When we step into the shower, we expect to be greeted by a waterfall of water that is cascading over us. Unfortunately, it doesn’t often happen that way. Why is your pressure so low?
Typically, low pressure in the shower is caused by a clogged showerhead. It can happen over time with a buildup of calcium or sediment. It may also happen suddenly if something gets in the lines and makes it to the head of the shower. Other possible reasons why your shower water pressure is so low include leaking pipes, problems with the water heater, or a bad valve.
Showers are more than a way to get clean. For many of us, they are a time when we relax and perhaps even enjoy some solitude.
There are many possible reasons why your shower pressure is low. Here are 10 to consider.
1. Using a Low-Flow Showerhead Means Less Water Pressure
We live in a different time than we did several decades ago. If you are thinking back to the time when water poured out of the showerhead, those days are gone. Low-flow showerheads are here to stay and in many cases, they are required by law. Unless you buy an antique showerhead, there is no going back to the good old days.
2. A Bad Water Pressure Regulator Can Lower Water Pressure
You may have a water pressure regulator in your home that is designed to keep the water pressure range within acceptable limits. Like any other part of your home, the regulator may fail and the pressure can either go up or down. More than likely, you don’t even realize it exists. A plumber can help you replace the regulator, which is usually outside the home.
3. Your Water Pressure Is Low Because the Showerhead Is Clogged
It is not unusual for calcium and other minerals to build up in the showerhead. It’s not typically a big deal in your water pipes (although it can be) but the small holes of the showerhead can get clogged and the water pressure will suffer. You can clear up this issue by poking something small through the holes to see if you can open them up again.
4. Problems with the Water Heater Leads to Low Water Pressure
Is the water pressure low all of the time or only when you turn the hot water on? Your water heater may be to blame if it happens when the water is hot. It may be the first sign that your water heater needs replaced. Otherwise, it could be the valve at the water heater is partially turned off.
5. Water Pressure Is Low Because a Valve Is Closed
There are valves that control the flow of water to the home. They start with the main valve that controls all of the water and then there are secondary valves that control the water to certain areas. You have valves at your water heater, valves that control the shower, valves under the sinks, and a valve behind the toilet. Make sure that the valves allowing the water to your shower are fully open.
6. Clogged and Leaking Pipes Lead to Low Water Pressure
When our home (and plumbing) are new, the water flows unimpeded. Over the course of time, pipes rust, and mineral deposits inside of the pipe slowly narrow the opening. This can significantly lower the water pressure, especially by the time it reaches the shower. A leaking water pipe either in or out of the home can also reduce your water pressure.
7. Your Shower Mixing Valve Is Lowering the Water Pressure
This is a problem that is overlooked by most homeowners. In some shower faucet handles there is a valve that mixes the warm and hot water. It controls the flow to keep the temperature at an even level. If the mixing valve is faulty, the water pressure will not be where it should be.
8. A Problem with the Water Supplier Is Resulting in Low Pressure
Sometimes, there isn’t much you can do about low pressure. that is because it may be coming from the water supplier, such as the city or township where you live. If they are to blame, it may be a temporary issue but in some cases, it also needs to be addressed because it is a more permanent problem.
9. The Water Meter Valve Controls Pressure throughout the Home
The water company is responsible for controlling the water meter valve. They can turn it on or off, but as a homeowner, you aren’t supposed to touch it. If they have done any work on the pipes in your area and in particular, on your property, they may not have opened the water meter valve the whole way after finishing.
10. A Bad Fixture Is Causing Your Low Water Pressure
If you are experiencing low water pressure throughout the home, it is probably a problem with the valves or a pipe. If it is only in the shower or in certain areas of the home, it is likely a problem with the fixture. Try unscrewing the showerhead and see how much pressure is coming out of the pipe.
Can I Take a Shower While the Dishwasher Is Running?
We live in an age of multitasking. Sometimes, we need to take a shower but the dishwasher is still running. Should you wait or go ahead and take the shower?
Taking a shower while the dishwasher is running may result in lower water pressure. It might not be as bad as you think, however, because the pressure will only be lower while the dishwasher is filling with water and that is a limited amount of time. If you want to enjoy your shower, pause the dishwashing cycle until you are finished cleaning up.
One good thing that you will appreciate knowing is that you won’t be lacking in hot water if you shower at the same time the dishes are being run. Almost all dishwashers are connected to the cold water line and the water is heated with a heating element once it enters the dishwasher.
You may need to adjust the temperature of the shower because it can be on the warm side when the dishwasher is filling. Otherwise, there is no reason to wait.
Dishwashers also use a minimal amount of water. The dishwasher will fill the tank, heat the water, and use it for the wash cycle. After draining, it will do the same for the rinse cycle. More than likely, it will only use a gallon or two of water.
One thing to consider is if you are already dealing with low water pressure, you may not want to multitask using multiple water-associated tasks at one time. Either wait to take your shower or stop the dishwasher temporarily while you take your shower.
Can I Take a Shower While the Washing Machine Is Running?
We often try to do as much as possible at the same time. It allows us to get through a busy day.
It is okay to take a shower while the washing machine is running. The water pressure may be lower because both the washing machine and the shower use water from the same source. You may also be lacking in hot or cold water for the shower, depending upon the setting you use on the washing machine.
Most people are able to use a washing machine and take a shower at the same time and they don’t even notice the difference. The only time you really notice a difference is if the water pressure in your home is low to start with.
Timing is also something to consider that will help things to go as smoothly as possible. If you start the washing machine and wait until it fills and starts the wash cycle, you can grab a quick shower before it drains and starts filling up for the rinse cycle.
If you must get cleaned up and can’t stand the low water pressure or the variations in temperature, why not fill a bathtub and take a nice, relaxing bath? You deserve it, especially after doing all that laundry!
Why Can’t You Flush the Toilet While Showering?
In many homes, there is an unspoken (and sometimes very spoken) rule that you can’t flush the toilet while someone is in the shower. Doing so can lead to an uncomfortable experience and the potential for an argument later.
Flushing the toilet while someone is in the shower will result in the water in the shower getting hotter and the water pressure dropping. This is because you are using water from the same source as the shower but, unlike a shower that uses both hot and cold water, the toilet is linked directly to the cold water line.
Although this has been an age-old problem and the source of a lot of contention, there are some ways to avoid the problem altogether. It has to do with the way things are set up, both with the toilet and with the shower.
The reason why the shower gets uncomfortably hot when someone flushes the toilet is that the toilet puts a large drain on the cold water supply. Suddenly, the mixture is leaning more toward the hot direction and we may have a difficult time adjusting the shower fast enough.
The easiest, and most logical way to avoid this problem is to simply not flush the toilet while someone is in the shower. There are also some other things that can be done to help solve the problem.
Adjust the Toilet Tank Water Level – One thing you can do is to lower the amount of water in the tank of the toilet. This won’t stop the temperature from getting hotter in the shower but it will speed up how quickly the tank fills. Once the tank is full, all water pressure goes back to the shower.
Turn down the Toilet Water Valve – In most homes, the water valve for the toilet is open full force. It is not necessary to have it open fully. You can actually turn it down very low. Flushing the toilet will work the same because the water to flush the toilet comes from the toilet tank. It will take longer to refill the tank, but unless you need to flush it again within a minute or two, you won’t notice the difference.
Install a Mixing Valve – It is also possible to install a mixing valve in the shower that automatically regulates the flow of hot and cold water. In doing so, it will adjust the cold water when the hot water pressure lowers and will reduce the hot water pressure when the cold water pressure lowers.
There may be many reasons why the water pressure in your shower is low. Typical culprits include a clogged showerhead, corroded lines, leaking water lines, bad or closed valves, and a faulty water heater. When you find what is wrong, the water pressure may be better throughout your entire house and not just in the shower.