Plumbing Question

15 Replies

Hello! So my fiance and I are tenants in a lovely older home. Only problem is our bathroom water pressure is horrid. We called the landlord about it and they told us there is nothing they can do about the water pressure. 

So my question  is: can we call a plumber and have them look around to find the problem without asking for the landlord's permission? We also have yellow rusty water and because it's an older house we're worried the pipes are all rusty and bad and just want things checked out by a third party professional. Then we want to take that information to the landlord and have repairs done. 

We're also fine paying for the plumber and repairs ourselves if the landlord deems it unnecessary to fix. We just want our water pressure good and the water clean for ourselves. 

If it helps we live in Wisconsin. 

Sure you can call and ask them too look. But even if the plumber says there is a problem, you may not be able to force the landlord to fix it nor pay for the fix yourself. Read the lease and see what improvements are allowed and which are required by the landlord, as well as the city/state rental and plumbing code. If you "fix" the plumbing at your own expense yet the landlord does not approve, and the lease says that you are not to make any changes, you could be held liable even though in your eyes you improved the property.

I'm sure the landlord will be delighted if you hire a plumber, at your expense, to re-plumb his property.

I wouldn't do it. Time to find a new place to live.

Are you on city or well water?

If it's well water, then it could be your pump and filtration system. That rust color could be iron and minerals. Home Depot sells bags of iron out salt for filtration. 

@Chelsey Martin - This is too much work you are undertaking. It's obvious that the landlord is only interested in collecting the rent from someone who is willing to keep him doing so at their expense.

It's time to look for a new apartment....there are lots of them out there with less issues and probably more attractive.

I am sure you can do lots of other things with your time and money.

Good luck with your search!

Before you move or take on the expense of fixing the plumbing yourself, talk to the landlord again.  Did you just tell them the water pressure is low?  If a tenant told me that I would likely say the same thing- I can't do anything about the water pressure.  Unless it is on a well, then maybe there is something that can be done.  There are areas on the country that have generally low water pressure (I have had prospective tenants run the water to check b/c of their past experiences) and acceptable water pressure can be subjective.

If my tenant told me the water was yellow and rusty, now that's a different story.

@Chelsey Martin

I had this situation in an older mill house that I owned a few years ago.  Back in the day plumbers used galvanized pipe for water supply lines.  Galvanized pipe corrodes from the inside out.  This means that from the outside it looks fine, but the inside of the pipe is like a clogged artery, and collects rust.  There's a good chance that is the problem.  Hope this helps.


first thing is to determine what material the water pipe are made of. As others mentioned if it has galvanized pipes they can be deteriorated and causing blockages. The best thing you can do easily is simply remove the filters on the sinks and shower heads. Then clean out the filter of the stuff that has collected. I would try that before you do anything else.

Furthermore, you can definitely have a plumbing company come out and pay them to give them a second opinion. If they do suggest certain repairs and replacement and even offer to pay for it. Bring that up to your landlord and they might work a deal with you to get the work done. Now remember that most likely the plumbers will find something to work on as older homes usually have something and they will want the work.

I agree with @Adam Drummond - sounds like galvanized pipe. If that is the case then the fix is to replace all galvanized water pipes, and that's not going to be cheap. Moving would be cheaper. 

I have a few questions for you @Chelsey Martin :

1) How is the water pressure at the kitchen sink?

2) In the bathroom do both the shower and the sink have low pressure? 

3) Does your shower faucet have one handle or two?


Originally posted by @Doug W. :

I have a few questions for you @Chelsey Martin:

1) How is the water pressure at the kitchen sink?

2) In the bathroom do both the shower and the sink have low pressure? 

3) Does your shower faucet have one handle or two?


 Water pressure in rest of house is fine,  and moving isn't an option because we signed a year lease and moved in about three weeks ago. Maybe less than that. 

Only the tub faucet and shower head have weak water pressure. It's also both hot and cold water that are weak at all times. 

Shower faucet has two handles. One for cold water and one for hot water. 

I just checked the sink in the bathroom,  and while the pressure feels fine to me it is lower than the rest of the house.  We're also not on well water.

@Chelsey Martin

 Could the shower head itself be clogged or just cheap?

My renters kept having low water-pressure issues mostly in their shower and it turns out it was the water heater. The dip tube inside the water heater was basically disintegrating and the tiny bits would clog up at the faucets. No problems since replacing it!

we replaced the shower head with the one we bought and used at our old apartment with no problems, and the tub has the issue as well so it can't be the shower head. 

Check and clean out your aerator screens on the taps.  I've seen them so clogged that no water comes out. I'd pressure-test the tub spout, like you uhave.  If no problem there, it is the aerator or fixtures themselves,  the supply hoses (rarely) or stop valves,   Try the low hanging fruit first!  Your LL obviously doesn't have much experience with this and sounds like a 'nothing I can do' automaton.   Hopefully you can get this cleared up and put the learning experience in your tool kit for future homeowner/landord @Chelsey Martin !

Yeah,  sounds like something for my fiance lol. I'd just break everything worse. I'll have him Google everything you said so we can understand it and then call a plumber and see what's up. 

I know the landlord Jimmy riged the bathroom and all the pipes are tiny and run through the closet so I thought the problem could be that. 

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