Maybe you’re just waking up, or perhaps you’re unwinding after a long, hard day of work. Either way, when you step into your home shower you expect hot water and a bracing pressure to reinvigorate you. If all you get is a sputtering, gentle rain … well, that’s one of life’s many little disappointments.
Don’t let your shower disappoint you. Check out these possible causes of low water pressure in your personal spa.
Is This A Systemic Problem?
When you’re scoping out a cause for the low water pressure in your shower, the first step is to determine whether the problem is isolated to one shower or is present throughout the home.
Check faucets on multiple floors as well as outdoor spigots. If you notice that water is dribbling, rather than flowing fast and freely, your problem is systemic. A systemic problem could be due to a water supply valve not fully open, a failing water pressure regulator, deeply corroded older pipes, or an as-of-yet-undetected leak such as a slab leak.
If the low water pressure problem is isolated to the hot water flow, rather than the cold, then make sure your water heater’s shut-off valve is fully open.
Is The Problem Isolated To One Shower Head?
If low water pressure is isolated to one shower head, then the problem is in the shower head itself.
The most common issue is mineral build-up partially or fully blocking the shower head holes. This is due to calcium and magnesium carbonates which occur naturally in hard water.
Fortunately, there is an easy fix. Simply add vinegar to a plastic bag and rubber-band it to the stem so that the shower head is submerged in the vinegar overnight. When the bath is done, scrub the holes with an old toothbrush to remove any lingering deposits.
In rare cases, depending on the composition and age of your plumbing pipes, flecks of rust or debris could be blocking the holes. In this case, detach the shower head, clean it free of debris, and then soak it overnight in vinegar just to make sure you’ve removed all mineral deposits, too.
If this fix doesn’t work, and you’ve experienced low water pressure in this shower for as long as you’ve owned the house, it’s possible that you’re dealing with an old low-flow shower head. Older low-flow shower heads don’t work as well as newer models in saving water while compensating for water pressure. If you want a firm spray, consider replacing it.
As in all plumbing matters, never hesitate to call a trusted plumber to identify, isolate, and fix any plumbing problem quickly, efficiently, and well.