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Question DetailsAsked on 1/11/2017

My downstairs neighbor is complaining that when I take a bath she loses hot water and water pressure. Am I to blame

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1 Answer


That is a bit uncommon - usually it is the upstair units that have this problem, because the lower units are usually "first in line" on the piping - maybe the water heater is in the attic in your case.

Unless you did something to restrict the flow to her apartment, no. It is not unusual for two showers coming off the same pipes to have significant pressure drop when both are running - ditto with washing machine running at same time as a shower. And of course the famous toilet flushing dropping the pressure, and with toilets that do not have tempered (mixed hot and cold) water, the almost total loss of cold water for a few seconds when the toilet is flushed causing almost pure hot water to come out of the shower.

Here are a couple of links to previous questions on this issue IF this is a newly developed situation - i.e. the pressure used to be OK (with same tenants) but now it is a problem -

Basically, since this sounds like a condo or apartment, likely the building/condo manager is the one to talk to about this - or for her to talk to rather, though might be nice if you both did together so he/she feels you are concerned and engaged in the issue - also could answer manager's questions about exactly what condition causes this. Might be solvable by raising the water pressure in the building a bit if it is low (and is currently regulated below incoming line pressure), or in severe cases increasing the pipe diameter to the neighbor's apartment or putting in a booster pump on the plumbing. Generally would not be "your" responsibility even if you own your units unless yuou are the landlord too - would be her problem to get fixed, or something for the common building fund to remedy.

Another possible makeshift solution - one on her side, one on yours: if she does not take a shower or run bath or other high water demand when she hears yours running, rather waits 5-10 minutes till your tub is full. Or on your end - espeically if talking a bath versus shower (which consumes a lot less gallons per minute than a tub faucet running full flow) - only run your bath at about half to 3/4 flow rate to leave more hot water pressure for her, though granted that will mean another few minutes bath filling time so will have to run a bit hotter water temp to get the same water temp by the time you climb into it.

If she means she loses hot water - as in it is coming out only lukewarm, then yes your bath might be the "cause" of this in that if the water heater is sized small you might be using most of the hot waster, and would require a half hour or so typically to recover to full hot. But again this would not be your "fault" - would be a function of water heater size, and the recovery time a function of the heating capacity of it. For instance - even though a multi-unit building if it has a residential water heater put in to safe money, it would not normally have either the hot water retesntion capacity or the recoveary one would see in a normal commercial water heater forthat application. This is particularly noticeable in many (or most, in my experience) places that have put in on-demand water heating in place of storage tank water heaters.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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