How to Increase Shower Pressure?
At the end of a long day at work, people always look forward to a good warm shower, which includes an invigorating spray of water to relax and recharge. However, a good warm shower is only possible if there is good water pressure, which we always take for granted. Low water pressure makes many homes suffer from its obvious effects – the most common issue would be homeowners now face the problem of slow water dribble that may result in an unsatisfying shower experience. If you want to know how to fix low water pressure in shower, you would then need to investigate and understand the root cause of the problem!
Common Causes of Low Pressure Shower:
For any property owner, dealing with low water pressure in shower can be frustrating and the source of the low water pressure in shower is not always obvious. It may take a thorough inspection of the water path in the house. Sometimes, you may even need the assistance of a plumber to track the problem and fix the water pressure. Some of the main causes of the low water pressure in shower are:
- Clog: A clog takes place when a variety of minerals and sediments begin to deposit inside the water pipes, which eventually leads to lowering of water pressure in the shower.
- Partially Shut Valves: The consistent low pressure of water in central areas or throughout the home means that the water valve is failing or is partially stuff. For this scenario, the immediate need is to check the valve!
- 5gpm Restriction: The standard showerheads in the United States of America are designed to deliver 2.5 gallons of water per minute. Many shower companies have since reduced the flow of water by adding flow restrictors, resulting in very weak shower pressure.
How Do You Check Your Water Pressure / Flow Rate?
Low water pressure in shower and tub can be irritating for the user therefore it is necessary to have sufficient water pressure to ensure a good shower. It is possible to check the water pressure without using elaborate and invasive techniques. How to do that, you may ask. Well, here’s an easy way to do so –
The first step is to get a water bucket and a stopwatch ready. Place the bucket under the shower head and turn the faucet on then time 10 seconds on the stopwatch. At the end of that 10 seconds, turn off the faucet. Now, measure the amount of water (in gallons) in the bucket with the help of measuring cup. With the measured quantity of water, multiply the number by 6 and the final number will give the flow rate in gallons per minute. If you live in the United States of America, then as per law, your showerheads should have a flow rate of 2.5 GPM. If the measured flow rate is on the high side, you may consider replacing the showerhead as it will help in water saving and simultaneously reduce water heating cost as well.
Another way of checking water pressure or flow rate is to make a quick call to the plumber. The plumber will check the flow rate and pressure with the help of a water meter. Besides that, he is also able to install a device at the water source, which will tell you exact amount of water flowing per minute through the pipe.
Ways to Increase Shower Pressure:
Starting your day with a low-pressure shower can be unpleasant thus, how to increase water pressure in the shower may be what you are searching for. Increasing shower pressure can be a daunting job if you do not know the real cause of low pressure. However, once you know the problem, increasing shower pressure becomes an easy task. Here are a few ways to increase pressure in the shower:
1. Remove Flow Restrictors:
To comply with the laws and regulations, almost all the manufacturers install flow regulators inside the showers. This limits the flow of water to a maximum of 2.5gpm. These flow restrictors are specifically designed to conserve energy and water by reducing the water pressure output.
However, due to sedimentation and clogging, the water pressure may be reduced. The mineral deposits and clogs can be removed easily by taking out the flow restrictor and cleaning it. Once the flow restrictor has been cleaned, the overall performance of the fixture will see an improvement. However, it is important to note that permanently removing the restrictor may result in wastage of water, which leads to higher utility bills.
Locate And Remove Flow Restrictor From Fixed Shower Head:
Wrap a clean cloth around the bent shower pipe (also known as the ‘shower arm’), which is connected to the shower wall with the help of the connector nut. Around the arm pipe, tighten a pipe wrench and with the help of an adjustable wrench, grip the connector nut and turn it counterclockwise. This will help you to free the shower head from the arm.
Majority of showers have a washer inside the connector nut, which is fitted to provide a tight seal as well as to hold the mesh filter. To get to the flow restrictor, remove the washer and mesh filter. Once both the washer and mesh filter are removed, you will be able to see the flow restrictor. Then, using a flat-head screwdriver, remove the flow restrictor from the fixture.
Clean the flow restrictor and put the mesh filter back in place followed by the washer. Wrap the plumber’s tape and hand-tighten the connector nut on the shower arm. Lastly, turn the nut and tighten the fixtures with the pipe wrench.
Locate and Remove Flow Restrictor From Handheld Shower Head:
For handheld shower heads, almost all brands put the flow restrictors inside the handle end, which is linked to the tubing. Alternatively, it may also be placed inside the holder that connects to the shower arm. To locate the exact position of the flow restrictor, it’s strongly recommended to refer back to the shower head manual.
- For showers with the flow restrictor inside the handle end: Wrap the connector nut with a piece of cloth. Then, grip the connector nut with the adjustable pliers and turn it in a counterclockwise direction. This will help loosen the nut and separate the handle from the flexible tubing. Remove the washer and filter screen that is fixed inside the handle to expose the restrictor. Take the flow restrictor out, clean it and fix everything back accordingly.
- For showers with the flow restrictor inside the holder: Wrap the shower arm and connector nut with a cloth. Loosen the connector nut with the help of the adjustable pliers. Once the nut is free from the arm, remove the washer and the filter screen followed by the restrictor. Clean the restrictor thoroughly and put all the fixtures back in their respective places.
2. Use Amplifying Shower Heads:
Different manufacturers use different technologies to solve the problem of low water pressure through their shower heads. Amplifying Shower Heads, also known as ‘High-pressure shower heads’, can be used to increase water force with the same amount of flow. With the amplifying shower heads, water through the shower head is forced, allowing you to get a powerful spray of water irrespective of the low water pressure. This can be achieved with either a specific pressure chamber design or adjustable spray settings. Pressure chamber adds air and pressure to the water and forces it out at a higher pressure.
Advantage(s) of using amplifying shower heads:
- The amplifying shower head comes with adjustable spray pattern.
- It gives better showering experience.
- Most of the amplifying showerheads use less amount of water as compared to the standard shower heads which means that you can save energy and money along with water.
Disadvantage(s) of using amplifying shower heads:
Amplifying shower heads deliver less water.
3. Clean your shower head:
Shower heads may start spraying water unevenly because their tiny holes are clogged and plugged with sedimentation and mineral deposits. Over a prolonged period of time, the tiny nozzles may get completely clogged, leaving you with poor water flow or pressure. Hence, to maintain the performance of the shower head, cleaning is essential.
To clean the shower head quickly, use a lime removing product and spray it onto the nozzles. This agent will help to loosen the deposited scale. Alternatively, you may fill a plastic bag with vinegar, attach it to the shower head and soak the shower head in vinegar for a couple of hours or even overnight. The submerging of the shower head in vinegar helps to clear the clogs. For deep cleaning, remove the filter mesh from the inside of the shower head, clean it thoroughly and fix the mesh back.
4. Check and Replace Water Volume Control:
The shower water volume valve, which can be used to turn off or on the water and to reduce the water flow, helps to conserve water and energy. However, over a period of time due to wear and tear, the valve may be deposited with minerals or start to leak. Hence, whenever you face low-pressure problems, do remember to check the water volume control valve and replace it when needed.
5. Replace Old Pipes:
If you are still not getting the answers of how to increase shower pressure even after following all the specified measures above-mentioned, then it is time to think of replacing those old pipes. Old pipes may be deposited with dirt or minerals after a period of time, or they may be suffering from corrosion. Replacing the damaged pipe can then help in improving the water pressure.
How to increase shower pressure? Follow these 3 simple tips:
- Clean your water pipes and shower heads regularly.
- Try to open the in-line shut-off valves.
- Replace old shower heads with the new ones, when needed.
By following those tips diligently, you can most certainly increase the shower pressure.