Robert Lamoureux | Not enough cold water — or spin

Robert Lamoureux
Robert Lamoureux
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Question No. 1 


What would the reason be for the cold water supply in both my master bathroom and kitchen being at nearly zero, but the guest bathroom is just fine? Any ideas? 

We live in a condo, and I’ve checked with my neighbors to see if they know if anything has been done by management, and none of us have gotten movement on this troubleshooting. 

What can I do on my own? 

— Brad L. 

Answer No. 1 


It sounds to me like you have an isolation valve issue. Go down into your parking area, and walk the area to where you are below your fixtures. You should see what we call isolation valves located there, on the pipes. 

These valves allow certain parts of the building, called stacks, to be shut down independently instead of shutting down the whole building. I’m guessing someone has shut down your stack for whatever reason, and this needs to be turned back on. 

I would recommend a call to your management company to inform them if you find it in the “off” position, because valving this back up incorrectly could cause serious plumbing problems. 

You definitely want the building’s plumber to exercise this valve, as they’ll be most familiar with the building’s plumbing. This needs to be done properly or lines could explode.

— Robert

Question No. 2 

Good Morning Robert, 

It’s me again. Your last answer to my skimmer problem, hopefully did solve my leakage problem. Now I have had a problem with the draining of my washing machine, when in the spin mode. 

The clothes are still wet after the spin cycle. I have to initiate a second spin and hold the hose over a 5-gallon bucket to finish draining, and a lot of water drains out. 

I had an appliance technician come out and he tested it, and said the pump works fine, as well as there is no sign of a leak from the hose. He feels that the problem lies within the drainage pipe, located in the garage wall behind the washer, where the hose from the washer empties into. 

I would like to get your opinion before I go to another expense of hiring a plumber. 

Thank you. 

— Gerrie 

Answer No. 2 


Thank you for being such a loyal Signal reader. 

Sounds to me like it’s the machine not cycling correctly. If it were the line, there would be water on your floor indicating a backup, but would not affect the machine. I would get a second opinion.

If you find that the first company was wrong, you may want to talk to them about refunding the service call. 

— Robert

Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].

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