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Question DetailsAsked on 9/21/2017

No pressure in the shower. My apartment doesn’t use water directly from the street, instead, I have a 1000L tank.

inside the apartment, so it is not on the roof, it is on a base 2 meters high (the apartment has 3m ceiling and the tank is 1m high, so the base can’t be higher than 2m). I have an automatic circulating pump installed in the pipe that comes out from the bottom of the tank, this pump gets turned on with 1.5LPM flow, this one;

It works fine in general but not with the shower, it seems that since the head shower is around 2 meters high too, the flow of water is lower than 1.5LPM when the tank is half full.
I was thinking about:
Adding next to the pump a Pre-Pressurized Accumulator Tank, I know they are not meant for this, but I thought that when I open the shower, it will come out water from the Pre-Pressurized Tank and once this one is getting empty the automatic pump should start in order to fill the tank again, and that is it, my objective is to automatically turn on the pump opening the shower.
Using a Square Water Pressure Switch.

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Voted Best Answer

I won't ask WHY it is not hooked into household plumbing - I hate to say it but this sounds like a candidate for the Rube Goldberg award unless you are hauling water to the tank because of no public water connection or well possibility. Though usually such a tank would be in the attic or on roof or (in non-freezing areas) up a hill to provide at least some gravity supply pressure.

Pressurized tank method, which is going to be EXPENSIVE both for a pressure pump and pressure tank big enough to hold the usual 12-30 gallons for a shower and handle the pressure, is a method which would almost never be considered for this type of use. Plus, since you already have a storage tank, just going with a booster pump without the pressurized tank is cheaper and simpler. Unless you had a high-pressure pump able to replenish the pressure tank from the reservoir tank during shower use, the pressure tank would have to initially hold all the water needed for a shower - and be connected ONLY to the shower so it does not get drained by other uses. And of course, this does not even address how you get hot water to the shower - or is this camping-out cold water only ?

The pump you have is clearly the problem - is rated at a maximum of 7 something psi (and that would be at zero flow - just lifting it that high but no flow) - and you are automatically losing a couple of psi with the roughly 1 meter lift to the shower head, not to mention friction in the pipe (probably a fraction of a psi loss), and in the shower head - which by itself (being designed most likely for 30+ psi supply pressure) would be taking up basically everything else it can provide unless the shower outlet is just a wide open pipe without a shower head. You could try unscrewing the shower head and see how much water comes out of the pipe (which would be the best you could expect if tank were full). There are gravity-feed (which is essentially the pressure you are getting - equal to just a meter or so of total head including the existing pump) shower heads which are basically just water spreaders rather than pressure showerheads, but which would provide NO pressure in the water which hits you - would just be a gravity set of dribbles coming down, so if you want/like pressurzied water hitting yuour skin that wouldnot work for you. Are designed for hanging bag-type camp shower systems. Available online and probably at hunting/fishing/camping stores and REI and such - that might be your simplest solution for maybe $50 or so if the wide-open no shower head pipe turns out enough wter flow to keep you happy.

You can google search phrases like this - gravity flow camp shower head - or - offgrid shower ideas - for articles and Youtubes on off-grid and gravity feed solar showers.

A normal shower head needs minimum about 30-40 psi to work right and usually works best at 45-50 psi or more unless specifically designed for low pressure supply. And the 1.5 lpm number - normal limited flow shower (2.5 gpm) is about 10 lpm - so at best you would be getting a trickle of water at 1/5 lpm, or a VERY light mist even if shower head were designed for low pressure.

What you need, if you keep the tank, is not a circulating pump (which is designed for low-pressure circulation like in hydronic heating systems), but a booster pump rated at about 30 psi minimum and about 45-60 psi max depending on how old your pipes are (don't want to overpressure old pipes). One designed for household low pressure boosting, like for well systems with low pressure or low pressure gravity-feed supply tank household supply systems. And rated at probably about 4 gpm or more at that pressure. Exact pump sizing would have to depend on your piping sizes, opening size from tank, exact dimensions, etc - pump selection charts for different models, or a plumbing shop, should be able to help with that. Tyhpically in the $300-400 range for the pump alone - which usually includes pressure switch to regulate the one/off operation when shower/faucets are turned on and off.

Of course, if hooked up to more than the shower (and even with that) your waster usage rate would go way up - though you could put in water pressure regulator tbranch to the shower only so the whole apartment piping is not pressurized to that higher pressure.

Is also going to be about 1/2 HP or so probably - so electrical demand on the circuit may come into issue, because probably will have about 10A initial demand on startup and about 5 amps or so running. Also, HAS to have a GFCI breaker on it and be located at least 6 feet from the shower if exposed to possible splash/spray. And legally has to be hard-wired, not just plugged into an outlet. Lot of possible code violations here.

One other thing - assuming this is in the US - the existing arrangement would be illegal in almost all places in the US in a rental apartment - and unless in a remote cabin or such would probably be a fatal red flag when it comes to sell. Generally, rental properties are required to be connected to a full supply water system with at least around 1.5 gpm or more sustained demand capacity and around 15-20 gpm peak capacity typically, and around 100-150 gpm per occupant, though soem of these reuirements are locally waived in some water shortage desert or remote areas where trucking in water is necessary.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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