After a hard day’s work, nothing beats a long, hot shower to ease aches and pains and refresh your body and mind. But when the flow coming out of your shower head feels more like a light drizzle than a hard rain, you’re sure to be disappointed.
Don’t let low water pressure get you down. Check out how you can fix the problem and get back to singing in the shower.
Is the low water pressure issue isolated to just your shower head, or does the problem pervade the entire house? If nothing but a dribble emerges upon turning the spigots of other faucets in your bathroom and kitchen, then the situation is related to whole-house low water pressure.
In many cases, improving whole-house water pressure is an easy fix.
- Find the main shut-off valve (where water first comes into the home) and make sure is open all the way. Your problem may be solved with a simple twist of a lever.
- Check to see if there’s a water pressure reducing valve attached to the water line, perhaps by a previous owner. These devices are popular with homeowners interested in saving on municipal water bills or restricting water use due to ecological reasons. You may need to call a plumber in order to adjust this valve to increase the flow.
- If the change in water pressure is recent or sudden, seek out evidence for a leak in the home. Major leaks will manifest as growing stains on wallboard or ceilings, soggy carpeting, waterlogged yards, buckled tile, cracked concrete flooring, etc. Serious leaks under the basement slab may only be detectable by listening for the sound of rushing water.
- Check with neighbors to see if the low or no water pressure is a recent neighborhood-wide problem, which may indicate municipal work being done on the water main.
- If low water pressure is a common, persistent local issue, contact a local plumber about installing a water pressure booster in your home.
Some Like It Hot
If you prefer your showers on the scalding side, perhaps the problem lies with the hot water pressure. Check the flow for both cold and hot water and compare. If the hot water trickles, check the shut-off valve on your water heater to make sure it’s fully open. If it is and you’re still experiencing low hot water pressure, call your local plumber to inspect the appliance.
If the problem is localized to your shower head, the most likely culprit is a nozzle whose tiny openings have become clogged due to mineral build-up. Soaking the showerhead for a few hours in a bath of vinegar can dissolve these mineral deposits and increase flow. A great hack is to partially fill a gallon-sized plastic bag with vinegar and then attach it with rubber bands to the showerhead itself.
If this treatment fails to solve the problem, the showerhead may need to be removed to allow for a more thorough cleaning. Over time, rust and particle debris can build up and clog the fixture. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, call your trusted plumber. He can then determine for sure whether the problem lies in your showerhead, or in a clog deeper in the supply pipe.