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Plumbing in the Home/pipes not putting out water


have a spare bathroom in this old house...for 10 yrs I have never used the shower or tub in this bathroom; I didn't realize I needed to keep turning on water every so, none will come thru...what do I do??

Hi MJ,
There are several things that could cause this;

1. The stem washers may have frozen to the seats inside the valve and opening the valve does nothing but rip the washer loose from the bottom of the stem. In order to check this, you will need a plumber to shut the water off to the house and remove the stems from the tub shower valve. If this is the case, replacing the stem washers and cleaning up the valve seats should fix it.

2. If your piping system is the older, original galvanized steel pipe, rust and hard water scale could be just blocking these pipes. If that is the case, the only correction is to replace the piping as it has exceeded its useful life.

3. Debris or hard water scale from the piping system may have broken loose and plugged it the interior passages of the tub/shower valve. This MIGHT be correctable by having a plumber attempt to clear out the valve. This is usually not very workable but sometimes it works. Ultimately, replacing the valve is the only solution. Hopefully, you have access to the backside of the valve through a sheet rock or plaster wall rather than having to tear out tile to do this.

Good Luck,

Plumbing in the Home

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Dana Bostick


Pretty much any residential plumbing questions. For "item specific" details such as a specific model of fixture, I will need to research and there may not be any useful information available. Note: I live and work in Southern California. We do not, as a rule, use hot water or steam heating systems, oil fired boilers or private water wells so my knowledge in those areas is pretty limited. There are others here on AllExerts that can probably answer those questions better.


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