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Low Water Pressure in the Shower: Quick Fixes to Get the Pressure Up
You may think sewer back-ups and clogged toilets are the most serious plumbing problems homeowners face, but sometimes there’s something else lurking in the pipes. It’s what happens when you expect a full-force shower and you get a trickle.
Low water pressure may seem like a minor thing but ignoring it means you could experience issues more serious than slow-running showers.
In this post, we talk about 7 possible causes of low water pressure in the shower and 7 quick fixes. Read our short guide before calling a plumber. If you’re a DIY kind of homeowner, you can fix most of these issues without help.
1. Soak That Clogged Showerhead
Unless your poor water pressure only happens when you turn on the hot water tap, you should start at the showerhead.
If you have hard water, you may notice a buildup of mineral deposits on the showerhead. Deposits can accumulate to the point where they interfere with water pressure.
If you can unscrew the showerhead, remove it and soak in a bowl of vinegar. Let it soak for 8 hours or overnight.
You can also use a plastic bag with vinegar. Leave the showerhead attached and submerge it in the bag. Attach the bag to the showerhead with a rubber hand and let soak for several hours.
Soaking should dissolve most of the mineral deposits. Use an old toothbrush to scrub off any remaining crud.
2. Get Rid of the Flow Regulator
If you’ve updated your showerhead in the last several years, you likely have one with a flow regulator.
Flow regulators work great to conserve water. If the homes in your area normally have low water pressure, a regulator can make things worse. You’ll barely get enough to rinse off the soap.
It’s not illegal to remove a flow regulator. First, find out if you have one by removing the showerhead from the wall. You’re looking for a plastic disk with a hole in the middle.
You may need to pull out the rubber gasket and mesh filter screen. Once you locate the flow regulator, pull it out with tweezers. Put the gasket and filter screen back and put the showerhead back.
If you’re hesitant to remove the flow regulator, try drilling a wider opening in it to allow more water flow.
3. Upgrade Your Showerhead
Another simple fix is a new showerhead. Whether you bought a home with low-flow showerheads or installed one by mistake, you’re not stuck with it.
When you shop for a new showerhead, go for one designed for low water pressure situations. You can find showerheads with fewer nozzles that give a great massage and consistent flow rate.
While you’re thinking about upgrading, look for one with self-cleaning nozzles. You’ll deal with less corrosion and hard water deposits.
4. Check for Kinks
Do you have flexible lines or stiff pipes running from the valve to the showerhead? If you’re not sure, remove the showerhead and faucet and take a look.
Sometimes the line gets twisted or kinked. One reason this happens is that someone installed the wrong size line. Once you see the line, pull it forward and straighten out the kinds.
Your water heater may also have flexible lines. Check those as well and do the same with any kinks you find.
5. Look for Leaks
Low water pressure and plumbing leaks go together. If you discover low water pressure when you shower, investigate for a leaky pipe.
The easiest way to find a leak is to find where your water utility line comes into the house. Once you locate it, look for active drips, puddles, or old water stains.
If you have an unfinished basement or one where you can see exposed plumbing, inspect the pipes for signs of leaking and/or damage.
Leaky pipes are better left to a qualified plumber and the sooner you can get one out for repairs, the better.
6. Hot Water Pressure Problems
Earlier in this post, we mentioned low water pressure only when you run the hot water. When that happens it’s often a problem with your water heater.
When we talk about problems with water heaters, at least when troubleshooting low water pressure, we usually find a problem with sediment buildup. Flushing your water heater tank on a routine basis helps reduce the amount of sediment in the tank.
If you only notice low water pressure when you turn on the hot water tap, check the water heater. When you’re comfortable, do a flush and see if water temperature stays constant. If not, a plumber can get it done quickly and also help you figure out if the water heater is truly the culprit.
7.A Faulty Water Pressure Regulator Valve
Low water pressure isn’t always limited to the shower. If you’ve detected low pressure at every faucet, you may have a water pressure regulator valve issue.
This valve brings water pressure down to a safe level at the water main. It’s a safety measure designed to protect your home from damages caused by too much water pressure.
Water pressure regulators can go bad and one symptom of a faulty valve is lower than normal water pressure.
Call a plumbing professional for this one as it’s not usually a DIY repair.
If you don’t have a pressure regulator valve, look at the shut-off valve on the water main. Sometimes it’s not open all the way and needs an adjustment.
Need Help Troubleshooting Low Water Pressure?
We’ve identified 7 possible reasons for low water pressure when you take a shower. You can troubleshoot and fix most of them without the help of a plumber.
For water heater problems or valve adjustments and repairs, we suggest calling an experienced plumbing technician. A plumber can get to the bottom of major problems and help prevent a plumbing catastrophe.
If you need help with low water pressure or have another plumbing question, contact us today. We’re always happy to take care of customers in the Richmond area and provide free quotes.
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