If you feel that your shower water pressure is weak, you can fix it without ripping out all the pipes. There may be corrosion in the water pipes, and there can be other causes of low water pressure.
However, it is important for you to know the measurement of your shower’s flow, in gallons per minute (GPM), so that you can be sure that it is really low.
Things You Will Need
- 5-gallon bucket
- Stopwatch or timer
- White vinegar
- New shower head (as needed)
How To Test The Flow of Your Shower Head
You should switch on the shower and let it run at maximum capacity for about one minute. Thereafter, get a 5-gallon bucket and place it under the water flow. Take your stopwatch and start it immediately the water starts hitting the bucket. Stop the watch when the bucket is full.
Divide 5 by the number of minutes on your stopwatch to get the GPM. For instance, if the time on your stopwatch is 2.5 minutes, if you divide 5 by 2.5, you will get 2 GPM. Standard flow rate is between 2 GPM and 2.5 GPM while 1.5 GPM is low.
Solutions To Low Shower Pressure
There are many ways of fixing low water pressure in a shower system without calling a plumber. Some of them are discussed below so that you can have a successful result.
Replace Your Water-Restricting Shower Head
There will be shower flow restriction if your shower head experiences low flow. Also, if you install a water-restricting device or shower filter in your shower head, there may be low water pressure during the showering process. You may need to remove these water restricting devices so as to enhance water flow.
Relevant article: How to Clean a Shower Head?
Remove Limescale Buildup
As mineral deposits and limescale build-up on your shower head with time, it may lead to blockage. To get rid of limescale, unscrew your shower head and soak in a solution of white vinegar for about eight hours.
Thereafter, get a toothpick and use it to get rid of dirt in the spray nozzles. Fix back the shower head, and turn on the faucet to see how the water is now flowing. If this does not solve the problem, you may need to get a new shower head.
Check the Curb-Side Main Shutoff
The curb-side main of your house may not be fully turned on, and this can cause low water pressure. There is a shut-off valve at the curbside, and you need to be sure that it is fully turned on.
A valve with a round handle should fully rotate in an anticlockwise direction. On the other hand, a valve with a lever-type handle should have a parallel lever when compared to the water pipe.
Check the Main Shutoff in the House
The main shutoff valve may be turned down by the previous owner of the home or construction workers. The previous homeowner may do so to reduce the consumption of water by residents, which will certainly cause low water pressure. Also, construction workers may shut it off and fail to turn it on to maximum capacity when they finish their job.
You should locate the shutoff valve turn in the anticlockwise direction if it has a round handle. For a valve with a lever-type handle, make sure that it is parallel to the water pipe. If the valve is rusted or corroded, do not force it or else you are going to damage the pipe.
This can lead to flooding in the house, and it can be disastrous until you get someone that can help you switch off the curb-side main. If the valve proves difficult, get a plumber to fix the problem immediately.
Replace Your Single-Handle Volume Control
The volume valve system on a shower faucet with a single handle affects the water pressure of a shower. If the system is faulty, it will reduce the water pressure of your shower.
Repairing this system can be a herculean task, hence, a replacement will certainly be your best option. Engage your plumber to carry out the replacement so that you will be able to get the most favourable outcome.
Relevant Article: How to Change a Shower Head?
Open Up In-Line Shut-Off Valves
If your shower system comes with small fixture shutoff valves, you need to check them properly to be sure that they are properly open. These shutoff valves are the same as those that come with sink supply lines.
Usually, they are on individual branch pipelines, and their major work is to provide an emergency stoppage for the water system. They make local area work convenient because you won’t have to put off the water in the whole home.
If these shutoff valves are in your shower system, they would probably be situated close to the supply point. If the supply pipes of your shower are located in the basement, these valves would be situated on the pipes that lead to your shower.
Just like the main water shutoff valves, there is every possibility that these small fixture shutoff valves are not open to their maximum capacity. This will reduce the water pressure you will experience with your shower. To fix the problem, turn the valves in an anticlockwise direction until they turn on to full capacity.
If Everything Fails
After all your effort, if the low shower pressure persists, you should not hesitate to call your plumber. A comprehensive check may be required so as to discover the root cause of the problem. A professional will be in the best position to carry out adequate troubleshooting, which will lead to a perfect solution to the problem.
On A Final Note
Improving the water pressure of your shower head will certainly enhance your bathroom experience. You can achieve the therapeutic effect of showering when the water flow is perfect.
If you use this guide properly, you will be able to fix the problem without calling a plumber thereby saving you some funds. But if your effort does not pay off, calling a plumber is not a bad idea.
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