how to increase water pressure in shower

How To Increase Water Pressure In Shower: 9 Simple Fixes

It can be difficult to enjoy a nice hot shower when you can’t get enough water pressure. Whether you’re looking for a quick fix or a more permanent solution, there are ways how to increase the water pressure in your shower. From installing an inexpensive shower head or adjusting the height of your spout, here are some ways to get the most out of your next shower.

The best ways to increase water pressure in shower are:

  • clean the shower head
  • remove the flow constrictor
  • eliminate any kinks in the hose
  • confirm the main shut off valve is fully open
  • eliminate any leaks in your water pipes
  • flush the water heater
  • consider a low pressure shower head
  • turn off other appliances while showering
  • install a shower pump

Before we go into detail with the above 9 fixes to a low shower water pressure, lets go into looking at water pressure within the household in general.

What is a Normal Water Pressure in a House?

The best water pressure for most household plumbing is 50 pounds per square inch (PSI) which will achieve an optimal flow of water. However, when the pressure is less than 40 PSI will become obvious when you turn on a faucet or shower, as the flow rate will be low.

How Can you Measure your Home Water Pressure?

You may already have a water pressure gauge within your home which is normally located close to an outdoor spigot or in the basement. If your home doesn’t have a water pressure gauge you can buy a cheap one that attaches to a faucet like the one below.

water pressure in home

What is a Normal Shower Flow Rate?

Shower head manufacturers have been limited to a maximum flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) due to Federal government regulation. In fact in California, Hawaii and Washington, the flow rate is even less being limited to 1.8 GPM.

Increase Water Pressure In Shower

How can I measure the flow rate of my shower?

The easiest way to measure the flow rate of a shower is to turn your shower on full and place a 5 gallon bucket under the shower head. Measure the time it takes to fill up the bucket fully. To calculate the GPM, simply divide 5 by the time you calculated it took to fill up the bucket. For instance if the bucket took 2 minutes to fill up the bucket then the calculation would be 5 divided by 2 which would equate to 2.5GPM.

Possible Causes of your Water Pressure in your Shower Being Low

This section of our article provides some troubleshooting to locate possible causes of your shower pressure being low.

1. Your Mains Water System Incorporates Old Water Pipes

If you live in or close to a city or town center, you may have noticed that your shower pressure isn’t as great as it could be. One of the causes might be the mains water system. 

Due to mains water systems in city and town centers using much older pipes, water pressure might not be as strong as those on new water pipes.

Replacing these old pipes is easier said than done for the local government, as doing so might disrupt everything in the city center. 

2. Your Water System Supply May Be Undersized 

Having undersized supply piping is another common reason for low water pressure.

This problem is common among old houses that still have their original plumbing system in place. If your water system supply is undersized, you’ll end up with less water to work with and that means that your shower will be less powerful.

Again, because replacement is challenging to do with these water systems, the previous homeowners plausibly didn’t correct the dilemma during their stay.

3. The Water System May be Clogged 

Just as stated before, you are possibly using older, iron piping for the water system in the house you are staying in if that house is an old one. 

Iron is susceptible to rust and corrosion which means pieces of it can break off and cause your water system to be clogged. Another problem which the old pipes will give you is the possibility of sand, gravel, and dirt entering your system, which will make matters worse. 

4. Water-saving Showerhead May Limit the Flow

One common reason that is often overlooked is the showerhead. Modern showers often use “flow restricting” or “water-saving” showerheads.

One other common reason for low water pressure in your showers that is sometimes disregarded is the kind of shower head you’re using. Some of the new shower heads these days likely have flow restrictions and water-saving properties. 

Flow restricting showerheads were first introduced in 1992 under The National Energy Act in the United States.

These flow-restricting showerheads have been manufactured in the UK under the inspiration of the United States as an attempt to assist homeowners with their water bills and prevent people from wasting water.

5. Possible Obstructed Shut-off Valve 

Another common reason that you may be experiencing low water pressure is an obstructed shut-off valve.

Whether you’ve just got a building done or you’ve got yourself a brand-new home, you have to make sure your shut-off valve is completely open and not blocked by some sort of obstruction. 

You can usually find the shut-off valve below the sink in the kitchen. Contact your trusted plumber immediately should you suspect your shut-off valve to be broken or damaged. 

Solutions to increase the water pressure in your shower 

Clean the Shower Head

Now before you go and unnecessarily spend money on a new shower pump or pipes, try checking your shower head and clean off any sand or dirt. 

These small sediments can find their way into your water system through the mains and over time can build up and slow down your shower head’s water flow. 

There is an alternative course of action should your shower head be unremovable. You’ll need one sandwich bag and one rubber band. All you have to do is fill the bag up with vinegar and tie it to the shower head using the rubber band. This will help in breaking down the sediments and limescale. 

Remove the Flow Restrictor 

New showerheads often come with flow restrictors that can limit the amount of water that comes out of the shower. This is intended to save money, but it also can hinder you from getting the heightened water pressure you’re looking for.

Flow restrictors work in some homes, but not in others. If you have a water pressure problem in your home for some known or unknown plumbing reasons, or if you live in a rather old house, a flow restrictor will only make things worse.

If your showerhead is fitted with a flow restrictor, or when it comes to modifying your existing shower to have a better pressure or removing your flow restrictor, you should read the instructions in the user’s manual.

Kinks in the Hose

It’s important to prevent any kinks in shower hose, especially if you like the water pressure to be strong and precise when you are going for a wash. Kinks will make it harder to wash yourself and also might cause damage to your hose. 

Luckily, it is relatively easy to free your shower hoses from kinks as long as you locate them. 

Confirm the main shut-off valve is fully open 

The main shut-off valve is located in the basement of a home or building or under the kitchen sink. If you suspect there is a problem with your main shut-off valve, especially if the water pressure is low, there’s likely a problem. 

Verify that the shut-off valve is fully opened, well enough to allow water to flow through it. This will then determine the amount of pressure you can achieve. 

Eliminate Leaks in your Pipes 

It is important to eliminate pipe leaks quickly and efficiently. Not only is very costly and not easy to detect but can cause unnatural pressure that will lead to more damage being done by the water flowing through the pipes. It is always better to keep looking for leaks in your plumbing system. 

Should you find a leak, immediately call a professional plumber to deal with it to avoid further inconveniences. 

Flush the Water Heater 

You might not realize it, but your hot water heater ages just like you do. Over time, sediment builds up in the bottom of your water tank and clogs the heat exchanger. This slows down water flow and creates inconsistent heating patterns. Improperly flushed water heaters also tend to run longer than necessary, which can get expensive. 

The fact that sediment buildup in your hot water heater means you’re stuck with low water pressure and inconsistent heating patterns for the lifespan of your unit. The good news is there’s a simple solution: periodic flushing and descaling will keep your hot water system operating at its best and save you money in the long run.

Consider a Low-Pressure Shower Head 

It is a well-known fact that the shower head can play an important role to clean you and offer a relaxing water massage. Low pressure shower heads, also called the energy saving shower heads, work as powerful as high-pressure shower heads; but use less water and save energy. 

These low-pressure showers deliver nearly 90% less flow than the conventional ones and use only 2.5 gallons of water per minute. This ultimately results in savings of money and reduction of carbon footprint.

Turn off other Appliances 

You are much more likely to experience low water pressure when you are showering if you are running other appliances in your home at the same time.

 Experts recommend keeping your showers short and sweet and shutting off your faucets, toilets, and other appliances while you’re washing up. Doing this, you will immediately notice a difference in water pressure.

Install a Shower Pump 

Installing shower pumps to water systems is a sure-fire way to up your shower’s water pressure. If you really want to fix your shower’s water pressure, you’re going to have to buy a shower pump of the highest quality possible. 

Shower pumps are small devices that are incorporated into your home’s water system. 

The shower pump is activated the moment you turn on the water in the shower. As water travels from a tank to the shower, it first passes through a pump. The pump then makes use of an impeller, much like the engine of an airplane, to boost water pressure just before it gets to the shower. 

It is important to know that putting a shower pump to mains water pressure directly is illegal, as the pressure added by the pump could damage the mains pipework. You will need to put in a break tank. You can do this yourself or ask assistance from a plumber. 

We hope that this has assisted in you working out how to increase water pressure in your shower. Happy showering!

Last update on 2022-10-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API