If your shower gives you a trickle of water that doesn’t rinse off the soap on your body, you may be dealing with low water pressure. It’s a frustrating problem, but it’s one that is often easy to fix. The water pressure you receive depends on a couple of factors, including your home’s location and plumbing. Check your showerhead and home plumbing first. If the pressure is continually low, you may need to contact your utility provider or even install a pressure booster. No matter the problem, you will soon be able to enjoy a relaxing shower once again.
[Edit]Steps [Edit]Cleaning and Changing a Showerhead Unscrew the showerhead from the water line. Twist the showerhead counterclockwise by hand to see if it pops off. If that doesn’t work, wrap a towel around the shower arm near where it emerges from the wall. Hold the shower arm in place by clamping slip-joint pliers over the towel. Then, use a wrench to turn the base of the showerhead counterclockwise until it comes off the shower arm. The towel prevents the pliers from scraping the finish off the shower arm, so always put it in place before attempting to remove the showerhead. Detach the screen filter from the inside of the showerhead. Refer to your owner’s manual to pinpoint the exact location of the filter in your specific showerhead. It is usually right where the showerhead attaches to the water pipe on the wall. Look inside the showerhead for a rubber ring that you can pull out with tweezers or a screwdriver. Also, look for a mesh screen underneath it that can be removed the same way. Not all showerheads have these filters. Pretty much all modern ones have at least the rubber ring, which limits the water flow. Scrub the filter with a toothbrush while rinsing it in clean water. Move the rubber and mesh filter components to the sink and rinse them off under a gentle stream of lukewarm water. Scrub away any debris you notice, then rinse them clean again. These parts are delicate, so handle them gently to avoid damaging them. After you’re done scrubbing, you can reinstall the showerhead and test it. Sometimes that is enough to get it working again. However, check the rest of the showerhead for buildup first so you don’t have to take it down again later. Submerge the showerhead in vinegar for 8 hours. Fill a big bowl or a plastic bag, keeping the showerhead covered. The vinegar will begin dissolving any mineral buildup around the nozzles and inside the water line. For the best result, let the showerhead soak overnight. Vinegar is a weak acid, so it’s perfect for softening the buildup. Don’t use anything stronger than that. Other cleaners could corrode your showerhead. Scrub the shower nozzle clean with a toothbrush or a toothpick. Use an old toothbrush to scrub off any remaining buildup on the outside edges of the showerhead, then check the nozzle holes. Look for limescale, usually white or green, blocking the holes. Poke a toothpick, needle, or another thin, sharp object into each nozzle. If you clean the holes right after soaking the nozzle in acid, the buildup will be soft enough to scrape away. Buildup is common and unavoidable, so set aside time to clean the showerhead about every 3 months. If you know you have hard water, which is water containing a high amount of minerals, you may need to clean it more frequently. Remove the flow regulator if cleaning didn’t improve the water pressure. Detach the showerhead from the wall, then look inside it. Pull the rubber gasket and mesh filter screen out if you see them in there. Look for a plastic disk with a hole in it. Use tweezers or a paper clip to pull it out, then put the filter screen and gasket back in to reassemble the showerhead. Pretty much all modern showerheads have flow regulators in order to reduce water usage. If you live in an area that normally has low water pressure,the regulator turns the water flow into little more than a trickle. Another option is to drill into the regulator to widen its opening. The wider opening lets more water through, increasing the pressure. Upgrade to a new showerhead with better water flow. You may have bought a low-flow showerhead by mistake. Replace it with a smaller showerhead featuring fewer or smaller nozzle holes. Older showerheads often don’t have flow regulators in them, so if you have one, it could also fix the problem. Many newer showerheads are regulated to restrict water usage. In the U.S., for instance, manufacturers have to include a flow regulator. If you don’t want that, you will need to either remove the regulator or track down an old showerhead. [Edit]Fixing Problems on the Water Line Look for kinks in the water line leading to the shower. Many homes have flexible lines running from the valve in the wall to the showerhead. If your shower has a flexible line instead of stiff pipes, you can see it by removing the showerhead and faucet. Pull it forward to straighten out any bends in it. The water heater in your home may also have a braided line, so check there as well. Problems with the plumbing are easier to deal with when the supply lines are first installed. If you suspect that something is wrong with the line, you may need to have someone open the wall to take a look at it. Search your home for any water spots from leaking pipes. Starting from the shower, walk back to where the water utility line enters your home. The plumbing is difficult to trace once it passes into the walls, so look for dripping water, puddles, or water stains. If you have exposed pipes in your home, such as in the basement, inspect them for signs of damage. Call a plumber or repair leaks to improve the water pressure. While you’re waiting for a plumber, you can stop the leak by turning off your home’s water supply or by covering it with epoxy putty. Leaks are dangerous, so get them fixed as soon as possible. If you’re unsure whether or not you have a leak, locate the water meter. It will be either where the utility line enters your home or in a separate box. Turn off your home’s water valve for a few hours to see if the meter continues to rise. Open the main shut-off valve if it has been closed. The main valve to your home is typically in your basement or outside the wall where the water line enters your home. The valve will have a brightly-colored wheel or a lever you need to turn to open it. Turn the handle clockwise to open the valve if it has a wheel. If yours has a lever, lower it so it’s perpendicular to the valve. Contractors sometimes shut off the valve and forget to open it back up all the way. If you have had construction or repair work done near your home recently, check the valve. Shut off the pressure-reducing valve if your home has one. Check for a valve along the main water line in your basement. It is a triangular cap with a screw on it. Turn the screw clockwise a couple of times using a wrench if you can’t do it by hand. Then, test out the water flow in your shower to see how much the pressure has increased. Pressure-reducing valves wear out over time. If yours looks old, shut off the water supply and use a wrench to twist off the connectors on its ends. Open the water heater shut-off valve if you can’t get hot water. If you are able to get a good stream of cold water but not hot water, your water heater is to blame. Locate it in the bottom level of your home. It will have a control valve similar to the one on the main water line. Turn it counterclockwise to open it, then test your shower. If the valve is open, flushing your water heater could fix it. Otherwise, call a plumber to take a look at it. Flush the hot water tank to clear out debris. If you haven’t cleared out the hot water tank recently, debris could be blocking the pipes. Deactivate power to the heater, then run a garden hose from the heater’s drain to your yard. Turn on all the hot water faucets in your home, letting the water run until it comes out of the hose completely clear. If this doesn’t work, call a plumber to take a look at your water heater. It may have a more serious problem. Water heaters need to be flushed at least once every 3 years to keep them in working order. [Edit]Improving Continual Low Pressure Test your home’s water pressure using a pressure gauge. Purchase a gauge, then find the outlet closest to where the main water line enters your home. It will usually be an outside spigot, although it may also be an inside outlet attached to a device like a washing machine. Twist the gauge onto the outlet, then turn on the water to get a reading. If the water pressure isn’t between 45 and 55 psi, then you know the problem isn’t inside your home. In order to complete the test, shut off anything in your home that uses water. That includes ice machines, running toilets, and refrigerators. Deactivate their water supply or turn off the appliances. Most hardware stores sell pressure gauge testing kits. You can also get them online. Call your utility provider if the water pressure is lower than normal. If a pressure gauge shows that the water entering your home is low pressure, see if someone else can fix it. Contact your local government’s water department or your service provider. They may be able to solve the problem by replacing old utility pipes, fixing leaks, or taking other steps to improve their service. It depends on your area and where your home is located. For a better idea of what is to blame, ask your neighbors if they are also experiencing low water pressure. If they are also having problems, then it’s the city’s fault. Your municipal provider may decide not to address the problem. In that case, your only option is to install a pressure booster. Install a pressure booster to deal with low-pressure city water. A pressure booster is a tank that connects to your water main near where it enters your house. You will need to use a pipe cutter to remove a section of the water line. Then, connect the line to the pressure booster by welding new pipes together. Finish by contacting an electrician as needed to wire the booster into your home’s circuit breaker. Pressure boosters can burst weak or clogged pipes. Watch the meter on the booster and adjust it to keep the pressure between 45 and 55 psi. Call a plumber if you need help installing a pressure booster. They can also make sure your home’s water system is capable of handling the increased water pressure. Take showers during the off hours if all else fails. Do what you can to fix potential problems in your home, then try using the shower again. If you’re sure your home receives water at the right pressure, then you may need to adjust your schedule a little bit. Water pressure decreases as more people tap into the utility line. Take showers when fewer people are using the water supply in order to avoid the problem. You may still experience low water pressure at times even after fixing problems. It is normal in many areas. For example, don’t expect to get good water pressure when you have a washing machine and sink running. Also, expect lower pressure in the morning and evening, since those are common times for other households to use lots of water. [Edit]Tips If you’re unsure where the problem is or need to perform maintenance on your water system, call a plumber. They can help you make repairs without the risk of damage to your home. The water pressure you can expect in your home changes depending on where you live. The water pressure is better for people who live in lower areas close to water facilities. If you live in the countryside, well water is a better option than utility lines. The water pump in the well can cause low pressure when it breaks down. If your showerhead leaks, wrap Teflon tape around the end of the shower arm before attaching the showerhead to it. [Edit]Warnings Increasing the water pressure can cause a lot of problems for your home water system. Too much pressure leads to burst pipes, so work at your own risk and have a plumber oversee pressure booster installs. [Edit]Things You’ll Need [Edit]Cleaning and Changing a Showerhead Towel Slip-joint pliers Wrench Bowl or bag Vinegar Old toothbrush or toothpick [Edit]Fixing Problems on the Water Line New pipes Epoxy putty Braided water hoses [Edit]Improving Continual Low Pressure Garden hose Water pressure gauge Pressure booster [Edit]References ↑ https://www.bobvila.com/articles/how-to-change-a-shower-head/ ↑ https://www.bobvila.com/articles/how-to-clean-a-shower-head/ ↑ https://www.bobvila.com/articles/how-to-clean-a-shower-head/ ↑ https://morningchores.com/how-to-clean-a-shower-head/ ↑ https://womenyoushouldknow.net/fix-it-friday-how-to-get-rid-of-nasty-showerhead-buildup/ ↑ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wa1OBA5H6zI&feature=youtu.be&t=259 ↑ https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-16/best-shower-heads-high-pressure-rain-shower-and-eco-friendly ↑ https://www.bobvila.com/articles/how-to-install-a-shower-head/ ↑ https://www.familyhandyman.com/plumbing/plumbing-repair/water-pipe-replacement-cures-for-low-water-pressure/ ↑ https://www.bobvila.com/articles/increase-water-pressure/ ↑ https://www.familyhandyman.com/plumbing/boost-low-water-pressure-in-your-house/ ↑ https://www.bobvila.com/articles/low-water-pressure/ ↑ https://myhealth.alberta.ca/alberta/pages/Flushing-Your-Water-Heater.aspx ↑ https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/how-to/a1053/4202333/ ↑ https://www.familyhandyman.com/plumbing/boost-low-water-pressure-in-your-house/ ↑ https://www.familyhandyman.com/plumbing/boost-low-water-pressure-in-your-house/ ↑ https://www.ofwat.gov.uk/households/supply-and-standards/water-pressure/