Is there anything better than a hot shower after a long, stressful day? The steam blocking out the world, the water relaxing your muscles, as it dribbles from the showerhead…
Wait, what? Okay, maybe we can think of something better than a hot shower. Namely, a hot shower with proper water pressure.
If you’ve been putting up with poor water pressure for too long, you know how frustrating it can be. Not only does it feel unpleasant, but it can be a huge time waster when it comes to rinsing shampoo out of your hair or soap off of your body.
But the truth is that most of us aren’t expert plumbers. Which means we have no clue how to increase water pressure in the shower. That’s where we come in.
Today, we’re going to help you understand:
- Why your water pressure is so low
- What to do about it
- How to maintain your shower system
Keep reading to become a water pressure expert!
Reasons Your Water Pressure May Be Low
Before you can start to fix low water pressure levels, it is important to understand WHY your shower’s water pressure may be off. Here are some of the most common culprits:
- Clogs – A large number of plumbing problems are caused by clogs and blockages in the plumbing system. Typically, this is caused by a build-up of mineral deposits in the pipes. This can also clog the shower head itself, leaving you with a stream of water that just trickles out.
- Broken Fixtures – In some cases, the solution might be simple. You may just have a broken shower head! Replacing the shower head can help water flow more smoothly and help to increase your shower water pressure.
- Corrosion – Do you live in an older home? There’s a good chance that you live in a home with galvanized pipes. This outdated pipe system has a zinc coating that, over time, often corrodes and rust. This rust can lead to blockages in the pipe. The best way to check for corrosion? Look at your water color. Water that passes through corroded pipes often has a yellow, orange, or brown tint to it.
- Pressure Regulator Malfunctions – If you can’t find the source of your low shower water pressure issues, you might want to check your pressure regulator. The pressure regulator can become damaged in a variety of ways. Sometimes the internal components simply break down over time (the average lifespan of a pressure regulator is 7-12 years). Much like your pipes, though, water pressure regulators can develop blockages that don’t allow them to do their job properly.
- Closed Valves – Sometimes, all it takes to restore your water pressure to its former glory is a little tinkering with the water valve! This is especially good to check if you’ve recently had a plumber come to your home. Oftentimes, plumbers shut off the water valve when they are doing their work and forget to turn it back on.
7 DIY Ways to Increase Your Water Pressure
Ready to stop low water pressure in its tracks? We’ve got the information that you need. Follow these 7 steps to increase your water pressure, and start enjoying your shower again!
1) Test Your Water Pressure
Want to know exactly what you are dealing with? You’ll want to start by testing your water pressure levels.
Water pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) and can be measured by using a pressure gauge. You’ll want to start by making sure that there is no water running in your home. This means all washing machines, dishwashers, toilets, and showers should be left alone.
Find an outdoor faucet on the side of your home, and attach the pressure gauge. You can then turn the faucet on all the way. Ideally, you will get a reading between 45 and 55 psi. Anything lower or higher than that is a good sign that you may want to call in professional assistance.
2) Replace Your Shower Hose
If you have a detachable shower head, your low water pressure might be due to a faulty shower hose. Over time, the hoses can develop kinks that can stop the natural water flow. Luckily, this is a relatively easy fix. You can buy a new shower hose for around $10-$50 either online or at your local hardware store.
3) Clean Your Fixtures
Remember how we mentioned that your showerhead can get clogged with mineral deposits? Giving it a good clean can help restore your water pressure to its former glory.
If you are able, we recommend removing the dirty shower head. You can then scrub away all of the mineral deposits with a toothbrush or scrub brush. However, if your shower head is not removable, there is a simple DIY fix!
Fill a plastic bag with white vinegar. You’ll then place the showerhead into the bag and tie it around the shower head’s neck. We recommend leaving your vinegar mixture on the shower head for a few hours (or even overnight). This will slowly break down any particles that are clogging the shower head.
4) Remove the Water Restrictor
We’re all for being eco-friendly. But if your attempts to go green are impacting your ability to function, they aren’t particularly useful.
Such is the case with modern water restrictors. Also known as a ‘flow restrictor,’ these gadgets are commonly added to modern shower heads in order to meet the requirements of the National Energy Act. And while many flow restrictors won’t cause problems, they might be the cause of your low water pressure.
Luckily, removing the water restrictor is a fairly simple fix that you can do by following the instructions in your shower heads manual.
5) Install a Water Pressure Booster
Sometimes your low water pressure can’t be fixed by adding in a new shower head or other simple solutions. Sometimes your plumbing system just isn’t set up ideally. Most of us don’t have the money to re-plumb our entire home.
Instead, consider investing in a water pressure booster. This is a specialized pump that helps to move water from your storage tank at a faster rate. This can help increase your flow rate and allow you to have higher water pressure.
6) Use It in the Off-Hours
It’s common in multi-family homes for everyone to need to use the bathroom at the same time. This means that mornings may not be the ideal time to shower. Increased use of the water in the house, or water being used in multiple bathrooms at once, can decrease your overall efficiency and lead to low water pressure.
7) Don’t Shower While Appliances Are Running
Similarly, you don’t want to be caught in the shower when the dishwasher or washing machine is running. Not only will this means less hot water for you, but it can also significantly decrease your water pressure.
When You Should Call a Professional Plumber
Despite our best efforts, sometimes a plumbing issue requires an experienced professional. Here are some signs that you should seek out a qualified plumber in your area:
- Pipe Problems – If you suspect your issue is being caused by clogged pipes and corrosion, you’ll want the expert opinion of a plumber. This may require replacing pipes, which can be a tedious and delicate job.
- Water Supply Line Issues – If you live in an older home, you are likely connected to a water supply line that is no longer sufficient for your home’s needs. Especially if you’ve remodeled and now have extra bathrooms or more appliances. Your plumber should be able to look into the records of your home in order to determine whether or not your water supply line is sufficient.
- Pressure Regulator Problems – If you are dealing with a faulty pressure regulator, it is time to call on your plumber to install a new one.
Maintenance Tips for Your Shower
Want to ensure that your shower continues to run smoothly? The key is proper maintenance!
We’ve already mentioned the importance of regularly cleaning your shower head, but it doesn’t stop there. If you live in a home with hard water, we recommend investing in a high-quality water softener to help reduce the chance of mineral buildup in your pipes. We also recommend not waiting to take care of issues, like a leaking tub faucet or shower head, as these can be indicative of larger problems. In general, when in doubt, call on your plumber!
Let Us Help!
Have a question we haven’t answered? No worries! The knowledgeable team at Aquarius Home Services is ready to help solve the mystery of your low water pressure. Our team of plumbers is ready to take on your shower issues, whether large or small and help you to enjoy your home again. Contact us today to schedule your service!