steamhead, Larry and Jean-David. It was indeed the gaskets and a valve stuck open due to 100yrs of age and mineral depostis. Amazingly, it cleaned up like a charm. My plumber sanded, cleaned, reamed and polished it all like new, so I hope it's good for another century. (He also left the sink cleaner than he found it.)
    I finally broke down after the toilet water went hot. It was, admittedly, nice, but I felt a bit TOO pampered. Also, when I turned on the bath, I could hear the water coming to the shower. It was beyond my diy skills and mainly, I did NOT want to break anything. The large gasket from Noel's (which was meant to be an exact fit) was way off, so we left the one I'd fabricated prior from hd gasketing and just used the smaller ones that came with the kit.
    I will post pics for anyone else with this mixer valve. It was exquisite how it cam apart.
    Although originally meant to be pulled out,  that wasn't possible with my tiled shower and no access panel. Fine copper nails slipped through the valves and turned at the bottom to hold them on. I thought for sure they'd break, but they remained as pliable as the day they were installed. A very elegant design, but I struggled with it for years, sure I'd have to break the tile to access it.
    Alas, after the plumber left, I turned on the tub and now the hot tap won't turn off even when it's completely screwed down. It worked fine until we fixed the shower. Go figure. Urrgh.
  • GordonGekko GordonGekko @ 2:10 PM
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    My Speakman Sentinel Leaks

    Hello folks, I'm new and I just replaced the whole cartridge for my Speakman Sentinel showerbody. The plumbing supply house and my area had the brand-new cartridge so I bought it replaced it and now I can't get the little drip to stop. I replaced the flat washers with the beveled washers, I put Teflon tape around the valve seats and yet it still trips a little bit.
    Anybody have suggestions on how to stop this little drip? My next move is to get longer stainless steel screws and put two washers on instead of one on each side
  • icesailor icesailor @ 9:57 PM
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    I don't know what cartridge you were given or what you did, but it is usually a straight swap out of the box with no leaks. The washers are unique to only that valve. If you changed them to bevel washers, I don't think that the valve will work. Nor longer stainless steel screws.
    You have to be extremely careful when you replace the cartridge that is isn't partway out and that you have the cartridge absolutely straight when you put it back in.
    With that valve and the Kohler's, you have to be very careful that you put it together exactly like the old one was when it came out.
    I never had a problem on any that I ever replaced. Sounds like it is cocked in the bore and now it has the wrong washers.
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