Imagine that you stand under the shower, ready to get all cleaned up, but there is barely any water coming out.
It may be a consistent low water pressure or just a temporary issue.
This scenario can be annoying, especially if you’re trying to show up to work early or if you’re running late for an appointment.
Aside from that, we all deserve a refreshing morning shower, especially when we’re getting ready for our day.
But experiencing low water pressure in the shower can get in the way.
Although this is just a little inconvenience to a busy life, it can also indicate a serious pipe problem.
However, don’t call your plumber just yet!
There are ways to troubleshoot this problem and fix it on your own.
What Causes Low Water Pressure in the Shower?
Low water pressure can be caused by many things.
It can be your shower head, your water heater, your pipes, or your valves.
It can even be a combination of different issues.
You need to understand all these possible causes so you can later troubleshoot the problem effectively.
Here are the six most common causes of low water pressure in the shower.
1. Blocked Shower Head
This is a common reason why you may have low water pressure.
If you have good water pressure in other parts of your house except for your shower, then a blocked shower head might be the issue.
Your shower head can become blocked or clogged with time.
This usually caused by mineral buildup and limescale.
2. Mineral deposits
If you live in an older house, there is a possibility that you have outdated plumbing systems.
Usually, older galvanized pipes are more susceptible to mineral accumulation.
This means that over time, the mineral deposits accumulate and clog your pipes.
This then causes low water pressure in your shower and faucets.
3. Water-Saving Shower Head
Water-saving shower heads are becoming common due to federal regulations.
Newer shower heads have a limited flow rate of only up to 2.5 gallons per minute, with a water pressure of only 80 pounds per square inch.
Although water-saving shower heads can cut your heating costs and decrease water consumption, they tend to create low water pressure.
4. Home Water Valves Are Shutoff
When your shower suddenly has low pressure, it might be caused by an accidental shutoff of your house’s water valves.
These valves are the main controls of the water that goes into your home and is usually found in the water meter box.
An accidental or even a slightly off position of your water valves can affect the water pressure in your home.
5. Leaking Water Main
Cracks or leaks to your water main can also cause low water pressure.
Your main water line is also susceptible to ruptures.
If the water is leaking out of your plumbing, the pressure in your faucets or showers is going to be low.
6. Showering During Peak Hours
If you’re showering at a certain time of the day and the water pressure is consistently low during this time, then it might be caused by high water usage in your area.
This high-water use in the early mornings and evenings are peak hours and it can be a cause of low water pressure in your shower.
How to Troubleshoot Low Water Pressure in the Shower
Before you call for a plumber, try to troubleshoot this problem on your own.
Your problem might not be as serious as you think and can be fixed without professional help.
Since you already know the most common reasons for low water pressure, you just need to investigate those to find the cause of your problem.
Follow these steps to troubleshoot your shower’s low water pressure.
Investigate Water Outlets
Check the water pressure in other areas of your home aside from your shower.
Inspect the faucets in your bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room.
Check if you have the same low water pressure as in your shower.
Doing so will allow you to determine if the low water pressure is only limited to your shower or is also present in other parts of your home.
If you notice that the same low water pressure is present in other parts of the house, check your water valves.
It might be accidentally shut off or in a slightly off position.
If you see that this is the case, just adjust it and turn it to an “on” position.
Your shower and faucets should have normal water pressure afterward.
Check Water Heater
However, when you find that the other faucets in your house are working well and have good water pressure, you might have an issue with your water heater.
To know this for sure, turn on your shower at full capacity both in the hot and cold-water settings.
If you have good water pressure when using cold water but low water pressure on a hot water output, this could indicate a problem with your water heater.
The shut-off valve in your heater may be closed.
Check if it’s open and adjust it if needed.
If you think that your water heater is faulty or blocked, then it might have to be evaluated by a professional.
Inspect Your Shower Head
Once you narrow down the problem to your bathroom, you might be dealing with an issue specific to your shower head.
It’s either you have a blocked shower head or a water-saving one.
Examine your shower head to see if it is blocked or not.
If your shower head is blocked, you will need to do some deep cleaning.
Clean your shower head with a scrubber sponge and soapy water to wipe off the debris.
If this didn’t make the cut, mix the solution of equal parts water and white vinegar in a plastic bag.
Put the shower head in the bag and ensure that the holes are submerged in the solution.
Then, secure it with a twist tie.
Let it soak for 30 minutes and wipe the loosened deposits.
Test if the water pressure improved after this.
If the previous step didn’t work, then it is worth checking the type of your shower head.
You might have a water-restricting shower head installed.
You might be able to improve your water pressure by removing the filter or a water restrictor inside the shower head.
You can also replace your existing shower head with a regular one that has a higher flow.
Analyze Water Pressure During the Day
Once you are certain that you don’t have a water-saving shower head, it’s time to test the shower pressure during other times of the day.
If you typically shower at the same time daily, then it might be that you’re showering during peak hours.
Test the water pressure at dawn before everyone in your building or community wake up and in the early afternoons before people come home from work or school.
If you get normal pressure during other times of the day, it could be that there is a high demand for water in your community during your shower time.
To solve this problem, try to take showers at off-peak hours or invest in a pump.
When the above steps don’t work for you, your low water pressure might be caused by leaks in your pipes or mineral deposits.
In this case, it is best to contact a professional plumber to check your pipes and get your problem fixed by a specialist.
Though it can look like a simple problem, low water pressure in the shower can be more complicated.
It can be caused by multiple reasons, from your shower head to your heater or water valves.
This is why it is important to get accustomed to the different causes of low water pressure.
Don’t call a professional plumber before looking into the problem yourself.
Troubleshoot and check every possible source, you might get lucky and find an inexpensive fix for your water pressure problem.
By doing it yourself, you may save a ton of money, especially when the solution is simple and doable.
Doing so will also make you more familiar with how the basic piping and water system in your house work.
If the problem is not DIY-able, this is when you should consider other fixes that cost money.
When the issue is about the main supply or pipes, contact a trustworthy professional.
Make sure that your plumber is recommended by friends or family members and has great reviews.