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Find Out Why the Water Pressure is Low in Your Shower
One of the last things a homeowner wants to experience is low water pressure in the shower, especially on a busy, hectic day. You’re rushing enough as it is and not enough water pressure is sure to cause you more stress. Not only because of the annoyance of low water itself, but also because low water pressure could mean an underlying serious plumbing problem.
What should you do in a situation like this? How can you increase the water pressure in your shower? What is causing the low water pressure in the first place? Don’t worry because we will help you find out and teach you some tricks to fix the problem. Read on to learn what to do when your shower has low water pressure.
Common Causes of Low Water Pressure in the Shower
Before you can fix a shower with low water pressure, you will need to know what’s causing it first. As such, we have listed and briefly discussed below some of the most common causes of low water pressure in the shower.
Low-Flow Shower Head
If you’re using a low-flow shower head, then it’s not surprising if you have low water pressure in your shower. Low-flow shower heads help you reduce water consumption, but it also makes the pressure seem lacking. This is an easy enough issue to resolve. All you need to do is switch to a new shower head that isn’t low-flow.
Clogged Shower Head
Clogs are common problems with home plumbing systems, including the shower head. Mineral deposits start building up over time inside the shower head’s small holes. This buildup can block or disrupt the flow of water that causes the low pressure. Cleaning the buildup with a small brush or tool to clear out the holes should fix the issue.
Malfunctioning Water Pressure Regulator
Did your shower head suddenly drop pressure for some unknown reason? There’s a good chance it’s because your water pressure regulator is malfunctioning. Most residences have a water pressure regulator, which helps keep the water pressure range at a safe level. But it can fail, which allows the pressure to get too high or low.
Our resident home repair guru, John Turpin, has provided a list of common reasons why your shower may have low water pressure, along with some suggested solutions and DIY tips to fix it.
Home Water Valve Shutoff
The sudden decrease in water pressure in your shower could also be due to the home water valve accidentally shutting off. Or, it could be that you shut it off and forgot to turn it back on. The home water valve is your home’s main control valve. It’s usually located near the water meter box. If you want to cut the water off the entire house and lower the water pressure, you must turn the water valve off.
Mineral Buildup in Pipes
If you have an older house with an outdated plumbing system, it probably has galvanized pipes. Pipes like this are prone to mineral buildup, which is a pretty common cause of low water pressure in the shower. The problem is you can’t really do anything to prevent the accumulation of mineral deposits, although it takes time for it to build up.
Do you know the peak times of water consumption in your neighborhood? If you are connected to the municipal water line, knowing the peak times are important. If you shower during this time, it’s likely one of the reasons why you have low water pressure in the shower but not the tub or sink. You can find out if this is the case by testing the water pressure during low-use periods.
If not one of the possible causes mentioned is the apparent reason behind the low pressure in your shower, one other possible cause is that the pipe is leaking. If the pipe is leaking, water escapes through it causing less and less of the liquid to reach the shower. If this is the case with you, the only solution is to fix the leak with help from a plumber.
How to Increase the Water Pressure in the Shower
You can increase the water pressure in your shower with DIY tricks and also with the assistance of a professional plumber. But before that, you should test if you really have low water pressure and if it’s only in your shower. Do this by turning on the shower and other faucets, observing the pressure, and checking it with a pressure gauge.
Once you confirm you have low water pressure, you can go ahead with the following tricks:
Replace Low-Flow Shower Head
If you have a low-flow shower head, one of the first things you can do to increase the water pressure is to replace it. As we mentioned before, it helps you save on water costs but if the water pressure is affected, it’s best to get a new model.
Clean the Scale and Mineral Buildup
If you’re using an ordinary shower head (not a low-flow), you can go ahead with the next step which is cleaning the mineral buildup and clog on the shower head. Making sure that the shower head is clean is not only great for increasing water pressure, but a great sanitary measure as well.
Check the Main Valve Shutoff
Are you sure the main valve is on? If not, go check it and make sure you haven’t accidentally shut it off. Turn it counterclockwise or parallel to the water type to ensure the water isn’t restricted. But if the valve is rusted and corroded, be extra careful because you might end up damaging it and getting it stuck.
Check the Water Pressure Regulator
The next thing you should check is the water pressure regulator. Is it actually working and regulating the water pressure? It could have ended up damaged which can cause low water pressure. Fortunately, you can simply have it replaced if the regulator isn’t doing its job.
Repair or Replace Leaking Pipes
Perhaps the last step is to check your plumbing system for leaks or damage to the pipes. Make sure your exposed pipes are not cracked or broken. For pipes underneath the structure or in hidden places, a professional plumber is best at handling this issue. They can perform a camera inspection to find the leaks and repair or replace it, thus restoring the safe water pressure in your shower.
Shower Low Water Pressure FAQs
What Is the Normal Water Pressure in Residential Homes?
Residential homes’ normal water pressure is 40 to 70 psi (pound per square inch). Water pressure that’s around 40 psi and below isn’t sufficient for most homes’ water needs. On the other hand, 70 psi and more water pressure can lead to issues like premature failure of appliances and faucet leaks. It can also lead to banging and vibrations in water pipes, making it essential to keep the water pressure within the normal range.
Can a DIY Fix Work With Low Water Pressure in the Shower?
It depends on the root cause of the low water pressure in the shower. Some issues are simple enough that ordinary homeowners can try fixing them. Some of the things you can DIY include unclogging the shower head or replacing the volume control. But for more serious issues like corroded pipes or failing water heaters, we recommend calling for professional help.
How Much Does it Cost to Repair a Shower?
The average cost of fixing a shower is $100, but you could spend somewhere between $70 to $150 based on various factors like the location of the shower or the issue. When it comes to the price of fixing a lower water pressure shower, it’s best to ask a professional. They can provide you with a better estimate after inspecting it and determining what exactly the cause of the low water pressure is.
Hire a Local Plumbing Pro
The methods above are effective DIY tips to investigate, diagnose, and improve your shower’s low water pressure. But if you need professional help, then don’t hesitate to contact a local plumbing pro using the phone number or form on this page.
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