TIPS TO FIX LOW WATER PRESSURE IN THE SHOWER
AUG 10, 2017
If you have low water pressure in the shower, you know all too well the disappointment in having to take a shower with water that merely trickles. Instead of the 20 minutes of relaxation you were envisioning, you end up frantically struggling to get the shampoo rinsed out of your hair because the water just dribbles out
Low water pressure can be a nuisance, and the causes can range from cheap, simple fixes to more serious problems with your plumbing. In this article, we will give you some tips to identify the source of your water pressure issue.
LOW WATER PRESSURE
The water system in your home is probably designed to function under a pressure of 40 – 70 psi. If the water pressure exceeds 100 psi, the excess force can cause damage to your plumbing equipment — which is why many homes have pressure regulators to keep the water pressure in an acceptable range. But over time, various issues, including hard water, can lead to water pressure that is too low.
Issues of water flow (like leaks and clogs) can create issues with water pressure and, depending on their source, can range dramatically in terms of severity and the intervention needed to address them.
RULE OUT BIGGER ISSUES
The first step to fix low water pressure is to identify the source of the issue. Is the low water pressure isolated to a single fixture like the shower? Or are you noticing low water pressure throughout your whole house? Can you ask a neighbor if they have low water pressure too? The issue may be in your whole neighborhood and not just your house. If you learn that the low water pressure is throughout your neighborhood, you may want to consult with a reputable plumber to discuss the process of installing a water pressure booster in your house. It could be that the water supply to the whole neighborhood is insufficient or that there are multiple leaks in the neighborhood (polybutylene plumbing commonly used in neighborhood construction in the late 80s can be a huge giveaway). These work to increase the water pressure from the main line to the plumbing fixtures throughout your house.
If the water pressure is just at your house but not isolated to a single fixture, check to make sure that your main shut off valve is open all of the way. If it is and you are still seeing water pressure issues throughout the house, you will want to call a professional to check for clogs or leaks in your system. Alternatively, a previous owner may have installed a water pressure reducer valve, which you will also want a plumber to address by adjusting the setting.
Also, low water pressure throughout the house can be an indicator of a major leak or blockage. Regardless, if you are dealing with low water pressure throughout the house, you will need to contact a plumber to address the issue.
The good news if you are experiencing low water pressure in the shower or another isolated fixture, there are some steps you can take to address the issue yourself before dialing up a professional.
LOW WATER PRESSURE IN THE SHOWER
Luckily, low water pressure shower repair tips are much simpler and, barring any serious issues, most of them can be done successfully completely by yourself at home. If you are dealing with low water pressure in the shower, the first thing to do is to check the shower head for any clogged components. Take it apart and, if needed, clean any components with a 50/50 water and vinegar mix to break down mineral deposits. If the mineral deposits are too severe and the shower head just does not seem like it is going to come clean, consider buying a replacement. They are relatively inexpensive and can be picked up at your favorite hardware or home improvement store.
When picking out a replacement shower head, keep in mind that low-flow shower heads are becoming increasingly common. Aerator low-flower showerheads are designed to reduce water consumption for efficiency’s sake while still giving the illusion of lots of water pressure.
Does your shower have a rotating handle that controls both temperature and volume? Most contemporary homes do. Over time, this component can malfunction and be the culprit behind your low water pressure in the shower. If it is a fairly new handle, for a quick DIY fix, try removing it and wrapping plumbers tape around the stem. If this does not do the trick, it may also be that you need to replace the cartridge. When it comes to matters of the shower handle, many homeowners feel intimidated. If you are comfortable making the fix, that is great! If not, it is completely understandable. Give us a call to schedule a same day appointment. We’ll be happy to make the repair for you.
PLUMBING TOO SMALL FOR BRANCH
If you have consistently noticed low water pressure in the shower since moving in or finishing a bathroom remodel, it could be that the plumbing installed is simply too small — for example, whoever installed the shower may have used a quarter-inch pipe when a half-inch pipe would have been the better choice.
If you suspect plumbing that is too small for the branch, or if you have tried to address the issues outlined in the paragraphs above to no avail, you will need to get a plumber to your house. Lines may need to be snaked or there may be another underlying issue that is not easily diagnosed.
If you have been coping with low water pressure in the shower and are ready to solve the problem once and for all, call us today. Let us help you make your showers relaxing again!