My favorite part of the day is the few golden minutes spent in a shower. Nothing screams self-care like a relaxing shower after a tiring day. Most people sing in the shower, reenact movie scenes or just allow the water to run through their body for long minutes.
It can be extremely frustrating when the water pressure is low, reducing your enjoyable experience to a trickle. It is hardly relaxing for anyone now.
Water pressure is what regulates and controls the amount and flow of water that comes out from a tap. The amount of water pressure can be gauged based on the quantity of water remaining or how much water people are consuming.
Low water pressure is when the pressure of water coming out of a tap pumps out weakly and slowly. It dribbles out rather than spraying out forcefully. When this happens, it can be disconcerting and it can, in turn, greatly affect the quality of your life.
Water is an important fixture in life generally and in our homes. We need it for the most mundane and most important tasks.
When the water pressure is low, enjoyable tasks like showering can become more stressful and the not so enjoyable tasks like doing laundry and cleaning up dishes can become even more difficult.
To resolve low water pressure issues in showers, you first have to come to a grasp and understanding of the causative agents.
In this article, I am going to explore what causes low water pressure in showers and how you can increase it.
What causes low water pressure?
Old plumbing materials
When some plumbing elements stay for a long period of time, they can become faulty with time. They can start to shed and release some deposits known as mineral deposits. These deposits include things like rust, limestone, and other materials which can build up in pipes and obstruct the easy flow of water. Not only can this decrease the quantity of water that dribbles out, but it can also decrease the quality of the water making it unsafe for bathing in some cases.
Hard water contains a very high content of minerals which produces lime scales and other debris. These build-ups can easily obstruct the easy flow of water in showerheads, taps, and pipes invariably reducing water pressure.
There are water valves that control the water pressure and flow in our homes. Sometimes, these valves can get accidentally turned off. Sometimes they can get turned off due to a specific reason then people forget to turn it back on.
The water valves can also be turned on partially instead of fully and this can take the pressure of your water to decrease immensely. If you are suspecting that a shut-off or partially closed valve might be the issue, then you should check the valve immediately and make sure it is firmly turned on and open.
Another popular cause of low water pressure in showers is pipes that are clogged. Most pipes that are blocked spray properly when they are first turned on, and then in seconds reduce until it slows down to a dribble. The pressure reduces because the pipeline is filled with different composites.
Pipes can easily become clogged when different debris starts building up in the pipe which will restrict the flow of water.
This happens mostly with galvanized pipes.
Galvanized steels are fast becoming outdated when looking for pipes for house construction because they deteriorate easily and are not as long-lasting as other pipes.
Eroded Plumbing facilities
Erosion of plumbing usually happens when a congested pipe is left without fixing. The rust and debris soon begin to eat away at the pipes, leaving holes in them. This is also known as corrosion of pipes.
In this case, you will need to replace the pipes.
This also is popular among homes that build their plumbing areas with galvanized steel.
It has a span life of 20-50 years, which makes it a decent but not a very long-lasting option.
If you have been living in a house for a really long time, then it is advisable to replace some of the pipes because they might be declining with age.
Poor Plumbing Construction
If the plumber used cheap tools during the installation of pipes in your home, they can easily spoil with time. Also, if they are not very experienced and do not do professional work, they might leave some loose ends hanging which will cause issues with your plumbing facilities and that result in low water pressure in your shower.
The best thing to do is to call an experienced plumber, they might charge more but in the long run, it is more cost-effective. It is not advisable to try to fix things your way, you might pull the pipes apart and might not be able to fix them all back together or you might even end up complicating the issue more.
Your Home Plumbing System And Pipe Line Might Be Too Small For The Water Pressure
This is a common reason. Your pipes might not be the right fit to handle the force of water pressure. This is due to an undersized pipe.
This will of course reduce and restrict water pressure in your shower.
It is one of the most expensive issues to fix because it would involve the complete removal of the pipe and the attachment of new ones.
This can also lead to low water pressure in your shower.
One easy way to easily check if you are dealing with a leaking pipe in your house is to check areas, especially the basement and foundation for water. If it is filled or flooded with water, then you know you need to call a plumber immediately. Most times though, it does not take a leak of great size to disrupt the pressure of the water. The leak will direct the water supply wrongly and prevent your shower from getting access to the full flow.
Damaged Pressure Regulator
This is for specific homes with special plumbing facilities. Many plumbing systems do not come with pressure regulators. If your plumbing system does come with one, ensure that it is working properly. It controls and manages the flow of water coming into your home to provide long-lasting benefits to your pipeline.
You can determine if your pressure regulator is faulty by reading the water pressure correctly by placing a water gauge on the hose spigot outside your house.
7 ways To Increase Low Water Pressure in Your Shower
Remove debris from the pipelines
Within a long period of time, it is not unusual for your pipes to develop mineral deposits especially if you have hard water. I want you to know that it is completely normal. In some intense cases, the size of the pipes can reduce until they clog which will prevent the water from flowing out easily and quickly through the pipelines. This will eventually kill the water pressure. It will cause shower spray to reduce to a slow and dribble.
One way you can fix this and clear the clogs is by filling a zip lock bag with vinegar, leaving it open while placing it over your Showerhead. Attach it to a string to keep in one place m, then leave it on till the next day.
Rinse off the cleaned fittings and put your bathroom back together after you have allowed it to soak all night.
This hack is certain to release the clogs and increase water pressure immediately, but if it doesn’t, then you should know that the problem is much more severe than just a mineral clog.
This is when you should call a plumber to assess and fix the underlying issue.
Open The Main Water Valve
Another way to fix low water pressure is to check the water valve that controls water pressure.
This is a very easy and quick fix. All it requires is a short trip to your water valve, which is usually close and near to the meter. Sometimes during normal repairs, it can be turned off without your personal knowledge, especially if there was a very recent work that involved plumbing facilities in your home.
When you find the valve, check if it’s completely open. Make sure when opening it, that it isn’t just partially open but completely open. You can do this easily in seconds.
If the problem is from the water valve, then once you turn it open completely, the problem will be fixed immediately. The valve is easy to control and also highly adjustable so usually, you do not need to call a plumber for this.
Install Water Softeners
This is the best option if you’re dealing with hard water. I have tried this a number of times and this works like magic. It might come as a surprise to you just how damaging hard water can be. Hard water produces limescale that can easily clog the pipes.
Installation of a water softener can help soften the hard water and in turn, reduce the production of limescale and other debris material.
Change The Pressure Regulator
This is for homes that use pressure regulators. Many homes that use the public water have to rely on their regulators which are normally attached close to the meter. The pressure regulator keeps the water from rushing too forcefully through the pipes thereby causing a water hammer. When the pressure regulator goes bad, it causes the pressure to drop quickly causing a loss in velocity that might affect some plumbing structures in your home.
You can easily fix the problem by simply resetting it if it is not positioned correctly or just replacing it.
I would also advise you to hire the help of an expert plumber to get the work done.
Look Out For Leaks
Pay close attention to pipes that are leaking and damaged.
Sometimes, water that is supposed to travel up to your shower, might waste and leave through the cracks and openings in the pipes leaving only a small dribble of water for you to bath with.
If you want to check to see if your main pipe is rusty or damaged, ensure that you turn off all the water faucets in your home and then memorize the number that appears on your house meter.
You should return after a few hours to read the meter again, if the reading numbers increase it is a definite sign of a leak.
When this happens, you should call a professional plumber to fix it because it becomes more complicated and poses a risk for you.
Change Your Pipes
Maybe it’s time to finally change your pipes. This will fix your issues for a longer period but it is also quite expensive. If your home uses galvanized steel for its pipeline, then you should know that it is easier for it to become eaten away by rust and corrosion.
When you do decide to change your pipes, make sure you choose plastics that are much better than galvanized steel. Copper pipes are a great option in particular.
Remember, you shouldn’t fix this yourself. Always employ the services of a professional plumber.
Make Sure Your Shower Head Is Clean
Sometimes the buildups and dirt that lie on the shower heads are mostly due to dust and other mineral deposits that crawl up into their tight spaces. You should try disassembling the showerhead.
So many showerheads can be easily dis-attached. When you have successfully dis-attached the pieces, clean all the dirty areas with soap and water until it is completely neat and spotless
Clean out the crevices and all hidden spaces.
If you cannot dis-attach your shower head then you will need to get a rubber band and a sandwich bag.
You should fill the bag with vinegar and then use the rubber band to attach it firmly to the showerhead. Leave it on for some hours, and then remove it. This would help break down and dissolve the sediments in the shower head.
Change The showerhead completely
Sometimes cleaning out your shower head isn’t effective. Sometimes the shower heads are faulty or have inferior materials that make them deteriorate with time. Also, sometimes the shower heads are old and outdated and have begun to reduce in quality because of age. In this case, the best option will be to change the shower head completely.
When buying showerheads look for showerheads that have low water pressure because they are built particularly to help reduce the flow of water in areas with pressure issues.
Always look for a top-quality shower head that offers long-lasting properties as oppressed to fancy-looking ones.
Check For Water Restrictor
Some modern shower heads have a water restrictor put in place to help control the water.
Sometimes all you need to do is remove the water restrictor that has been attached to it and the water will be back to normal.
To remove the water restriction, it is advised to read the instruction manual that the shower head comes with.
If you find out the issue has nothing to do with your plumbing system, you can try a more affordable alternative by purchasing a special shower head that controls water pressure.
While these products can’t perform miracles, if your water pressure is low, they can help produce a more forceful spraying of water than regular showerheads. This is an option you might consider looking into before you look into the more costly solutions.
Turn Off Other Appliances
Sometimes running different electrical appliances might not maximize other ones.
If your shower is running at the same time as other appliances and electricals, it might be too much for it to handle. This could reduce the water supply.
You can try showering with every other appliance turned off or a majority of them to reduce the pressure and increase water supply.
While it’s a 50-50 possibility, there’s no harm in trying this. Who knows it just might hold the answer you’re looking for.
Set Up A Shower Pump
This should be your last resort if you have tried everything and nothing seems to be working.
You will have to resort to other options even though they might not be cost-efficient.
Installing a shower pump is an expensive business.
You should look for a shower pump that will increase the pressure of the water.
Unless you have excellent plumbing skills it is recommended to ask the help of a professional about buying the pump and the installation process.
You should always make sure you’re speaking to a very experienced plumber. Seek their advice on other possibilities that might be affordable and still give you a long result.
You have to work with solutions that are directly proportional to the amount of money you are willing to spend.
FAQs On How To Increase Water Pressures
Why is my water pressure never stable?
Sometimes, it could be related to gravity. In this case, a home water pressure booster is recommended for you to manage it. It could also mean that the well pump is running dry.
Always check your valves to be certain that they are properly open because a half-shut valve can impact the water pressure of your home.
Is a pump a necessity to fix low water pressure?
A pump is usually the best thing to release water pressure, but if you cannot afford it or for some reason do not want to use a pump, then, in this case, I would advise using other affordable means.
You can check for leaks and find out where exactly they are coming from and what is causing them. This would easily be a quick fix to increase water flow again.
Also changing pipes that are stuffed with debris and eroding is another simple trick to improving the pressure of water in your shower.
What if the water pressure is low in the shower alone? What can I do?
You can use vinegar and a stuffed bag to clean the showerhead. You can leave the vinegar overnight, it will unclog the particles, debris, and sediments stuck in the shower head. If that doesn’t work, then you can consider completely replacing the showerhead.
Make sure when choosing a showerhead, you get one that can be easily replaced.
When should I require the services of a professional?
There are some fixes that can be done easily by you. There are others, however, that require the services of a professional.
These kinds are more serious and you should not attempt to fix them yourself or else you might completely destroy the pipes.
You should require the services of a professional when it involves a change of pipes when there are leaks and openings in the pipes when you have a faulty water heater as well as when you need to disable the water pressure regulators attached to some showerheads.
Make sure the plumbers have long-standing experiences with fixing water pressures to ensure that an excellent job is carried out.
What is the reason the pressure of my hot water is low?
This could mean different things.
This could mean that there is a lot of built-up materials and debris at the bottom of the water heater.
It could mean that valves that supply your water heater with water are completely turned off or are not fully open.
It could also mean that pipes attached to your bathroom are declining and are in need of changing.
Should I fix a corroded pipe?
While it is more cost-effective to fix, fixing a corroded pipe is not recommended because it will not last for long. A corroded pipe already tells a story of intense deterioration. Even if it is fixed, it will only be a temporal fix because the other parts will soon become affected.
The best way to deal with a pipe that is getting eroded or leaking is simply to change it completely. It is expensive but it is definitely worth it and still cost-effective in the long run.
I know it can be extremely frustrating to experience a low water pressure while showering.
This is even more true when you just want to take a quick shower and be out in minutes but unfortunately, you have to deal with water that is trickling at an annoying pace. This means you will have to spend extra minutes in the shower, completely against your will.
You can easily use the list above to ascertain fully what the problem might be pertaining to the low water pressure you’re experiencing.
Some of them can be quickly fixed, like a water valve issue or a clogged shower and pipe.
Other issues might involve the help of an expert plumber to completely fix. Issues like corroded plastic or leakages will definitely need help outside your space to fix.
In all, I genuinely feel the best option when it comes to increasing your water pressure is to contact the services of a plumber for the work even when you feel you can do it yourself because a plumber is more experienced and would be able to tell easily where the problems are coming from as well as give you the best solutions to work with.
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Hi, I’m Jana, author and interior design enthusiast. I understand that turning a house into a space that reflects you is no small feat. However, if you have the right information to start with, you can make the process much easier and simpler. That’s why I like putting together handy guides and articles on home design and decor subjects, that you might not have known you needed to learn about until you have to choose them for your home. If you want to learn about products on the living space design market in order to choose what befits your home, this is the right place for you.