For some people, a shower isn't a shower unless it engulfs its occupant with a steamy, hot blast of powerful water. If you're one of these people and you've got a shower with low water pressure, you likely find yourself dissatisfied, if not frustrated, after your daily self-cleansing routine. Turn your shower's soft trickle into a steady flow by troubleshooting it for these 3 common causes of sub-par shower water pressure.
Your Shower Head Has A Water Restrictor
In accordance with the National Energy Act, shower head manufacturers must include water restrictors on all shower heads they produce. These water restrictors are designed to save on water and energy costs by limiting the maximum flow rate of every shower head to no more than 2.5 gallons per minute. While this may be perfectly acceptable for some individuals, others find it too restricting and want the option of a heavier water flow.
To remove your shower head's water restrictor, unscrew your shower head from its connecting hose. At the base of the shower head (the part that connects to the hose), you'll find a small metal screen -- remove the screen. At this point, you should see a circular series of holes with a rubber or plastic ring sitting atop them.
That rubber or plastic ring is a water restrictor, and you can use a small screwdriver or paperclip to pry it out of place. Once you've removed it, replace the screen and then screw your shower head back on to its connecting hose. You should see an immediate increase in your shower water pressure.
Hard Water Is Clogging Your Shower Head
If your home's water supply contains high levels of magnesium and/or calcium, the minerals can build up on your shower head, disrupting water flow. Fortunately, there's a cheap and easy fix to this problem. All you need is a plastic bag, a rubber band, a cup of vinegar, and an old toothbrush or scrubbing pad.
Place the vinegar in the bag and then secure the bag to your shower head using the rubber band. Allow your shower head to sit soaking in the vinegar for at least 2 - 3 hours before removing the bag and then scrubbing the buildup loose with your toothbrush or scrubbing pad. Vinegar has acetic acid in it which is one of the few substances that can effectively dissolve magnesium and calcium mineral deposits.
Your Shower Pipes Are Blocked With Rust Sediment
If your home was built in the late 70s or earlier, your water lines are probably made from galvanized iron. Over time these galvanized iron pipes can rust and erode, blocking your shower head with sediments.
To determine whether or not your home has galvanized iron pipes, look around the perimeter of your house for the point at which your plumbing enters your home. Once you find these entrance pipes, use a knife or screwdriver to scratch the surface of one of them. If the scratch reveals a silver-gray color, you're dealing with galvanized iron.
Galvanized iron lasts roughly 40 - 60 years before it begins to rust, but once it does, there's no reversing the process. The condition of your pipes will continue to worsen until the rust significantly weakens, or eats right through your plumbing system. While it may be possible to locate and remove a sediment clog from the pipes that lead to your shower, it's best to have the pipes replaced entirely by a professional that offers plumbing services.
It's an aggravating situation when your shower is lacking power. Restore your water pressure and start enjoying your showers again with the above 3 troubleshooting tips for sub-par shower water pressure.