This Is What Causes Low Water Pressure in a Shower
Are you trying to figure out what causes low water pressure in a shower? If yes, you should check out our guide by clicking here.
There’s nothing worse than choosing one more episode of Friends over showering before bed. You’ll need to shower in the morning, which tampers with your ability to hit the ground running. Murphy’s Law says you’ll jump in the shower and discover you barely have enough water pressure to get your hair wet.
Low water pressure isn’t only an inconvenience on those days when you don’t have time to linger in the shower. It could mean you have deeper problems in your home’s water system. Or, maybe you have a dirty shower head.
To help solve the mystery, read more about what causes low water pressure in the shower.
Check Your Showerhead First
One of the first things to check out when you don’t have sufficient water pressure for showering is the showerhead. If you have a clogged nozzle, it impacts water flow.
Mineral deposits are the usual culprits, especially if you have hard water. You have a few options to clean the crud.
Remove the showerhead and let it soak in a solution of vinegar and water.
Fill a plastic bag with the vinegar and water solution, put it over the showerhead, and secure with a rubber band.
If you have a nozzle made from rubber, you can try massaging the mineral deposits away, or gently scrubbing with a soft toothbrush. Whatever method you use, make sure you run water through the nozzle before showering.
Don’t forget the filter screen! You’ll usually find it where the shower head connects to the pipe. Remove it with tweezers or needle-nose pliers. Clean the filter gently with warm water and a soft toothbrush.
Sometimes a showerhead is so far gone, the only solution is replacing it.
Do You Have a Pressure-Balancing Shower Mixer?
When you flush the toilet, do you notice a drop in shower water pressure? Okay, maybe it’s not you flushing, but one of the kids. When will they ever learn about privacy?
The point is flushing the toilet should not result in your losing water pressure in the shower.
If you notice the drop in pressure, but still have plenty of water, the problem could be in your shower mixing valve. The primary role of the mixing valve is to control the water temperature by mixing cold and hot water.
Here’s why flushing a toilet could impact water pressure.
When the toilet flushes, it draws cold water from your shower. The mixing valve senses a drop in cold water pressure. It responds by restricting hot water pressure.
You get a blast of hot water. Then, you feel the drop in water pressure. It may feel like forever, but it only lasts about 30 seconds while the toilet bowl refills.
The solution is simple—update from a pressure-balancing to a thermostatic mixing valve.
Look for a Reduction Valve
If you’ve recently moved into your home and found that you have low shower water pressure, search for a water pressure reduction valve.
Maybe the previous owner installed one, and you didn’t notice it when you had your final walkthrough. It’s not exactly something the average homebuyer looks for anyway. If your home has one, you’ll find it on or near the main water line, usually next to the shut-off valve.
Once you locate the valve, see if you’re able to open it all the way. Even a partially closed pressure reduction valve can result in a significant decrease in water pressure.
Mineral Buildup and Low Water Pressure
What do you do if your troubleshooting doesn’t reveal the cause of your water pressure problem? You dive a little deeper into your plumbing system. It’s time to look at the pipes.
The age of your plumbing system and water quality both affect water flow.
If you live in an older home, you may have limescale buildup in the pipes. Limescale consists of calcium and magnesium deposits. When it builds up over time in your plumbing system, it reduces water flow.
Newer plumbing systems constructed with PVC or copper piping don’t have as many problems with mineral buildup. If you have steel pipes, they’re more susceptible.
For this detective work, you should consider calling your plumber. Plumbers can clean out the pipes and, at the same time, inspect them to ensure you don’t have breaks or the potential for future problems.
Is Pressure Low All the Time?
You may have more than enough pressure when you turn on the cold water tap, but it drops when you turn on the hot water. Getting to the bottom of this issue may turn up a problem with your water heater. Before you start worrying about whether you need to replace the water heater, consider these things first:
- Is the shut off valve entirely or partially closed?
- When was the last time you flushed your water heater?
- Do you have a gravity-fed system?
- How old is your water heater?
Checking for a closed shut off valve is the easiest fix. Flushing the tank comes in second.
The other two contributors to low water pressure have to do with age. You may need to update your water heater or change the piping. To solve the problem, you’ll want to consult with your plumber.
When Water Pressure Drops Suddenly
Most of the issues mentioned up to now cause a drop in water pressure over time. A drastic drop in shower water pressure could indicate a leak in your plumbing system.
Plumbing leaks restrict water from flowing properly, which results in an abrupt drop in pressure.
You can do some initial investigation on your own by shutting off the faucets. Then check your water meter. Wait a minimum of three hours (without using any water), then check the meter and look for any change in the numbers.
If the numbers change, it’s time to contact your plumber to detect and repair the leak as soon as possible.
Need Help with a Water Pressure Issue?
Now that you know a few tricks to troubleshoot low water pressure in your shower, you shouldn’t have trouble identifying whether you have a clogged shower head nozzle, a closed pressure reduction valve, or the wrong shower mixer. Issues such as mineral buildup in your plumbing system or a leak somewhere in the piping usually require help from a qualified plumbing professional.
The experts at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing are available 24/7 to talk with you about your plumbing needs. Whether you need repairs, installation, or plumbing maintenance, we guarantee prompt service! Contact our team today.