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Offering a few tips to help solve a water pressure problem

May 20, 2011

Question: Bob, We live in another area but still read and enjoy your columns because of a subscription gift. I remember your statement about JUST real estate questions, however, I can't find any answers for my problem - help us?

Our house is higher than the houses in the surrounding area. The municipal water system that we are connected to does not seem to deliver adequate pressure for our elevation. Is there a device that can boost our water pressure?

- Tim & Susan M.

Answer: Tim, yes I did make that statement but your "help us" did it. After several calls, friends' and professionals' suggestions, I think I have your solution. You need a booster pump, a pressure tank and a pressure switch. There are various size pumps, but because water pressure for residences is usually between 30 and 50 psi (pounds per square inch ) you can get a pump that that boosts the pressure 25 psi above street pressure.

The pump should be connected to the inlet water pipe and discharge into the pressure tank. The tank's outlet should be connected to the house water distribution pipe. The pressure tank can be quite small and will function only to maintain the pressure. The pump is activated whenever water is drawn.

Depending on your requirements, you could get a larger tank with more storage capacity. The water will be stored under pressure until it is needed. As water is drawn from the system, the pressure in the tank will decrease. Upon reaching a preset minimum pressure, the switch will activate the pump. ITT Bell & Gossett manufactures the type of centrifugal pump that you need. Write the company at 8200 N. Austin Ave., Morton Grove, Ill 60053; or call (800) 542-6655. Ask for a distributor in your area or catalog. The distributor should be able to provide you with the name of a plumbing supply house in your area that can sell you the parts.

Sounds like I know a lot about pumps and pressure. Let me assure it is because I take very good notes, and want to give good information. I will probably not remember or care to remember) much of this at a later date.

Question: Bob I have been reading your column for the past 10 years and it is very informative. Finally I get to use your knowledge. Due to a job transfer, in March we sold our home and bought a new one in a town in which we were totally unfamiliar.

My husband's employer recommended a local Realtor, so we presumed she would do a great job finding us a suitable home to buy. She showed us at least 25 homes. We finally bought one we liked.

But in September we were totally surprised to find a construction crew cutting down the beautiful street trees. When we asked what was happening, the foreman said, "Didn't you know? This street is being widened to four lanes."

Unknown to us, the city had long planned to widen the street. But our Realtor failed to warn us. I fear our house will lose value as a result of the heavy traffic. Shouldn't she have told us?

- Beth & Tom S.

Answer: Beth, thanks for the confidence and following. Yes, Realtors hold themselves out to be professionals. They have a fiduciary duty to their clients to disclose all material facts.

Your buyer's agent should have known about the long-planned street widening and she should have informed you. Failure to do so was clearly a breach of her fiduciary duty of full disclosure of material facts affecting the market value of the home you planned to buy.

If you can prove damages, such as lost property value, due to the agent's failure to warn you about the construction, you may have grounds for a law suit against your Realtor. Please consult a local real estate attorney to discuss your alternatives.


Have a real estate question? Write, call, fax or e-mail:

Bob Jeffries, Realtor,

Century 21 Birchwood Realty, Inc.

4040 Del Prado Blvd., Cape Coral, FL

239-549-5724 Office

239-542-7760 Fax



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