The average American showers six to seven times per week. If you’ve been frustrated with the low water pressure from your showerhead, it might be time for an upgrade.
What causes low water pressure? How do you increase the flow of water from your showerhead?
It might surprise you, but the solution is often an easy fix that you can do right away. Here are eight reasons why your shower has been flowing low.
- Blocked Shower Head
Mineral deposits from hard water can build up over time and lead to blockages in your showerhead. When this happens, the water is not able to flow fully from the showerhead and will result in a weak flow.
An easy way to check if this is your problem is to take a look at your showerhead. If you see a buildup in the holes of the showerhead, you’ll need to use a vinegar solution to dissolve the mineral buildup.
Mix a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water. Pour this mixture into a plastic bag and then wrap it around the showerhead so that the holes are immersed. Secure the bag with a rubber band or twist tie so it can remain in place long enough to dissolve the buildup.
Wait 1-2 hours or even overnight. Then, remove the bag and use a toothbrush to scrub the mineral deposits away. You’ll soon have a shiny clean showerhead and be able to enjoy a higher flow.
- Outdated Low-Flow Shower Head
Some homes, especially in California, will have low-flow showerheads installed to preserve water. Although you might not be able to switch to a high-flow showerhead if you live in California, there are still ways to improve your shower situation.
Outdated low-flow showerheads will likely have wear-and-tear that results in water flowing even lower than normal. Upgrading to a new model will give you the best showerhead for low water pressure and a refreshing shower.
- Faulty Regulator
A water flow regulator or restrictor is sometimes installed in showerheads to help preserve water usage. It will limit the flow of water to less than three gallons per minute.
Showerhead regulators can be great for reducing water wastage and for lowering your monthly bills. However, if your normal water flow is already low, then having a regulator can flow the water down to a frustrating level.
If you have a regulator installed in your showerhead, it’s a simple fix to remove it. While you’re doing that, you can even check your showerhead parts for damage or buildup.
- Worn Down Single-Control Shower
Single-control showers make it easier to achieve the perfect temperature of the water. They use a volume valve that influences how the water flows into your showerhead, and this valve can sometimes cause problems.
The volume valve is a complex part that can often need repairs. Over time, parts of the shower system get worn down and need to be replaced so that the shower can function well.
Because of its complexity, you may need to call a plumber to help you repair a single-control shower. You can also visit this page for more information about troubleshooting a low water pressure shower.
- Partially Closed Valve
Sometimes the cause of low-flow water can’t be found directly in your showerhead. If you’ve checked the above reasons and still have trouble increasing your showerhead flow, then you may have a partially closed valve.
A water shut-off valve may have been moved so that it’s not fully open. This is often a simple fix and can help you improve the flow of water in your home.
- Outdated Pipes
The pipes in your home get put through a lot of use throughout the years, and eventually, they rust and decay. Sometimes you can even get buildup inside the pipes, and this will cause problems like a low-flow shower.
To know whether it’s time for pipe replacement, review the home inspection report you got when you purchased the house. Supply pipes will be made from brass, copper, or galvanized steel. Each type lasts a different number of years, so it’s important to know your home’s pipes.
You can also try and learn what your water is like, and if it has high mineral content. This will put more wear-and-tear on your pipes and they’ll need replacing sooner.
If your home is nearing the 100-year mark and you know that your water has a high mineral content, it might be time to replace the pipes. Hire a trusted plumber to inspect your water system.
- Faulty Hot Water Heater
Sometimes the reason for a low-flow showerhead can be traced back to the water heater. How do you know if this is your problem?
If your showerhead has low flow only when using hot water, then the problem is likely your water heater. It might leak or be too corroded to function properly. When dealing with a water heater, it’s a good idea to hire a professional.
- Water Leak
A low-flow showerhead can also be a sign of a water leak in your home. If you suspect this problem, you’ll want to call in a professional immediately. Water leaks can do major damage to your home and it’s important to stop it early on.
Fix Low Water Pressure
Increasing the flow of your low-flow showerhead is often an easy fix if you can pinpoint the cause. Having consistent low water pressure in your home can be frustrating, but once it’s fixed you’ll be able to enjoy a refreshing shower every day.
Want more ways to upgrade your home? Read our guide on how to increase the market value of your home.