When we hop in the shower, we expect to feel a strong stream of water flowing from our shower head. We not only need to be able to rinse the suds off of our body, but it should also be comforting and refreshing before or after a long day.
If you get in the shower and you are met with low pressure or no pressure at all, it can leave you feeling frustrated instead of refreshed. In the guide below, we will learn what causes low pressure in the shower and what you can do to remedy the problem if it occurs.
To test your water pressure, you will need a water pressure gauge and a pair of tongue-and-groove pliers. First, hook up your pressure gauge to an outside water spigot. Always connect it directly to the fixture, never to a hose. Before you do that, though, make sure there's no running water inside your house. Once it's connected, turn the water all the way on.
You should have a reading almost instantly on the dial of your water pressure gauge. A reading of 45 to 55 psi (pounds per square inch) is ideal. Typical home water pressure ranges from 40 to 50 psi and generally should not exceed 60 psi. If your gauge is reading below 45 psi, you have low water pressure.
What Causes Low Water Pressure In The Shower?
Old low-flow shower head
Many bathrooms have low-flow shower heads installed, and rightfully so. But when low-flow shower head s start to age, it can result in low shower pressure and a frustrating shower. It's ideal to have a low-flow shower head installed, but upgrading an old shower head will maximize your water pressure.
Clogged Shower head
It's not uncommon for shower heads to accumulate mineral deposits from hard water. Over time this will decrease the volume and flow of water through your shower head . To remove these deposits, unscrew the detachable shower head component and soak it in a bowl of vinegar overnight. Scrub the remaining deposits away with a toothbrush.
Blocked hot water system filter
Many hot water systems have filters on the inlet and outlet. Over time these filters will collect sediment, and over time, this will reduce the water pressure in your shower. Fortunately, these filters are easy to clean or replace.
Failing hot water system's tempering valve
Hot water systems also have tampering valves to make sure the water temperature doesn't get too hot. But similar to the filter and the shower head , they can malfunction and need to be replaced. Fortunately, it isn't expensive to replace them.
Main pressure problems
If plumbing work has been done on your system recently, the water meter valve may not be fully opened. On your side of the water meter, there's the main shut-off valve and inline valves that could be partially closed as well. Speak to a qualified plumber about checking these valves and evaluating the water pressure through your main supply.
Faulty water pressure regulator
A faulty water pressure regulator could be the culprit behind your low water pressure. A failed water pressure regulator normally causes a sudden increase in water pressure, but it can cause a sudden reduction.
Worn out single control shower volume valve
Single control showers have a volume valve that controls the water pressure. If the shower volume valve malfunctions, replacement is usually your only option. If you're having pressure problems in a single control shower, you should speak to an experienced plumber to see if your valve needs to be replaced.
Plumbing system or plumbing pipe issues, e.g, corroded water pipes
Problems with your plumbing system or pipes are the most complicated cause of low water pressure. Your pipes can become corroded or blocked over years of use, constricting your flow of water.
Leaks and other damage to your pipes can cause a loss of water, diminishing the flow of water into your home. If you suspect there may be damage to your plumbing system, you should speak to a plumber as soon as possible.
What Happens When Water Pressure is Too Low?
Low water pressure in your shower means it will be much harder to clean yourself, and you won't be able to enjoy your shower.
Sometimes low water pressure becomes apparent when you are using more than one fixture at a time. If you're in the shower and someone else uses the sink, you may notice a drastic difference in pressure.
You may also have problems washing everything down the drain, which can cause clogs.
People also Ask (FAQs)
Can a shower mixing valve cause low water pressure?
If a missing valve is defective or worn out, it will typically throw off the temperature of your water, but it can also affect the pressure.
Why does my new shower head have no pressure?
The first thing to do when you get a new shower head is check the settings. Low-flow shower heads have a flow restrictor that allows you to adjust the water pressure. You may need to adjust the flow restrictor.
When should a shower valve be replaced?
Many shower valves will last as long as your house. Unless there is an obvious problem with the valve, it shouldn't need to be replaced.
What happens when a mixing valve fails?
If a mixing valve fails, it will allow the hot and cold water to "cross-over," but there will be no visible signs of a leak. A failed mixing valve may make it seem like your water won't get hot enough.
Low water pressure in your shower can be a very frustrating issue. Fortunately, though, they are often easy to fix, and problems can be resolved with a simple DIY project. After reading this guide, you should be prepared to take action if you ever get in the show and your water isn't flowing like you need it to.
Ian Haynes is an expert writer who has successfully deployed over 500 plumbing pages and other related content. He has an excellent understanding of home plumbing issues and translates his experiences via Plumbing Lab so readers can have a better understanding of common household problems. Outside of his work, Ian likes exploring Brooklyn with his Labrador.