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OT. Partially plugged tub and shower valve

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  • #16
    darn old plumbers...

    Originally posted by bborr01 View Post
    Today I was talking to a buddy about this and told him that I figured out that I could put the valves back together, shut off the water and cap the tub filler and pour an acid solution down from the shower head spout. Looks like great minds think alike. Cheers.
    First to the water filter:
    If you have hard water, high in calcium minerals, a filter will not help. If you have particulates it can help remove them, of course.

    From what reggie_obe said: "When I was living in Michigan (Lansing area) while working on a two year project, we contractors referred to the water as liquid rock. Heavy with iron and calcium."


    Be careful with the acid added to the shower riser. The problem is likely much more wide spread, and acid introduced at the end of the problem won't help much. It is dangerous...
    see:

    also found this:


    It is likely that the problem is probably mostly with the hot piping. There was a professional cleaning solution available called Borcoil, it seems that Mag-Erad may have replaced it.

    The solution can be pumped thru the system to de-calcify the piping. It is pumped in from the hot pipe leading from the water heater, and then recirculated by running a hose from the hot outlets around the house back to the heater. While this will absolutely remove the mineral deposits, those deposits are often all that is keeping the piping from leaking.

    While JT doesn’t like plumbers bashing great holes in the walls to replace valves, there is often no real solution other than that. Besides, as I mentioned before the root cause of the problem is not at the faucet, it's system wide...

    It's tough to find a good plumber. If you can do all the system maintenance your self, that’s great. I was in the business for 42 years primarily on commercial and industrial work... and I HATED doing residential work. Kept bumping into the crap work of unprofessional, untrained 'handymen' who didn't know or care what they did. This naturally left the home owners on guard. Tough on the home owner, but in the end that's not my problem. All I can say is that I had a great and professional relationship with all my clients. Been retired 10 years next April and wouldn't trade it for anything...

    In the end you have to decide how long to keep the house in an un-rentable condition before you call a professional plumber.

    Hope work out the problem
    paul
    ARS W9PCS

    Esto Vigilans

    Remember, just because you can doesn't mean you should...
    but you may have to

    Comment


    • #17
      Everyone is still assuming that the issue is deposits, but it could easily be "sand" particles. Deposits clog everything, but the original poster seems to way that water gets TO the valve in good volume. That suggests the issue is not deposits in the pipes, but something in the valve.

      "Pounded holes" My objection is not to the holes necessary to put in the faucet, but the ones left from the four old faucets. The tile we have is absolutely unobtainable as a replacement (been looking for years), and cemented-up holes are unsightly. There is full access to the pipes from behind that wall, in a closet. So I am in no hurry to replace the old faucets. In fact I had new parts made for them (before I had a shop)

      Mostly the issue is the way many "plumbers" wield the hammer even when it is not necessary, and DO NOT consider servicing. I had a basement bath put in, replacing the old fixtures and bringing it up to code. The shower was put in with NO access to the valve nor piping. All soldered together, with the minimum size hole in the shower enclosure, and no rear access (although it could have been done if located slightly differently). I beat on the plumbers and contractor about it until they supplied a piece of the same pattern material so that if it had to be worked on, at least the hole could be patched with something that did not stick out like a red light (it is a marble type material).

      I have seen other cases where the wall was bashed despite there being a way to access from the back. Even if there was no access, if the rear side is accessible in a closet, it is better to bash that than a hard-to-fix plaster wall on the exposed side where it will be obvious forever. Do these people never THINK?

      Or they do not put in shutoff valves.... possibly they do, but solder on the cheapest type that fail in a couple years, instead of a decent ball valve. And that on expensive jobs.

      Not all plumbers are like that. Often the ones who do work for remodelers are much better than the standard independents or "construction plumbers". We were just unlucky with those bathroom plumbers.... clueless.
      Last edited by J Tiers; 12-02-2018, 12:17 AM.
      CNC machines only go through the motions.

      Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
      Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
      Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
      I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
      Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
        Everyone is still assuming that the issue is deposits, but it could easily be "sand" particles. Deposits clog everything, but the original poster seems to way that water gets TO the valve in good volume. That suggests the issue is not deposits in the pipes, but something in the valve.

        "Pounded holes" My objection is not to the holes necessary to put in the faucet, but the ones left from the four old faucets. The tile we have is absolutely unobtainable as a replacement (been looking for years), and cemented-up holes are unsightly. There is full access to the pipes from behind that wall, in a closet. So I am in no hurry to replace the old faucets. In fact I had new parts made for them (before I had a shop)

        Mostly the issue is the way many "plumbers" wield the hammer even when it is not necessary, and DO NOT consider servicing. I had a basement bath put in, replacing the old fixtures and bringing it up to code. The shower was put in with NO access to the valve nor piping. All soldered together, with the minimum size hole in the shower enclosure, and no rear access (although it could have been done if located slightly differently). I beat on the plumbers and contractor about it until they supplied a piece of the same pattern material so that if it had to be worked on, at least the hole could be patched with something that did not stick out like a red light (it is a marble type material).

        I have seen other cases where the wall was bashed despite there being a way to access from the back. Even if there was no access, if the rear side is accessible in a closet, it is better to bash that than a hard-to-fix plaster wall on the exposed side where it will be obvious forever. Do these people never THINK?

        Or they do not put in shutoff valves.... possibly they do, but solder on the cheapest type that fail in a couple years, instead of a decent ball valve. And that on expensive jobs.

        Not all plumbers are like that. Often the ones who do work for remodelers are much better than the standard independents or "construction plumbers". We were just unlucky with those bathroom plumbers.... clueless.
        And lets not forget Plumbers crack. It can take years to recover from one visit by a plumber!
        Location: The Black Forest in Germany

        How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by danlb View Post
          While you are at it, Brian, back flushing from the shower head mount to the valve is a good idea after you are done. You can make an adapter for a garden hose easily enough. The idea is to get all the loosened crap out of the pipe, otherwise it might go right back up into the shower head when you reassemble.

          Dan
          I'm going to flush it out with house water pressure after I acidize it but before I put the shower head back on.
          OPEN EYES, OPEN EARS, OPEN MIND

          THINK HARDER

          BETTER TO HAVE TOOLS YOU DON'T NEED THAN TO NEED TOOLS YOU DON'T HAVE

          MY NAME IS BRIAN AND I AM A TOOLOHOLIC

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
            Deposits may be the issue, but with no filter, AND a problem, I would suspect actual sand / small gravel, up to 1 or 2 mm in size, getting carried up and jamming in the valve. Unless you see deposits all over the place, it is less likely that they would target the valve, absent some sort of electrolytic thing happening, which is not typical of bronze valves.

            We get that sand crud, especially if there has been any work on the supply pipes within a mile or two of the house. Usually gets right through and ends up in the aerator nozzle on a sink, but might stick in the shower valve, I suppose, depending on what type it is.

            The two faucet ones are illegal here now (I like them, and our tiled shower has two sets, so I really do not want a plumber pounding holes in the tile to put in a single handle as required by code).
            There is nothing jammed in the valves. I have the valves out and have run a wire into the ports where the water goes from the valve area horizontally to the upright for the shower and the downspout.
            OPEN EYES, OPEN EARS, OPEN MIND

            THINK HARDER

            BETTER TO HAVE TOOLS YOU DON'T NEED THAN TO NEED TOOLS YOU DON'T HAVE

            MY NAME IS BRIAN AND I AM A TOOLOHOLIC

            Comment


            • #21
              With extremely hard water the mineral remains dissolved due to carbon dioxide in the water. When the pressure is reduced, like passing through a shower valve the carbon dioxide is released and the minerals precipitate out forming deposits. At my daughter's condo in San Diego the pipe from the valve to the shower head had so much mineral in it that there was only about a 1/8" diameter opening left.

              After pipes are cleared of lime the process of deposition will continue to occur. The only long term solution is to remove the mineral from the water with a water softener.

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by bborr01 View Post
                There is nothing jammed in the valves. I have the valves out and have run a wire into the ports where the water goes from the valve area horizontally to the upright for the shower and the downspout.
                Well, you say the problem is in the valves., that there is good flow TO them, but not good flow FROM them. And that years ago something WAS plugging them, and there is no filter ahead of them. YOU get to explain how they have bad flow now, and had good flow before if nothing is plugging them..... We are all waiting to hear....

                Now, if perhaps you have not checked the pipe to the head, maybe THAT is plugged, as Illinoyance suggests. Although the deposits I have seen seem to be general in all the pipes, not just after valves.... Never have seen the "after valve" issue (not saying it does not happen).
                CNC machines only go through the motions.

                Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
                Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
                Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
                I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
                Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by bborr01 View Post
                  I'm going to flush it out with house water pressure after I acidize it but before I put the shower head back on.
                  The reason that I suggested back pressure first is to get out any large pieces that might not be able to get out at the top. Then when you flush it with house pressure you will get the pieces that might have been blocked going back down to the valve body. A plumber once suggested doing that . I turned and threaded a plug which replaced the aerator on the bathroom sink faucet. He turned off the cold water to the heater and opened the drain, then turned on the "plugged" faucet. The cold water went backwards and flushed out the crap that he'd knocked loose when he put in a new hot water valve. We got our hot water pressure back.

                  Dan
                  At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

                  Location: SF East Bay.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Problem solved.

                    Today I stopped and bought a couple of feet of 3/16 cable. I ran it from both sides of the valve to the center of the valve. No joy. No more volume of water than before.

                    Tried the same cable up the tub filler pipe. Got the cable to go past the valve body. A few small flakes of white stuff, probably calcium, came out when I turned the water on but still no improvement.

                    So......I put a 1/2" cap on the tub filler pipe after draining it and filled the valve body and piping from the shower pipe with toilet bowl cleaner. I figure it probably has a cleaner for iron and calcium. Went and had dinner and came back a couple of hours later. Took the cap off and nastiest black sludge came out of the pipe. When I turned the water valves on one at a time they spit a lot of crud out. Only now instead of the water coming out and hitting the tub about 2" out from the pipe it comes out about 18" out.

                    I am thinking about giving it one more treatment with CLR jut to be safe and make sure that it is all gone.

                    Also, tomorrow I'm heading out to pick up a water softener for the place and hopefully this won't happen again.

                    Thanks everyone for the help with this.

                    Brian
                    OPEN EYES, OPEN EARS, OPEN MIND

                    THINK HARDER

                    BETTER TO HAVE TOOLS YOU DON'T NEED THAN TO NEED TOOLS YOU DON'T HAVE

                    MY NAME IS BRIAN AND I AM A TOOLOHOLIC

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