Is there a standard for minimum residential water volume?

Hopefully you all can point me in the right direction…

You know how there are laws governing the amount of heat that landlords must provide to rental apartments, assuming that the landlord controls the heat? (At least around here, there are news stories every winter about slumlords who fail to provide the minimum.)

Are there similar laws or guidelines governing how much water must be provided?

I recently moved into a new apartment, and the water thing is a BIG problem. I’ve mentioned it to my super and my landlord. My otherwise super super (a licensed plumber) says there’s nothing that can really be done about it, at least in the short term. I mentioned it to my landlord, who is looking into it.

But I’m not sure they comprehend how bad it is sometimes! The water volume varies. It’s never good, and when it’s bad, it’s really really bad. Today I noticed that the kitchen sink was barely running, so I decided to measure the water flow, so that I can quantify the problem…

I measured at 1:45 pm today, a Monday. The laundry room (right next to my apt.) was not being used.

This is how long it took to fill a one quart container:

Kitchen sink: 63 seconds. :eek:
Tub faucet: 14 seconds
Bathroom faucet: 14 seconds.
Bathroom faucet after toilet flush: 31 seconds.

Does anybody know what the range of acceptable water volume in a residence even is?

Instead of just complaining again to my landlord, I’d like to be able to say something like “The minimum allowable water volume for new construction is X, and the minimum for older buildings like mine is Y. Mine is Z.”

Well, I just ran into the super, who took a look at my kitchen sink, and diagnosed it with “crap in the aerator.” :smack: He cleaned it out, and it’s a lot better.

But I’d still love to know the answer to this.

I bought a very old home in Goffstown, NH once many years ago and the flow had similar problems. I repiped the whole house with new copper and the problem was gone! Perhaps your pipes, like mine, are blocked with calcium from many years of use. My house was built in the late 1800’s. How old is your home and plumbing?

Your problem is not with water volume; it’s with the water pressure. That’s a function of a lot of things such as the pressure coming into the apartment building, the condition of the pipes, the usage of other tenants, size of water heaters, etc. I’m not sure if I ever saw any regulations on minimum water pressure. The landlord has to make sure that you have hot and cold water, but I’m not sure if there are hard rules on how fast you get the water. Seems that there should be a point of unreasonably low pressure, but I’ve never heard of it. I’ve been both a landlord and when a pressure problem came up, it could always be traced to a fixable problem.

Sounds like a volume (or rather a rate) issue to me. Even if it’s just dribbling out of the faucet, could it not still be at 60psi? I mean if you put a pressure gauge on the faucet, let the pressure build up behind it (as the pipes fill up after they get past a clog) it would still read the same on both sides of the clog, right? Or am I missing something?

Most states (Washington for example at WAC 246-290-420) stipulate a minimum water pressure of 20 psi at point of connection. The primary reason for this is for backflow prevention. I do recall that EPA requires a water utility to issue a boil water directive if the water pressure falls below 20 psi.

I think that pressure and rate are connected, though I’m not sure how to define that relationship. ‘Water volume’ implied something different to me, suggesting that it was about the total quantity of water provided in an extended period… forty liters a day or something like that.

But it doesn’t seem to make sense to me that a dribble of water would be at much pressure at all… because there’s nothing for just a dribble of water to ‘press’ against coming out of the tap. (A full blast of water is pressing against itself, filling up the entire pipe.)

Thanks for the answers so far.

I don’t know when this building was built, but my slightly educated guess is 1920s.

I’m not sure my earlier post did a very good job replying to your original question.

As you saw with the partially blocked aerator, the volume (or more accurately the flow rate measured in gallons per minute or liters/second, etc) through a fixture like a faucet will be directly proportional to the pressure at the inlet to the fixture. There is a relationship between flow rate and pressure and it known as the Bernoulli Equation (developed by Daniel Bernoulli whose father Johann developed integral and exponential calculus and whose uncle Jakob developed calculus of variation and also his name is used to describe a Bernoulli Distribution). I would be happy to delve into the details of the Bernoulli Equation but will spare you the gory details at this time.

The crap is probably flaking off the inside off the 80 year old pipes. It could be the 80 year old pipes that enter your building and are the responsibility of the owner to replace. Or it could be the pipes buried in the street which are the responsibility of the water district.

Your super should be able to borrow a pressure gauge and find out what the water pressure entering the building is. Let’s assume the gauge reads 60 psi. Now he has someone open a single faucet, it shouldn’t hardly budge. If it drops way, way down the pipes are plugged.

Think of an 80 year old pipe with an original inside diameter of 1 1/2 or 2 inches. Now picture the inside of the pipe being restricted to the diameter of a pipe cleaner. That could be the problem.

No idea if there are standards that you can cite to demand improvements. Check your local office that requlates building codes.