Low Water Pressure in Your Shower?What's Causing It and How To Fix It
It’s 5:30 in the morning, your eyes are barely open. You go turn on the shower to wake yourself and start your day. But there just isn’t enough water pressure. It’s becoming harder and harder to enjoy your morning shower. You ask yourself, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
Why Is The Water Pressure Low In My Shower?
Shower Head Flow Restrictor
In 1978 the US passed a piece of legislation call The National Energy Act. One of the outcomes of this act was that the US government regulates how much water passes through a shower head. Shower head manufacturers are now required to restrict the flow of water through a shower head to no more than 2.5 gallons per minute. So now, most shower heads come with shower head flow restrictors. These are often small discs that reside within the shower head that reduce the amount the flow of water through a few small holes. Depending on the type of shower head, your water may be restricted to as low as 1 gallon per minute. If you recently replaced your shower head, the new shower head flow restrictor that came with it may be the reason why you’re experiencing lower water pressure in your shower than you used to.
If you live in an area with hard water, you probably very familiar with how minerals in you water can create buildup within your plumbing system, especially if you do not have a water softener. These minerals can build up within the shower head and restrict the flow of water, decreasing the water pressure. If the problem is not corrected, the buildup will continue to grow and the water pressure will continue to decrease. It should be noted that hard water is not the only reason for buildup within a plumbing system. Some older homes were built with galvanized pipes. These pipes were made of iron and as time passes, minerals break free from the pipe and can accumulate within shower heads, reducing water pressure. A failing water heater can also release sediments into your plumbing system that can end up in your shower head.
If you live in a city or suburb you are getting your water from the city’s water line. And unfortunately you have to share your water with everyone else in the city. And as more and more people use the water, the pressure will slowly begin to decrease. Unfortunately, one of the most practical ways of solving this is to alter your schedule a bit. But if you absolutely can not change your schedule, we’ll talk about another option later in this post.
Well Pump Needs Servicing
If you don’t live in the city or suburbs, chances are your water is coming from a well. Within your well is a pump. Similar to a sump pump, your well pump words to draw water up from the earth into your home. Low water pressure in your shower and throughout your whole home is a symptom of a well pump that needs to be serviced. You may also notice other issues with your water such as air spitting out more and more often, or the water itself is dirty.
Fixing The Problem
Okay so now we’ve talked about some different issues that may cause low water pressure in your shower. Now let’s take it to the next level. Let talk about how to fix the low water pressure.
Removing The Shower Head Flow Restrictor
If you feel inclined to do so, it is relatively easy to remove the flow restrictor from your shower head. Some manufacturers give instructions on how to do so!
- Remove the shower head by turning it counter-clockwise. You may need to use a pair of channel-locks.
- Remove the rubber gasket within the shower head.
- Beneath the gasket you will find a metal or plastic disc with one or more small holes in it. This is the shower head flow restrictor. Remove this from the shower head using a pair of needle-nose pliers.
- Reinsert the gasket and reinstall the shower head.
Removing Sediment from Shower Head
Remove Sediment from your shower head is very simple. You don’t even need to remove the shower head! All you need is some vinegar, a quart size ziplock bag, a few rubber bands, and an old toothbrush for scrubbing.
- Pour the vinegar into the ziplock bag ⅓ – ½ way full.
- Put the shower head into the bag of vinegar, ensuring the all the holes are submerged in the vinegar.
- Secure the bag with the rubber bands. Make sure it’s on there tight!
- Let it soak for several hours. If your shower head has A LOT of buildup you may need to let it soak overnight.
- Remove the bag of vinegar and scrub any remaining deposits away.
- Flush with hot water and you’re all done!
Dealing with High Demand
There aren’t a lot of options when it comes to low water pressure in the shower when you use city water. The options are to either change your schedule or installing a water-pressure tank to hold more water. In reality, the low water pressure isn’t caused by restricted flow in this case. It’s cause by low volume. By installing the water tank, you’re able to hold water until you need it, correcting the problem of low water volume. The downside to this is that these tanks can be somewhat expensive to install. Most people opt to alter their schedule instead.
Servicing You Well Pump
We do not recommend anybody service their own well pump. Many companies specialize in servicing well pumps as well as installing and removing them. Without the proper knowledge, attempting to fix the problem yourself can possibly make matters worse. It’s just not worth the risk.