You stand under the shower and the pressure feels weak. Is there a way to fix low shower water pressure? Corroded water pipes may be the ultimate culprit. But there might be any number of other causes that are easier to address than ripping out all of the pipes in your house.
Low Water Pressure
01 of 06
Replace Your Water-Restricting Showerhead
Your shower flow will be minimized if you have a low-flow shower head, shower filter, or a water restricting device installed in a regular shower head.
Before you change this out, make sure that it is legal in your area. In California, for instance, shower head flows have been narrowing for decades, due to that state's on-going drought problems. Shower heads first went from 2.5 GPM to 2.0 GPM, and then to 1.5 GPM.
02 of 06
Clean Out Sediment
Over time, mineral deposits and scale clog up your shower head. This is not a matter of "if" but "when," since all water (unless distilled water in containers you purchase at the store) carries minerals.
Unscrew the shower head and let it soak in a bowl of vinegar for at least eight hours. Press out remaining particles with a toothpick.
If the deposits will not remove easily, then it is time to buy a new shower head.
03 of 06
Increase Volume at Curb-Side Main
In some cases, you may have been living with low water pressure in your entire house because the curb-side main is not fully turned on. It may have been turned off due to major construction on the home and then not fully turned back on.
Where your water main enters your property at curbside is a water meter and shut-off valve. Check to make sure that the valve is turned all the way on (counter clock-wise).
Usually, you are not allowed to tamper with curb-site meters, so call your water provider if you need to deal with the meter itself. They will send out a worker to check on this for you.
04 of 06
Increase Volume on Water Main Where It Enters House
A more likely way that a previous homeowner or worker has reduced your water pressure is by turning down the water main value as it enters your house.
There are two shut-off values along the main water supply line. This is one that you can turn on and off by yourself.
There may be any number of reasons for this. If the previous owners were renting out the house, they may have turned down the volume in an attempt to force the residents to use less water. Or, as with the curb-side main, it may have been turned off due to a water leak or construction, but accidentally not turned all the way back on.
Carefully turn counter-clockwise. This valve may be corroded and rusty. In the event of a ball valve (the kind with a knife-blade style handle), make sure that it is turned as far counter-clockwise as possible.
If any part of the pipe near the valve looks so corroded that it might break, call a plumber. You risk snapping the pipe and flooding the house until you or someone else can shut off the curb-side main.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
Another item that influences your shower's water pressure is the volume valve system for single control showers.
This is a rather pricey and complicated part that, over time, may compromise your water flow. Difficult to repair, replacement is usually your best option.
06 of 06
Open up In-Line Shut-Off Valves
You have already checked and fully opened up both main water supply valves. But did you know that you may have other shut off valves?
Some homes have an in-line shut-off valve. These valves are on individual branch pipelines and they act as emergency stops. They are convenient if you are doing work in a local area (shower, toilet, sink, etc.) and do not wish to shut off the water in the entire home.
These shut-off valves would be located near the supply point. For a shower that has supply pipes in the basement, this shut-off would be located on the pipes leading up to the shower.
Turn the valve counter-clockwise for full pressure.