It’s frustrating when the water pressure decreases in the middle of taking a shower! It’s even worse when the water runs out just before you rinse! You may have experienced this situation once in your life and may have asked: “how to increase water pressure in the shower?”
There are many reasons why there’s a sudden decrease in water flow as much as there is a good reason why water starts to decrease until there’s no more flow. We’ll help you solve water pressure problems and increase water pressure in the shower in no time.
Things You Need to Increase Water Pressure in the Shower
Take note: you don’t need all these things at once. Each of these is required for a technique in our list.
- A new showerhead
- A new single-control shower valve
- Low-pressure shower head
- Distilled vinegar
How To Properly Improve Water Pressure
1. Inspect And Clean The Shower Head
The first thing to consider on how to increase water pressure in your apartment or home is to inspect your shower head. Tap water can cause the accumulation of minerals inside the showerhead. This tough material can build along with the small nozzles of the shower, causing obstruction and reduced water flow.
If the mineral build-up is still soft, you can remove it by using a pin that can move through the shower nozzle. Gently poke each hole until these are free from the mineral build-up. You can also inspect the end of the pin to see how dirty the inner part of the showerhead is. But if the mineral build-up has hardened or the showerhead is quite old, poking with a pin may not help.
You can’t remove hard mineral build-up by hand or by scrubbing the showerhead with a thick brush. But you can remove it naturally using distilled vinegar. Use a plastic bag big enough for the showerhead to fit inside. Fill this with vinegar and then place the shower head inside the bag. Make sure that all the parts of the showerhead are submerged in water.
Let the showerhead remain inside the bag for 24 hours to make sure that all the mineral build-up inside it are removed. After 24 hours, remove the showerhead and use a toothbrush to scrub the head with the solution. You’ll see that the mineral deposits will be easily removed from the showerhead. Rinse this with running water. You may also use this technique to remove mineral residue inside the shower hose.
When the showerhead is nice and clean, free from mineral build-up, re-install and let the water run full blast. Water will flow better after cleaning the showerhead thoroughly.
2. Check The Flow Restrictor In The Shower Head
All shower heads have a component called a water flow restrictor, and this is usually found inside the showerhead. Turn off the water and unscrew the head. It is the plastic gasket where the water enters. Remove this restrictor and test it by placing it under running water. If the valve is open and water pressure is still low, clean this flow restrictor. You may also change it if you think it’s broken. There are different gauges and sizes of flow restrictors. Be sure to take your shower head with you when you purchase a replacement flow restrictor at the hardware.
3. Install A New Shower Head
If the showerhead is faulty or it is too dirty from mineral build-up, you may want to consider replacing it. You may change your ordinary shower head to a high-pressure showerhead, a type of shower head with nozzles that automatically pressurize the flow of water. Most of this type of shower head is fully adjustable so you can shower with the kind of flow you want.
4. Increase The Flow Volume From The Main
Check other faucets in your home if there is also low water pressure in the house. If you are sure that the problem is not just the shower, then you can check the flow volume at the curb-side main valve. This is the water meter shut-off valve that’s often found in the front of a home. If you live in an apartment building, it is located in the basement where utility meters are found.
Check if the shut-off valve has been tampered, which means that someone may have turned it off or has reduced your water pressure. If so, turn the lever clockwise to get the highest pressure. Check the water meter and see if the meter is moving. If it is not moving despite opening the pressure valve, then there may be a water interruption or a project near your home.
But if the water meter is moving and you still don’t have water flowing at home, there may be a leak somewhere in the line between the meter and the mainline going to your home. Ask a contractor to help you locate and fix the leak.
Another way to check the water pressure inside your home is to check the main home entry valve. This is the control valve found in your home. This is usually located in your basement or at the side of your home. Once you found the valve, check if you can still turn it up to increase water pressure. If the water pressure has been turned down, the previous owner or renter may have done this to save water.
5. Use A New Single-Control Shower Flow Valve
The shower control valve is a standard part of any shower system that’s subject to natural wear and tear. This is especially true if several people use the shower in your home. This water valve is essential as it mixes cold and hot water to give you the most relaxing water temperature when you bathe.
This valve can wear down and may also be affected by a mineral build-up. If this happens, the water flow becomes restricted, and water pressure is significantly reduced. If you find that the valve is broken or is malfunctioning, replace this. And to purchase a new one, you may need to bring the entire shower head and hose system to make sure that you are buying the correct valve.
6. Use A Shower Pump
If the water pressure is really low in your apartment or home, then you might need a shower pump. A typical shower pump is a pressurized container/cylinder that’s fitted to the system to boost water flow. You can use a shower pump that can give you up to 60 l of water in a minute. This will give you that relaxing high-pressure shower you’ve been looking for.
But before you purchase a shower pump, consult a professional installer because some shower systems may not accommodate this kind of pump.
Another type of shower pump is a power shower or a low-pressure showerhead, a shower that uses the hot and cold water supply to improve water flow using an electric pump. This pump is ideal for homes with low water pressure as it can give you 3x the flow of water you had before. But of course, even a power shower won’t work if there’s very little or no water flow at all.
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7. Open The Shut-Off Valve For The Water Heater
Check if you have good pressure when you’re using cold water and very little to no water when you’re using hot water. If this is so, the problem could be your water heater. Go to the basement or where your water heater is located and check if the shut-off valve is closed. If so, open it halfway or a third of the way. This will fix the problem by letting hot water in to mix with cold water.
Warn people in your home to never touch the water heater shut-off valve. It is dangerous to do so because this valve may break, and this can cause more hot water to flow to the shower. This can cause a severe burn to anyone showering during the accident.
8. Clean Or Flush The Water Heater
Just like the showerhead and all the water lines in any home, your water heater should also be maintained with the mineral deposits settle. When this is overlooked, you will have low water pressure to no water pressure at all. Mineral build-up can also grow inside the tank and even the valve that controls water to the mains.
What you can do is to flush your water heater to remove mineral build-up. Drain your water heater by releasing the water heater valve, usually located at the bottom of the water heater tank. Open this until all the water has been removed. If you can move the water heater tank, give it a gentle shake to remove any residue or debris inside. You can also gently tap it a little to remove even small residue materials inside.
Sometimes a water heater tank is too old and too dirty to clean, and hence, this has already become inefficient to use. Consider replacing the tank or going tank-less.
9. Inspect For Kinks Or Leaks
If you have an old hand-held shower, then the hose may not be as durable as new showerhead models. Hoses may twist and kink, and this can severely affect water flow to the showerhead. So, while the showerhead is off, remove the kinks and twists in the hose. Check the water flow after you’re done removing the kinks and twists. If the kinks remain, you may consider replacing your shower hose with a better, sturdier one.
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Also, check if the hose is leaking or any part of the shower fixture. If you see any leak or dripping water other than the showerhead, then you may have a leaking shower head. Replace this with a new and better showerhead or handheld shower. When shopping for a new shower head, make sure that it fits your water shower fixture. Avoid mistakes by taking the old shower head with you when you buy.
10. Turn Off Other Faucets In Your Home
Suppose the water supply is indeed low because of a repair or a water supply interruption, and you want to take a shower. To do this, turn off all the faucets in your home. Don’t run the dishwasher or the washing machine so that all the water supply, no matter how little, will flow to the showerhead.
If the water pressure is lower for an extended time, schedule your showers during the less demanding hours of the day. You may just use a pail and a dipper to take a bath and use the shower when the water flow has returned to normal.
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There are practical ways to increase water pressure in the shower, such as cleaning the showerhead or replacing the showerhead altogether. But when it comes to replacing shower components, repairing main water valves, consult a contractor.
Take note that although these water delivery system parts are very common, any mistake or wrong component can lead to costly outcomes. Ask a professional for expert help. If you are renting your apartment or home, then you must consult your homeowner or building manager. Although you can call a contractor to make repairs, the property owner may have their own maintenance crew to make repairs. Report these repairs immediately.
You can increase shower pressure by using practical methods like cleaning the showerhead, removing kinks, inspecting leaks, and turning up the main valve. There are also excellent ways to deal with the problem, like replacing the showerheads or the water valve. Cleaning and flushing the hot water tank is another good technique. And with any of these techniques, always be extra careful and, as much as possible, consult a professional contractor for help.
For renters, don’t make any changes with your water supply fixtures and components without the knowledge of your landlord, building manager, or property owner. You must report any water pressure problems and shower fixture problems as soon as possible.