How to Improve Water Pressure in your Shower

Introduction

If you have low water pressure in the shower then you will know that it is not a good way to start your day.

The struggle to wash properly, the water cooling down before it reaches your body, the shampoo that you can never seem to rinse from your hair. So frustrating.

Fortunately, if you are suffering from low water pressure in the shower, there are a range of quick fixes that can improve the flow of water in your shower.

These include:

Cleaning out the sediment Replacing the shower head Installing a shower pump Installing a pressurised unvented cylinder Fitting an electric shower

Now, if you’re new to the plumbing world, this is where things can get a little complicated.

No doubt you’re wondering:

“How do I install a shower pump? How do I clean out the sediment? And what even is a pressurised unvented cylinder?”

All questions that are likely to overwhelm someone new to the plumbing world.

That’s why we’ve created this complete guide to increasing water pressure in your shower.

Taking you step-by-step through the world of low water pressure, we answer every question we’ve ever been asked about increasing pressure in the shower, so you can find the answer to your queries.

Escape The Pressure Of Having Low Water Pressure

And that’s it, my friend, how to increase water pressure in the shower without difficulties. Of course, it’s a good idea to try turning the valves or cleaning the showerhead first before moving on to the other solutions. You don’t want your money down the drain, do you?

I hope you find this post helpful, and I’m positive that you can increase the water pressure in your shower without having to call in the plumber. Provided that you have more questions, comment below, and I’ll try to answer right away. Break a leg!

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Common Causes Of Low Water Pressure

Before getting to work, you will have to determine what’s the problem. Is it something related to the plumbing? Is the showerhead faulty and needs to be replaced? Well, you don’t have to rely on pure guesswork – check out the following section.

1. Low-Flow Showerhead

The low-flow showerhead is no longer widely used, and the chances are that you can only find it in California nowadays. Admittedly, it works wonders in saving energy and reducing your water bills, but it’s a nightmare for shower lovers.

2. Blocked Showerhead

With time, limescale and mineral deposits will block those tiny holes of your showerhead, reducing water volume and ruin your shower experience. Lucky for you, the issue is not too difficult to resolve.

3. Flow Restrictor

Also known as the water restrictor, it restricts the water flow by 2.5 gallons per minute. In fact, this is a requirement imposed by the National Energy Act with a view to lowering people’s water bills and protecting the environment. 

4. Worn-Out Mixing Valve

A mixing valve is designed to control the water temperature by mixing hot and cold water. To illustrate, when someone in your family flushes the toilet, the shower temperature will drop, followed by the pressure. This usually lasts for 15-30 seconds only.

When stuck or worn out, the mixing valve can also affect the temperature and the water pressure. In this situation, you will need to call in a professional plumber, or perhaps you want to consider switching to a thermostatic valve, the ideal solution to the first problem.

5. Peak Periods

Is the water pressure low at all times or only at certain periods of the day? In multi-story buildings or neighborhoods with many residents, the water demand will surge and cause the water pressure to be temporarily low during peak hours, such as in the morning.

6. Plumbing System Issues

Issues regarding the plumbing system, such as leaky pipes, are usually challenging to deal with unless you are an experienced plumber. Therefore, it’s well-advised that you seek help from an expert.

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2. How to Use a Water Pressure Booster Pump

Sometimes, an entire city or town suffers from barely any water pressure. This indicates that the city is delivering the water supply to homes at a pressure of less than 40 psi. If this is the case, increasing water pressure will require installing a water pressure booster pump. A booster pump takes the water that comes in and uses an electric pump and pressure tank to increase the psi. You can set your pressure to your liking by using the top dial on the device. Pumps require installation of at least 3/4 inch copper or plastic water main in the house. The system operates by pressurizing the flowing water supply with compressed air and feeding that water into the home. The installation process is straightforward:

  • Attach the main water line that goes into the house to the booster pump
  • Attach the pump output to the water pressure tank
  • Attach the tank output to the house pipes

Booster pumps can be expensive, but they help with water flow in addition to pressure. The device makes it easy for multiple people to use the shower head or other water-based appliances at the same time. This step makes it easy to run a load of laundry even though someone has to take a shower in hot water. It adds convenience and saves time.

Mixer and digital showers:

These showers can be fitted to mains pressure systems or, alternatively, gravity-fed systems. Mains pressure from a combi boiler will usually give you a good flow of water in your shower. In gravity-fed systems, the water is supplied from a cold tank in your loft and from a hot water cylinder in your airing cupboard. Some systems use an internal pump to drive the water pressure –otherwise, it depends how high your tank is.

Check your shower head for blockage

Sometimes, things can get lodged into parts in our shower heads without us realizing it. These pieces of things don’t have to be very big, for none of the water pathways are holes in our shower heads are usually very big in size, so it is quite a normal reason for shower pressure to weaken.

In order to find what is blocking your shower head and where, the first step that you have to take is of course, to screw your shower head off of the water pipe. Afterward, carefully take apart your shower head piece by piece, meticulously checking each one of these parts for any particles which may be blocking it. After checking each part, I do recommend screwing it directly back in order to keep the correct pieces and their designated spots.

Once and if you do find where your shower head has been blocked by a particle oh, I highly recommend removing it. Sometimes this can be a very simple and easy task, and sometimes it can be a little bit harder. But I always recommend keeping a small hand drill, some bottlenose pliers, and a screwdriver on hand for these tasks.

Now all you’re going to have to do is put your shower head back together in the correct order, screw it back onto the water pipe in your shower, and check and see if the water pressure has improved.

Install a shower pump

In order to install a water pump or shower pump, you definitely have to have gone through many of the steps above and found that none helped. I only say this because you will probably have to purchase a water pump before being able to install one, of course, so I wouldn’t want you to spend money and time on something which could have been fixed otherwise. That said, I believe that installing a shower pump is one of the most effective ways, if not the most effective way, too improve the water pressure in your shower.

In case you don’t know, shower pumps work as follows: the pump is activated when the water is turned on in your shower, and as the water travels towards your shower from the water tank, it has to pass through the shower pump you have installed. Once the water is in the shower pump, the pump uses an impeller to boost the water pressure before it reaches your shower. this completely ensures that the water pressure reaching your shower is top-notch and top speed, for there really is no other way the water can go except for through the water pump.

I do know, however, that it is illegal to install a shower pump or water pump directly into mains water pressure, so I highly suggest staying far away from that. Otherwise, though this is a very easy and time efficient task, I also suggest seeking the help of a professional plumber, for they will know exactly what to do, where to put it, I’m will be much more efficient at their job.

What causes low water pressure in the shower?

Low water pressure at the shower head can occur for a wide variety of reasons.

The most common reasons are:

Your mains water system may be using old piping.

If you live in or close to a city or town centre, then it’s likely that your low water pressure is caused by the mains water system.

This is due to mains water systems in city and town centres using much older pipes.

It is also harder for local government to replace the piping due to the disruption it would cause in a city centre.

Your home water system may have undersized supply piping.

One of the most common reasons for low water pressure is undersized supply piping.

This is common in older houses where the original plumbing system is still in place. This will restrict the amount of water coming into your home and to the shower.

Again, it is quite disruptive to replace so it’s likely previous homeowners have not fixed the issue.

Your home water system may be clogged

Again, if you live in an older house, then you may be using old, iron piping in your home water system.

Iron is vulnerable to rusting which can break off and cause an obstruction within the pipe.

This issue will often be made worse if dirt, gravel or sand enters your system through older entry piping.

You have a “flow restricting” or “water saving” shower head

One common reason that is often overlooked is the shower head. Modern showers often use “flow restricting” or “water saving” shower heads.

Flow restricting shower heads were first introduced under The National Energy Act in the United States.

Many manufacturers in the UK have followed the example set by the US and are now installing water restrictors in an attempt to help homeowners reduce water bills and stop people wasting water.

You have an obstructed shut off valve

Another common reason that you may be experiencing low water pressure is an obstructed shut off valve.

If you’ve just bought a new home, or you’ve recently had building work done, then you should check that your shut off valve is fully open.

The shut-off valve is usually located under the kitchen sink. If you believe the water valve to be broken, contact a plumber immediately.

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3. Add A Pump

If home water pressure is an ongoing problem for you, not just in your shower but throughout your house, it may be time to consider a pump. (I honestly didn’t even know this option existed until researching this post!)

Special pumps to improve home water pressure have been on the market for some time now. They attach at the place where your water supply enters your house, and can significantly improve your in-home water pressure.

Having something like this installed is a fairly big job, making it worth looking for a professional who can handle it for you. This is a more involved project, but a worthwhile investment if your home’s water pressure is always weaker than you would like.

How to Increase Water Pressure in Your Shower?

There are several things you do to improve the water pressure in the shower and most of the tips will cost you nothing.

Go through our prepared list and find the most inexpensive way through it to improve the water pressure in your shower.

1. Blame The Showerhead

By law, many showerheads are designed to lessen the flow of water in order to deliver only a certain amount per minute. This is all well and good, but many times the principle might be taken a bit too far resulting in low water pressure.

How to Fix :

How to Fix :

A simple way to increase the water pressure in the showerhead is to purchase a new shower head – they’re inexpensive items – and look for the washer inside. This is designed to restrict the water flow, but you can widen this with a drill until the water flows properly.

This may solve the problem of a stingy showerhead, but if there’s an actual problem you might have to dig deeper. The head is the first place to look if you’re having pressure problems. Often the inside can become clogged, and this requires removing the head and cleaning out whatever may be causing the blockage. Showerheads are usually easy to screw off and on and don’t require a multitude of special tools.

2. Faulty Pipes

If clearing the showerhead doesn’t produce results, then the problem may be with the pipe itself. A galvanized pipe is one that is coated in molten zinc, and they are often no longer used in newer homes. This is because, over time, they may corrode and causes leakages, which can lead to most of the water escaping before it even gets to your shower.

The zinc in the pipe will corrode and rust, falling off the walls of the pipe and blocking the way. This may lead to water with a faint tinge of copper, as the flow has to pass through mounds of rusted metal.

How to Fix:

How to Fix:

Rust inside the pipes isn’t especially harmful; you may wish to install tap filters for drinking water, but otherwise, you can keep using water in the same way as you have been. This is only short-term, however, and you’ll eventually need to have the pipes replaced, especially if your shower is suffering from low-pressure. Different pipes suit different types of houses, with copper being appropriate in some cases and other materials – polyethylene, for example – suit others.

3. Check for A Flow Restrictor

Recently flow restrictors are introduced into the designs by showerhead manufacturers, to complete the requirement of the National Energy Act in the USA which was brought in to help the customers to reduce their water supply bills and to help the environment.

Flow Restrictors contain small holes that reduce the flow of water supply, maintaining a moderate pressure of water passing through the showerhead.

Picture Source:

Picture Source:

How to Fix:

If the water pressure in the shower is still not fixed then you should try to remove the flow restrictor. You can read the standard manual that came with your shower head or if you have lost it then you can go through the how-to remove flow restrictor from the shower head video. Check the water flow after removing the flow restrictor for the problem fix.

4. Check for Kinks

The kinks can also be one of the reasons for low water pressure. Checking for any kinks present in the hose or water line can be a smart move.

How to Fix:

If you have a flexible water line supplying water to your bathroom shower, make sure it is not twisted because it will make the water pressure very low.

5. Check The Valve

If you have recently got any plumber to your house to fix any other water issue, then you should check for the house main water valve in your house or the water valve that is supplying water to the bathroom shower. Sometimes plumbers left or forgot to turn the water valve fully on and that can make the water pressure low.

How to Fix:

How to Fix:

To increase the water pressure in shower make sure the water valve of your house is fully open.

6. Check for Leaks

Leaking water supply pipes can reduce the amount of water that reaches your shower. Also, leaking of water pipes installed in the housewalls can damage the walls and will cost you a lot to be fixed.

How to Fix:

How to Fix:

Check the water pipes for any leaks and call the plumbing professionals if you found one to fix it.

7. Hot And Cold Water Valve Shut Off

Sometimes the low water pressure issue can happen with the Hot and Cold water supply of the shower. Maybe one of them is supplying low water pressure in the shower.

How to Fix:

How to Fix:

If you have both hot and cold water supply in your shower and one of them is not supplying high-pressure water. Then you should check the hot and cold water shut-off valves in your house and make sure they both are fully open. 

8. A New Shower Pump

If you have checked all the issues listed above and reached here, then we are quite sure you haven’t found your solution yet.

The other reason for low water pressure in shower can be the shower pump. A shower pump is used to increase the pressure in shower.

How to Fix: 

How to Fix: 

If your shower is not working properly then you should install a new shower pump. Installing a new shower pump is not costly. 

If you don’t know how to replace the old shower pump then calling a professional plumber is possibly a good idea.

9. Taking Shower In Off-Hours

As an example, if you found that your shower is not providing pressured water in the morning. Then the reason might be that everyone in your area is using water for bathing, washing cars or cooking in the morning which can lower the supply of water in your house.

How to Fix:

How to Fix:

Try to take shower in the off-hours when you are sure that no one is using the water in your area.

10. Check the Appliances

Using water home appliances like washing machines, dishwashers, or watering the plants at the same time can decrease the supply of water to your bathroom.

How to Fix:

How to Fix:

Try not to use all the home appliances related to water use at the same time or take your shower before using any other appliances.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is low water pressure a sign of a leak?

Yes. This is the most obvious sign you are not maintaining a closed system.

Why is my water pressure low in one bathroom?

This is often the sign of a clog in the main water pipe to that bathroom. Try cleaning the pipes that enter the room.

Why is my shower water pressure suddenly low?

You most likely have hard water deposits blocking the flow. Soak the showerhead in vinegar overnight to remove this.

Will increasing pipe size increase flow?

No. The opposite is true. Assuming your starting flow rate is the same, ss pipe size increases, flow decreases.

Does reducing pipe size increase air pressure?

Yes. The small the diameter of the pipe, the greater the air pressure.

Does a shorter shower hose increase pressure?

No. The length of the shower hose does not affect the initial flow rate.

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