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Are restrictors in shower heads bad for instant hws

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  1. #1
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    Default Are restrictors in shower heads bad for instant hws

    My Neighbour fitted a new shower head when the old one died, it even came with a small spool of thread tape. Guy at the plumbing store said it might need to have the restrictor taken out if it didn't work properly with his 7-8 yr old instant hws. It was a bit of a pia to get used to but after 3 or 4 days he and wife had it down pat. A few months later the shower taps start dripping so wife calls a plumber, "while you are at it take out the restrictor" she asks. "I would like more flow".
    Job done and the hot water is not so hot any more, plumber blames husband says he wrecked the hws by fitting a shower head with a restrictor, "too much back pressure wrecked the diaphram" says plumber. Wife is angry says husband is an idiot.
    Husband argues how can it be, isn't a tap a restrictor, you turn it, it restricts the water to the point of stopping flow altogether, how can a restricted shower head do this but a partially turned on tap not do this, plumber explains you turn on the tap, get full flow and bang water hits the restrictor and wrecks the diaphragm/regulator, simple.
    Question is the plumber right ? logic tells me to agree with the husband. If the plumber is right then every person in OZ who turns on the hot tap and then uses it to slow down the flow a bit (me included) is wrecking the hws. My thoughts are that maybe the neighbour's hws needs servicing and with the restrictor taken out the increased flow through the hws has given the water less time to heat up and so the hot aint so hot any more. Before he left the plumber handed over a quote for new hws because the old one was wrecked and not worth fixing. Is the plumber right ? or is he just looking for that extra job this month.

  2. #2
    Mr Sexy Beast dazzler's Avatar
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    A rude plumber.........now thats a first

    There normally such happy souls
    I just love sheepies!

  3. #3
    Resigned SilentButDeadly's Avatar
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    I'd be asking a different plumber.....but he may still be right in that the regulator in the HWS may have had its day...but then it is 7 years old. As for the flow restrictor being the cause....methinks plumber is fielding as truth what is actually an assumption in the absence of knowledge - not an uncommon human trait.
    Joined RF in 2006...Resigned in 2020.

  4. #4
    Diamond Member Terrian's Avatar
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    IMO plumber is not right, he was looking for a sales pitch to supply & install a new HWS.

    A few months ago our HWS (12 year old) was playing up, one plumber quote $750 to repair, but added for an extra few hundred we could get a new HWS, I called a 2nd plumber, he repaired it for less than $200

  5. #5
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    need more details. what is your "instant HWS?" make/model.
    got any pics of the plumbing to/from it, showing pipe sizing?

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the replies. I don't know the make and model but I do know that its an older house (1920's) the hws is in the laundry which is an outhouse type of laundry 2-3meters away from the house, 1/2 inch copper pipe to the hws then to the house.
    It transpires that the same plumber was called when the pilot kept going out ,he cleaned it but was unable to affect a cure. He blamed the open laundry door, the problem still persisted after a barrel bolt was fitted to the door to keep it closed. Neighbour found a gas fitter that fixed it by cleaning the pilot with "the right tool", Seems the dirty pilot had a very low flame which caused explosive ignition blowing out the pilot light.

  7. #7
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    sounds like its an old instant HWS if it has a pilot light. newer models have elec coil ignition system, therefore no pilot and no wasted gas on keeping a pilot lit.

    it may be worthwhile for you to upgrade the instant HWS anyway, e.g. Rennai Infinity 28 here, its fantastic.

    does require a large gas pipe to the unit (1" gas line from memory), which could be additional $$ for you if you do not, but it would certainly probably address the root cause of your original problem and perhaps save you some operating $ on gas bills too.

    the '28' in its name refers to maximum flow - 28L/minute. we use it with a large shower head thats still a water saving one (not the lowest flow but not the highest either), from memory its 8L or 8.5L/minute, the HWS model above has no issue running that heating water from ambient temp to the setpoint of 43degC for a nice toasty shower.


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