Bathing with a low water pressure shower can be quite annoying.
Not only does the trickle of water fail to wash your body adequately, but it also takes up your time and makes you have longer showers.
Plus you also find it difficult to rinse your shampoo off your hair and your hot shower moments aren’t so pleasurable anymore. And worse off, low water pressure could indicate an even bigger problem with your home's plumbing.
That said, in this article, we’ll show you how to increase water pressure in your shower in 12 steps by yourself. Whether you want to fix the low water pressure in the whole house or one regular shower head, these solutions will fix them.
How to Test if Your Shower Has Low Pressure
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to carry out a little experiment to determine if your shower pump spouts water with low water pressure.
So you can try out this simple test to ascertain if your shower water pressure is indeed low or not. You’ll need a 1-liter container for collecting water and a timer for this test.
- First, position your 1-liter container under your shower.
- Then turn the shower on to full power.
- Use your timer to record the time it takes to fill your container.
Hint: A low water pressure shower head will take more than 6 seconds to fill the 1-liter container.
Another simple way to test for low pressure in city water is by placing a 5-gallon bucket under the shower and turning on the shower to full strength.
Begin timing the water flow the instant water drops in the bucket to when it begins overflowing. This way, we’re trying to get the gallon per minute (GPM).
Since we’re using a 5-gallon bucket, you’re going to divide 5 by the time it took to fill the bucket. So if it took 2 minutes, it’ll be 5/2 = 2.5 gpm.
As a rule of thumb, 1.5 gpm means the showerhead has a low flow rate, while 2 gpm is the WaterSense standard in the US.
What Are The Causes of The Low Pressure in Your Shower?
Now you’re sure the pressure in your shower head is low, several reasons could be responsible for you experiencing low water pressure in your shower;
Clogged shower head
A clogged shower head occurs when mineral deposits collect in the holes of the showerhead over time. This can restrict water flow in your shower.
Leaking or clogged pipes
The low water pressure in your shower could be a result of a leak or clogged pipes in your plumbing system. Also, mineral deposits could collect in your water supply pipe and disrupt water flow.
And if there’s a leak in the plumbing system (however little), it can also result in low water pressure in your shower in the entire house.
Old mains pipes and shower heads
Sometimes, the low pressure in your shower that you’re experiencing might not be from your house. It may be from the mains supply in your area.
This is because local authorities usually find it difficult to upgrade old pipes without disrupting the water supply to homes.
Secondly, old shower heads may pump water with low pressure causing the flowing water to trickle.
Worn-out mixing valve and closed valve
A mixing valve is a component of your shower that controls the quantity of hot and cold water your shower head receives.
When the valve wears out, it could impact both the temperature and pressure of your water flow.
Consequently, if you’ve got a valve that’s partially closed, this could also result in low water pressure in your shower.
The quick fix for this is to ensure your main shut-off valve, water meter valve, and all inline valves are fully open.
Broken water pressure regulator
The pressure regulator keeps your home within a safe water pressure range (usually between 46-60 psi). So if the regulator becomes faulty, it could send the pressure soaring very high or dropping too low.
However, you’ll need the help of a plumber to fix this problem as the pressure regulator isn’t located in the supply line within your house.
Issues with your water heater
Sometimes, you may find that you’re experiencing low water pressure in your hot water shower while your water shower could be flowing fine.
There might be a problem with your hot water heater. It could be that sediment is blocking the hot water or your plumbing has got issues.
The good thing is that most of these problems can be DIYed as a little home improvement project. Let’s explore how to increase water pressure in your shower.
How to Increase Your Shower’s Water Pressure at Home in 12 Steps
Now we’re going to go through several easy steps to increase the water pressure in your shower. We’ll begin with the quick fix and proceed to more difficult exercises.
1. Clean your shower head
Since tap water contains minerals, it’s only a matter of time before your shower heads become blocked with mineral deposits, limescale, and sediment.
So to make water flow better instead of trickling, we’re going to unscrew the showerhead from its waterline. You can either do this by hand or if you’re having trouble getting it out, use a wrench.
And you’ll also have to remove the screen filter and scrub both the head and filter with a toothbrush under a stream of cold water. Do this for the shower nozzle, too.
And if you spot any mineral buildup in the nozzle holes, soak the showerhead in a bowl filled with white vinegar overnight (at least eight hours). Then remove the scale buildup by poking a tiny object such as a needle or toothpick into the holes.
If the mineral deposits fail to come off, then, it’s probably time to get a new showerhead.
2. Remove the flow restrictor (if present)
If the previous method doesn’t improve water pressure in your tap after all the deposits have been removed, remove the flow restrictor.
Flow restrictors basically reduce water usage. It’s an employ by manufacturers and the National Energy Act (in the US) to cut water bills and protect the environment.
However, you’ll mostly feel the impact of flow restrictors if you live in an area with low water pressure as the flow restrictor will limit your water flow to trickles.
However, this another quick fix for a lower pressure shower.
To solve this, first, remove the showerhead from the wall or its waterline using a wrench or pliers. Then take out the filter screen and rubber gasket to expose the plastic flow restrictor.
You can then widen the holes of the regulator to allow the passage of more water or remove it (and maybe the filter) altogether using a paper clip or any such object.
Finally, reassemble the parts and check if there’s increased water pressure in the shower.
3. Get a new shower head with better water pressure
After trying those quick fixes without seeing good results, it may be time to say goodbye to your low pressure shower head.
Get a low-pressure shower head with fewer or smaller holes. These heads release more powerful jets of water thereby increasing water flow in regions with low water pressure. If you use shower extensions, make sure you use the best shower head extensions because sometimes, they can clog the water too.
You can also go for an older shower head without a flow restrictor. Newer ones tend to have flow regulators and reduce the amount of water flowing.
Although, before getting shower heads with increased water pressure, double check to be sure it’s legal in your area.
If this still doesn’t increase water pressure in your shower, we’ll explore more options.
4. Check for kinks in the water line
Now, the problem might not be from your shower head but other sources.
If your home has got a flexible supply line (handheld shower head), first check if there’s a twist or bend in the line or hose, then try to straighten it out. Also, check if there’s a braided line on your water heater.
If you have problems fixing these, a simple solution will be to get a new hose and easily replace the bad one.
5. Check for leaks or water spots
Leaking pipes can impact the amount of water flowing into your shower. Plus they can do great harm to your home.
So make sure you check the water line from your shower head to where it enters the house. Also, check the lines in your basement.
If you find any such drips, a temporary solution for the problem will be to shut the water off and apply epoxy putty. Afterward, call a plumber. And if you’ve got showerheads with cracked or worn-out threads (the part that goes into the shower arm), you’ll have to replace them.
6. Check that the water main shut-off valve is fully open
If you newly moved into your house or recently had building work done in your home, it’s likely the previous homeowner or construction guys shut off the shower valve.
So check the main shut-off valve (which you could possibly find in the basement or outside the wall where the water mains enter your home) and turn the lever parallel to the pipe to fully open it.
And if it’s got a round handle, turn it clockwise. Then turn the shower on to check if the water pressure in your shower has increased.
Hint: Both the knob and lever are usually red or brightly colored. And if the water valve is corroded and rusty or too difficult to turn, call a plumber to avoid breaking it and flooding your home.
If this doesn’t increase the water pressure in your shower, we’ll have to look elsewhere.
7. Try the curb-side water main shut-off
You may be able to increase water by checking if the problem lies with the curb-side or street-side water main valve.
This valve supplies water to your mains supply and is what your water provider works with.
First, get a water key. Then locate the curb-side water mains at the point (outside of your home) where the water main enters your home.
You’ll find the shut-off valve and water meter. Check if the water valve is turned all the way up (if it’s a lever). If it isn’t, use the water key to grip the valve and turn it all the way up. And if it’s got a knob instead, turn it counterclockwise.
As for the water meter, you have no business with it. So call your water company if it needs attention.
8. Check that the water heater shut-off valve is open
Sometimes, the shower water pressure for cold water may be good while that for hot water may be low.
In this case, the problem may be from your water heater. To solve this, first, check if the water heater shut-off valve is opened halfway, then open it by turning it counterclockwise. You can find the water heater at your house’s bottom level or better still, check your water heater manual.
If this doesn’t fix your low shower’s water pressure, then you’ll have to flush your water heater. The next method of increasing water pressure will show you how.
9. Flush the hot water tank
The debris blocking your pipes could be responsible for your low water pressure.
And to flush all the debris, we’ll have to cut off the power supply to the hot water tank. Or switch it to pilot or vacation mode if yours is a gas model.
Also, turn off the valve that supplies cold water. Then tightly connect a garden hose from the water heater to your yard. But be careful to avoid breaking the threads.
Next up, open any hot water faucet inside your home and run hot water till the water comes out completely clear. This will drain water out while letting air into your tank.
If water fails to flow out of your hose, open the drain spigot valve and/or the pressure relief valve till water flows out and you’ve completely drained the tank.
When you’ve drained the tank, open the cold water valve again for around 15 seconds to dislodge sediment in the tank and those blocking the pipes. You’ll repeat this process a couple more times till the water is free of sediment before closing the drain spigot.
But that’s not all…
Fill the water heater with cold water again, close the valve again, and open both the drain spigot and pressure relief valves to completely flush out the remaining debris and buildup.
Once again, close the drain spigot valve but don’t close the pressure relief valve (to let air out). Then open the cold water to half-fill the tank before closing the pressure relief valve. At this point, you’re done, and you can turn your electricity back on.
If this doesn’t increase the water pressure in your shower, we’ll try a little trick. Read on.
10. Turn off other appliances
Showering and running multiple appliances that use water (like your washing machine or dishwasher, etc.) at the same time could be putting a strain on your water supply.
And if you live in an area with low pressure, this might be why you’re experiencing low water pressure.
A quick fix for increasing water pressure may be to stop using other appliances to reduce the demand on your home’s water.
In essence, showering first before running multiple appliances like your washing machine can improve water pressure in your shower.
11. Take your shower during off-hours
You can experience low water pressure when bathing in peak hours like when others are also showering for school or work.
So after you’ve tried the various ways of increasing the water pressure, try showering when there’s less demand on the water utility line.
You may be surprised to see your shower produce more powerful jets of water.
12. Install a shower pump
When all else fails to increase the water pressure in your low water pressure shower at home, you might have to install a shower pump.
While this is an expensive option, but it’s sure to boost the pressure in your shower. And you may also need the services of a plumber to install the shower pump as you may need to cut and weld the power lines. Plus they’ll help you determine if your home can handle the increased water pressure.
Now we’ve explored all the options on how to increase water pressure in shower at our disposal. If you still observe your shower has low water pressure, it may be as a result of more complicated issues with your plumbing system, and you’ll need to call in a plumber.
What Shower Head Can Increase Shower Water Pressure at Home?
One common question asked by homeowners with low water pressure showers is: are there shower heads that increase water pressure?
Of course, there are!
The best showerheads that squirt water with great pressure have the following features.
- They tend to have a shape that looks like a doorknob with nozzles distributed all over their face.
- Their interior is usually made with brass as they’re corrosion-resistant. While the exterior is designed with metal finish or plastic. It’s also commonplace for their nozzles to be made of neoprene since they resist buildup better than metal and plastic.
- Another impressive feature that manufacturers use to increase water pressure in showers is an innovative concept of drawing air from the environment into the shower head. Some other manufacturers use plungers and channels in the head to compress the flow of water. These increase pressure in water.
- The best showerheads have replaceable or cleanable filters to remove buildup for increased water pressure.
- They also have spray settings like rainfall (to spout water with the feel of rainfall), blast, high-pressure jet, and gentle spray.
There are many other features to consider when buying a showerhead to fix your low water pressure worries.
However, going by these features, these 3 products stand out.
1. SR SUN RISE ceiling mount rainfall showerhead system
Check the latest price on Amazon.
2. Aisoso high-pressure rain fixed showerhead
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3. Aqua Elegante massage & mist shower head high pressure
Check the latest price on the Aqua Elegante website.