How to Increase Water Pressure in Shower
Who doesn’t enjoy a hot steaming shower during the winter season?
Everyone does. It not only gives you that good feeling but also helps to reduce all the stresses and worries of your day-to-day life.
But what if one Monday morning you are taking a hot shower but wait!
Why the water is dribbling! Argh!
You are running late for office and here you can’t even rinse the shampoo off of your hair.
Terrible feeling. Right?
I get that — nothing ruins a shower as low water pressure does.
If this sounds familiar, you may be looking for ways to fix this terrible unexpected incident.
If you want that blasting jet water in your shower and get rid of low water pressure; look no further. Here we will discuss how to increase water pressure in shower and some more stuff you need to know if you are facing a low water pressure problem.
Reasons for Low Water Pressure
There could be many different reasons for getting low water pressure at the showerhead.
Primarily there are 3 reasons for low water pressure in a shower:
Let both the hot and the cold water run through at the same time and if you notice that both of the streams are flowing slowly, then the problem is most probably with the showerhead. Simply remove the showerhead and clean out the screen thoroughly both inside and outside, and this should often fix the low water pressure.
In case you notice that the cold water pressure is just fine but the hot water pressure is low, then the issue might be with the valve. There could be debris accumulated near the valve over a long period.
However, if you find that the above two reasons are not fixing the issue of low water pressure, check to see your house’s plumbing lines and pipes. There could be debris and mineral build-ups in the piping system that is causing clogs and hence, reducing water pressure.
There are some more reasons for low water pressure in shower and following are some of the most common reasons for low water pressure:
Hard water scale and mineral build-ups in plumbing lines. Hard water with a high concentration of minerals such as limestone, gypsum, etc. can cause home plumbing lines to have scale. The result is a pipeline clogging. Ultimately it will cause reduced water pressure and low-velocity water-flow from the showerhead.
Sediment and scale buildup inside the water heater. Usually, residents of suburban areas have their private water wells. And specifically, the ones that run heaters, face sediment build-ups, and scale problems. Heaters gradually corrode the inside of such water tank walls. As a result, the corroded materials deposits at the bottom of the tank. The lighter materials often get drawn into the plumbing line, reach the showerhead, creating clogging, and reducing water pressure.
Twisted and bent plumbing lines. If the plumbing pipe system of your home has frequent bents and sharp turns then the natural force of water gets reduced which ultimately yields low-pressure water at the showerhead and other faucets.
The shutoff valve is partly barred. Check to see whether the shutoff valve is partially closed for any reason such as debris and sediments. If so, this might cause restricted water flow. As a result, less water pressure throughout the house and at the endpoints.
Issues in the main supply line. If you live in city areas, most likely you get your water through municipal water supply bodies. If there is a huge demand for water in the locality during the summer season, or water gets frozen during winter due to the line being close to the surface or depleted water level or for leaks or any other reason, you may face low-pressure water in your entire house.
In this case, check with your neighbor if they too are having the same issue. Usually, this is beyond your control and contact with the municipal water supply company and notify them about the issue.
Bottleneck issue within the water supply line system. It is not uncommon for water lines to get narrower than the main supply lines and this can cause a reduction in pressure as the water gets bottlenecked when entering from a wider pipe into narrower one.
The pressure switch may not be correctly adjusted. Sometimes if the pressure switch of the well pump is not configured or adjusted for the recommended pressure settings (PSI settings), it may lead to low water pressure. Additionally, a defective or worn out old pressure switch or regulator may result in unexpected low water pressure as well.
Ways to Increase Water Pressure in the Shower
Test Your Home Water Pressure
It’s not always necessary to call in a professional to check to see if you have low shower pressure. There is a quick and easy way to confirm that you’re dealing with low water pressure. Things you need are readily available at home. All you need is a measuring jug (one or two liters capacity) and a timer clock. Let the shower on full blast and then use the timer to see how long it takes to fill 1 liter of water in the measuring jug. You’ll know that you’re dealing with low water pressure if it takes longer than six seconds.
Clean Your Shower Head
It might not be apparent that just cleaning the showerhead may just solve the low water pressure problem! Sometimes, we tend to overlook the simplest of solutions!
Over time, it’s common for the shower heads to accumulate mineral deposits and other filth and gets clogged. So, if you haven’t really thought about cleaning your showerhead ever, this might be the time and this might be the only thing you’ll need to do.
All you need to do is to remove the showerhead and soak it into a bowl of vinegar for about eight hours. It should remove all the scale and mineral deposits and debris out of the showerhead. If you still see some stain on it, you may use a brush or toothpick to clean it well. If that doesn’t work, you may want to replace it with a new showerhead.
Check to See if You Have a Water-saving Showerhead Installed
It may be that the area you live in, may have restrictions that force the homeowners to use water-saving showerheads. Usually in city areas where water demand is high. And in order to save water from getting wasted, the municipality may have put the restrictions for that locality. So, if you’ve just moved in and notice low water pressure in your home right off the bat, this might be the case.
Though it’s good for everyone in the residential area, if you’re really having issues with low water pressure, the solution might be to reset the flow restrictor of the low-flow showerhead.
Here’s how – use a pipe wrench to remove the showerhead. Once done, if you see a white plastic disk with a small hole in the middle of it, you have a water-saving showerhead. Simply, remove the flow restrictor, and it will increase the water pressure of the showerhead.
Check the Water Valves in and Near Home
If the above two solutions don’t solve your low water pressure problem, then you may have to check some valves in and around your house. Start with the main valve. The main valve controls the water flow volume to each of the fittings in your house.
Chances are that the main valve may partly be closed. As a result, your shower and other faucets receive low pressurized water. To fix, locate the main valve which is usually near the water pressure gauge and you’ll see two valves; turn both of them counterclockwise to fully open them.
Another valve to check is the shower valve. It can be found in the basement or the access panel behind the shower. Also, turn it open fully. Finally, if these two valves are ok, then check the curbside valve and turn that open fully as well.
Step-by-step Guide on How to Increase Water Pressure in Shower
Clean and/or Change the Showerhead
Remove the showerhead. Turn the showerhead counterclockwise by hand or use a wrench if it is too tight and then it should come off of the waterline.
Remove the screen filter that can be found on the inner side of the showerhead. If you still have the user manual of the showerhead, refer to it to learn about the location of the screen filter because the location of it may vary based on a different model of the showerhead.
However, usually, it is located between the junction of the showerhead and the water pipe. Carefully take a look inside the showerhead and you will see a rubber ring. Use a screwdriver or something sharp to get it off. Then you will see a mesh screen underneath it. Remove that as well.
Scrub the filter clean. Rinse the removed rubber ring and mesh filter in a sink filled with lukewarm water. Use an old toothbrush to scrub off any debris and deposits that may be on them. Handle these parts gently as they are quite delicate. Rinse them well after cleaning again.
Now re-install the ring and the filter back into the showerhead and attach the showerhead back with the waterline and then let the water flow in full force. If you see improvement, this is all you may need to do. Also just to be sure, check the waterline with a torch to see any debris on the opening, if so clean them off too.
Let the showerhead soak in vinegar for 8 hours. Grab a bowl and fill it with some vinegar and sink the showerhead in it and let it be submerged in it for 8 hours. This will help dissolve any scale and mineral build-ups.
Note: Vinegar is a good dissolver which is a weak acid but does the work well in this case. Do not attempt to use any other strong acid which may harm by corroding the showerhead.
Clean the shower nozzle too. Scrub off any scale buildup on the outside portion of the showerhead and the waterline. Clean the shower nozzle hole with an old toothbrush. Usually limestone, gypsum build-up may occur that prevents water flow. You may use a toothpick or any sharp object to pull off any hard scale. A good idea is to soak the nozzle in soft acid such as vinegar long enough so that the buildup can come off easily.
It is quite natural for buildups to occur especially if the water is hard with a high concentration of minerals. Therefore, it is a good practice to clean the nozzle and showerhead about every 3 months or so.
Replace the showerhead if the cleaning didn’t help. If cleaning the nozzle and showerhead didn’t improve the water pressure, then you may need to consider installing a new showerhead. Modern showerheads these days come with flow regulators that restrict wastage of water thus you don’t get the high-pressure water flow. In this case, you may consider removing the regulator. However, it is better to purchase and replace it with a new showerhead that does not have a flow regulator.
Troubleshoot the Water Line
Check if there are too many bends in the waterline attached to the showerhead. Most water lines leading to the showerhead are coil-like flexible pipes instead of solid hard pipes. If there are too many bends or sharp directional changes, the natural flow of water is reduced, and hence, you get low water pressure at the showerhead. If you can easily access the pipelines then you can straighten them up yourself but if the piping system is buried underneath the wall, you may need to hire a plumber to do the task.
Check for leakage in water pipes. Begin by thoroughly inspecting the piping system starting with the showerhead to the water utility line entering your home. Often time, you won’t be able to do it as a portion of the pipes may be through the wall. The best way to trace for leakage is to check for dripping water if it is visible or closely hear the sound of dripping water, check for water stains on the wall. Do all that is feasible for you. If there are leaks that you can trace of, call a plumber to get them fixed as soon as possible. While you wait for the plumber to arrive, you may put some epoxy putty to stop the leakages temporarily.
Check the main shut off valve and fully open it. The typical location of the main valve is either in your basement or outside the wall near the main entrance of the waterline to your home. It is quite easy to locate as the valve wheel or lever is colored with vibrant color. If it has a wheel, turn it clockwise to open the valve. If it has a lever, perpendicularly lower it to open the valve.
Turn off the pressure-reducing valve. Not all homes have this pressure-reducing valve. However, check to see if you have one. It can be located along the main plumbing line in your basement. Look for a valve that has a triangular shaped lid with a screw-on. Twist the screw by hand clockwise a couple of times and if it is too hard, you may use a plumber’s wrench to do the unwinding. Let it go all the way and then test the pressure of the water in the pressure meter. It should increase the water pressure and the pressure gauge should reflect the increase.
Turn the shut-off valve open for the water heater. Sometimes, it may occur that you are having a good stream of cold water coming out of the showerhead but the hot water isn’t. You should then know that you have got a problem with your water heater. Look for the heater in the basement (usual location). You should see a control valve similar to the main valve. Once you do locate it, turn it counterclockwise and then recheck the pressure gauge and test the shower’s water flow speed. If the valve is already open, then try flushing the water heater out. That should fix it. If not, you may need to call a plumber.
Flush the hot water tank. Over time, the hot water tank may have debris deposited from water, and also due to heat, the inside wall may corrode gradually and the materials and the debris may clog the pipes. You should generally flush the tank once every 3 years or so to keep it free from debris and in working order. To flush the tank, first, turn off the power to the heater. Let a garden hose run from it to drain out all the water to your yard. Also, turn on all the hot water fixtures until all the water gets out. This should make the condition better and if not, you may need to call the plumber.
How To Increase Your Shower Water Pressure Quick And Easy
One thing we hate the most is to experience low water pressure while taking a shower or even doing other household tasks that seem to be irritating with low water pressure. The above solutions should provide ways to increase water pressure in the shower.
However, there may be cases, where it is beyond your control such as if you live in a city area and the municipal provider may intentionally reduce the water pressure to meet water demand or to save water from overuse and wastage. In this case, you may notify them officially and if they fix it, all well and good.
If not, you may install a pressure booster to increase the water pressure. Pressure boosters are great at clearing out debris and provides jet fast water flow. If all fails, your only best option maybe is to turn off unnecessary water faucets and other utility machines such as washing machines while taking a shower. You may also choose to take a shower during off-peak time.