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December 7, 2022

5 Simple Steps on How to Increase Water Pressure in your Shower

Taking a warm or cool shower is one of life’s rejuvenating privileges. But if you’re finding your tap drizzling slowly instead of blasting water, you’re having water pressure issues with your shower. 

That’s why we’ve shared our 5 simple steps so you can get your shower pressure issues resolved before calling a plumber.

What Causes Low Water Pressure in my Shower?

Let’s briefly go over how low water pressure may occur in your home. Knowing the common causes of the problem will ensure you’re one step closer to solving it.  

  • Plumbing System Leaks or Blockages
  • Older Main Pipes (commonly in cities)
  • Faulty or Broken Pump 
  • Overall Low Water Supply 

How to Increase Water Pressure in Your Shower

Most of the following tips to remedy low water pressure in the shower are cheap; they’ll cost you next to nothing! 

It should only take roughly 20 mins to diagnose and fix. You may need the following tools ready: 

  • Stopwatch (or Smart Phone with timer) 
  • 5 Gallon (18.9 L) bucket or similar size
  • White Vinegar (Acetic Acid)
  • Toothpick & Toothbrush
  • New Showerhead (if needed)

Step 1: Diagnosing if your Shower has Low Pressure

If you need to diagnose if your shower is running slowly, use a 5-gallon bucket and run the shower to full. Your showerhead should have a standard flow rate between 1.5 and 2.5 gallons per minute (or GPM). Note that lower flow eco showerheads hover around 1.5 GPM. 

Set up your timer or stopwatch to correspond with your shower running with the bucket catching the water flow underneath. Stop your timer when the bucket is filled and divide that time by the number of gallons in the bucket to get your actual GPM. 

Compare this number to your showerhead's advertised GPM. If your actual GPM is much lower, then you have low pressure. 

Step 2: Clean your Showerhead & Remove Scaling

Showerheads can clog eventually but thankfully it’s an inexpensive fix. 

Most showerheads can be easily unscrewed your showerhead by hand or with simple house tools. Remove your showerhead and if it has a filter, ensure to remove and clean it as well. 

Take a toothbrush and a toothpick the clean the little holes on the showerhead. This will help remove any scaling or minerals on it. 

If the scaling is tough, it’s suggested to immerse your showerhead in a bowl of white vinegar to help descale it. It’s best to leave it in white vinegar for approximately 8 hours, either overnight or during your work day. 

Once it’s clean, reinstall the showerhead and put your shower on full blast. If your shower’s water pressure has increased then hurray, you’re done!

Step 3: Check The Curb & Your Home’s Main Shutoff Valve

If you’ve noticed your entire home has fairly low pressure, a partially off main shutoff valve could be the culprit. 

A water meter and a shutoff valve are located where the water main enters your property. Ensure it’s tuned on by either rotating the round handle counterclockwise or having the lever parallel to the water pipe. You may not be allowed to fiddle with curbside meters. You can always call your water provider to check on this for you. 

Inspect the water main valve at the point after it enters your home. If the pipe looks corroded and/or the valve is resistant to turning, do not force it. You risk breaking the valve or pipe, causing flooding in your home. Ensure to contact a plumber first

Step 4: Check & Open In-Line Shutoff Valves

Your plumbing system has emergency stops just in case pipes burst or leak. Your home may have in-line shutoff valves, which are located near the source of the supply point (ie: the sink or shower). For example, these valves will commonly be underneath the sink or even in the ceiling or below the shower. 

Step 5: Replace the Showerhead

If you’ve tried steps 2-4 to no avail, you may just need a new showerhead. You can always check with a plumber for recommendations, but you can always try a higher-flow model. 

Before doing this though, areas have restrictions on showerhead pressure, so make sure to do your research in terms of what GPM is allowed. 

When in Doubt, Leave it to A Plumber

If you’ve tried a few steps to no avail, there may be a more complicated fix to consider such as faulty single-handed water volume control or other possible issues. Contact us if you’re still wondering how to increase water pressure in your shower and we can help you!

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