If two taps are opened at the same time on the main floor, or if one is opened on the main floor and one on the lower floor, the water pressure seems to be insufficient for both taps. The house is a bungalow with finished basement.

I was told that one way to fix that is to install a water pressure booster. I am a little bit unclear on how this will affect my plumbing. I am actually not sure if the above is a volume issue or a pressure issue (I know they are correlated).

Since I have ½" pipes (copper) and the city connects the house with ½" main pipe, I guess it could be both.

So here are my two related questions:

  • Does the booster put additional strain on my plumbing? Can I expect weaker connections to crack and leak?
  • What is the way to calculate the correct size of the tank for this booster?
  • Where is this? I have never heard of using a 1/2" line to go from the water meter to the house, but my experience is limited. Where I live the base water meter is a 5/8" meter (what we have) but our lines are 3/4" (or larger) copper from the meter to the edge of the house where there is some valving. This valving is now inoperable and if I want to shut off the water to the house I use the city cut-off valve on the city side of the water meter. Inside the house the water lines under the slab are all 3/4" soft copper with 1/2" hard copper in the walls going to all inside deliver points. – Jim Stewart Apr 9 '18 at 14:05
  • Ontario Canada :-), House built during the 60s – MiniMe Apr 9 '18 at 14:11
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    no the ceiling is finished...that is my problem. The interesting part is that the city will upgrade the plumbing soon so I will have 3/4" coming to my house but it is useless because my plumbing is 1/2" – MiniMe Apr 9 '18 at 14:28
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    I think the city's upgrade to 3/4" will help, but how much you will have to see when it's done. – Jim Stewart Apr 9 '18 at 20:01
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    I’m voting to close this question because it's been abandoned. – FreeMan Dec 23 '20 at 14:46

You indicated you're on city water. Even assuming it's only a 1/2" supply line into the house your pressure on entry almost certainly is over 100 psi. Most water companies deliver at 125 to 150 psi. Recommended pressure in homes is 65 to 70 psi. You almost certainly have a pressure regulator on your system. I think it's required on all city supplied water systems. If it's too old or corroded to adjust you may have to replace it. You can also buy a pressure gauge at your local home center and measure the actual pressure at a spigot so you'll know what it is.
Also, your water company should be able to tell you what the approximate curb pressure is. It does vary depending on your distance from the water company.

  • I have a shutoff valve – MiniMe Mar 26 '20 at 21:38
  • My city supply is 50psi – Matthew Aug 24 '20 at 15:59
  • There's always the exception. 50 psi pressure at the curb isn't unheard of but in my experience, for city supplied water, it's lower than average. Again, the further you are from the water supplier pressure has a tendency to drop. – HoneyDo Aug 24 '20 at 16:14

After the city upgrades the incoming water line to 3/4" or larger, I would at least run the 3/4" as far as I could or to the hot water tank if possible. Any tees would be 3/4" if that line is also feeding more than 1 faucet. I would replace as much of the 1/2" as I could if that line is feeding more than 1 faucet. Any amount of the 1/2" you could replace will help, even if you can't replace it all. If you can, a few pictures or drawings would help.

  • drawing for plumbing is something that I would really love to be able to do...because then I know where to open the ceiling in the basement to upgrade the pipes... However none of the comments or answers to my initial question explains why it is not a good idea to use a pressure booster. – MiniMe Apr 9 '18 at 16:17
  • People are avoiding describing details on how to install a pressure booster because they think that there must be better way. What is the city water pressure? Do you have a pressure regulator to drop very high city pressure (100 to 120 psi) to 75 or 50 psi? If so, these are adjustable and you could increase the pressure at that point. – Jim Stewart Apr 9 '18 at 20:05
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    It would be okay to install a booster to raise the pressure to no more than 100 psig. That said, a pressure booster will not increase the amount of available water quantity above just what volume you now have. The only way a pressure booster would help is if you installed a holding tank, similar to that of a well tank, and used the booster to take water from that supply tank to the piping at a pressure in excess of the incoming street pressure. If your booster pressure was above the street pressure you would get a little better flow as long as the new tank was able to supply water. – d.george Apr 9 '18 at 21:10
  • @JimStewart No I don't have any...or I don't know about it. All I have in my house is a small opening in the wall where I can see a meter and a tap (shut off valve?) – MiniMe Apr 10 '18 at 0:01
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    If you have a garden or washing machine spigot you can attach a pressure guage there. – Eric Simpson May 13 '19 at 11:44

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