Losing water pressure in your shower? What should you do?

Losing water pressure main

We’ve all been there – you’re standing under the shower, but the spray isn’t as strong as you’d like. At best, it’s only a minor annoyance, but at worst it makes things like washing your hair an actual struggle.

But why is your shower losing water pressure? There are a few common reasons, and luckily some of them are easy to fix by yourself.

So, are you ready to get started?

First of all, check if this is a wider issue. Are both hot and cold water affected? Is it only the shower, or does the tap on your basin have the same issue? And what about other rooms in the house – is their water pressure holding up?

Yes, it’s only the shower losing water pressure!

OK, that’s a good start. Let’s begin by looking at the showerhead. It could be the culprit.

A blockage could be one of the simplest reasons. Shower heads accumulate all sorts of residue over time – think minerals in the water, which bond together to create limescale. If enough residue builds up, it’ll block the water flow, and you’ll be left wanting a stronger shower.

Removing it is, thankfully, pretty easy. Simply let your showerhead sit in a bowl or (if you can’t or don’t want to remove it) a bag filled with vinegar and a little water to dilute it overnight. The next day, take a toothbrush or a small tool to it to rid it of any remaining residue. Done! Easy, right?

Shower trickle
Photography: iStock.com / IdeaMomentLight

Of course, if your shower is losing water pressure it might also be the result of you trying to save water. How, I hear you ask?

Well, a low-flow shower head is designed to reduce how much water flows through it… so it makes sense that it might not feel quite right. Luckily, new models still create a luxurious showering experience, and replacing your shower head is an easy DIY job.

Those tips didn’t help with losing water pressure (but it’s definitely only the shower)

If it’s not the shower head, the issue is likely to lie with your home’s overall system.

Do you have a gravity-fed system? Older properties often have these, and people tend to replace them when they renovate as they can make it hard to achieve good water pressure, especially in the shower.

If the answer is yes, there are only two solutions: a whole-house pump, which increases the water pressure everywhere, or one specifically for the shower.

Of course, there’s also option three, which is to redo your entire plumbing system. However, this will be costly and a major undertaking, so think about it carefully.

Losing water pressure shower hand
Photography: iStock.com / Edwin Tan

Apart from a gravity-fed system, the culprit behind losing water pressure could also be a valve. For example, the mixing valve in your single-lever shower tap could be worn out. How can you spot this? Well, it’s responsible for mixing hot and cold, so if your water temperature is off at the same time as your pressure, that’s a good indicator.

However, replacing this valve is a job for a plumber – no DIY attempts here, please.

No, there are issues with the water pressure elsewhere too

You might have guessed, but the problem persisting beyond the shower means you’ll have to look at your home’s overall water system.

It could be something as easy as one of the (many) valves in your plumbing system being closed or half closed. This affects the flow and you lose water pressure as a result.

The fault could also lie with the water pressure regulator, sometimes also called the water pressure reduction valve. This is outside your home at the point where it connects to the mains.

Last but not least, it could be as straightforward as a broken pipe. Which makes sense – if water is leaking out somewhere, less will arrive at its destination.

All of these jobs have one thing in common, though: they’re strictly for professionals. You should not attempt these as DIY projects, so call a plumber for help if you’re in doubt.

Featured image: iStock.com / georgeclerk

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