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Tim Cooke
Tim Cooke,
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 2118
Experience:  Owner at Self-employed
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We have a Victorian two-storey house, converted to six

Customer Question

We have a Victorian two-storey house, converted to six rental flats, three on the GF, two on the first floor and one on the upper floor, with one flat on each floor being two-bedroomed .
Supplier is Severn Trent and we have a single water-main coming from the road into the front hallway, looks like 28 mm copper on entry, installed in 1990, and there are no water meters. We want to avoid having the driveway dug up.
So, six flats, each with bath, over-bath electric shower, and a single WC and a kitchen with a combi-boiler, except that GF 2-bed flat has an additional WC.
The three upper floors were suffering from low pressure, with combi's and electric showers cutting out. Plumber recommended two Salamander "boost" pumps, one for ground floor and the other for upper floors, to be fitted in gas-meter cupboard, just inside front door.
He installed the pump for the upper floors about six foot above floor. This solved their problem, but starves ground floor. He then decided it isn't feasible to install the second pump and disappears, refusing to return.
We had immediately had problems with pump noise and so I had suggested fitting flexi-hoses to isolate pump from distribution pipe-work and reduce transmission. He refused to do this as the pump is supported by the supply pipe. He suggested fitting some form of absorbent acoustic material around the boost pump, but he didn't do it.
So we have
1) slight starvation on the ground floor,
2) pump-noise complaints in the hallway, and from the ground floor and first floor flats, all near the pump,
3) an unused and unfitted Salamander "Boost" pump.
Where should we go from here?
Submitted: 10 days ago.
Category: Plumbing
Expert:  Virtual-mod replied 10 days ago.

I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you!
Expert:  Tim Cooke replied 10 days ago.

Good morning, my name is ***** ***** I’ll help you today.

Good morning, my name is ***** ***** I’ll help you today.

I think this is going to take some unpacking.

Firstly, if all that was installed is a pump, i.e. not an accumulator, then the installer probably breached the Water Regulations.  You can’t just pump a mains supply, for the reason that you’ve found - it causes negative pressure elsewhere, which can drag impurities into your supply and/or that of a neighbouring property.

The correct way to go about this is to measure the incoming static and dynamic water pressure, and the maximum flow rate.  If the supply doesn’t support the predicted usage of water in the whole building, you’ll need an accumulator.  These are inherently noisy, and best placed outside the property where they can be housed and sound-insulated.

Basically, you heed a competent plumber to do the planning and implementation.