Fixing low water pressure from the shower head

Low water pressure in the shower head is a common issue today. This is because of the pursuit of environmental goals such as water preservation. You will find that most shower heads come designed with restricting measures aimed at reduction in water pressure.

This problem may cause time wastage due to shower times taking longer. Yet the same amount of water is uses as would have been used in a high water pressure shower. It thus makes sense to fix this problem as soon as it is detected.


The cause of the problem of low water pressure in the shower head varies. It could be an issue of blocked or broken pipes. It may also just be simple things such as a shut off valve being closed. Sometimes tenants may find that their landlords have not opened main water valves fully so that they can restrict water usage.

Determine the rate per gallon

The first thing is to determine that there is actually low water pressure. It can be as simple as taking of the shower head and turning on the water fully into a bucket. Time how long it takes to fill the bucket at full throttle. Now calculate the rate per gallon.

Some states restrict the gallon per minute of shower heads because of minimising wastage of water. You may find that your shower head water pressure is within state limits.

Clean out your shower head

Sometimes the low pressure is due to the shower head becoming clogged over time. This problem can be easily and regularly solved by cleaning the head. Just unscrew it and using a sharp pointed tool, remove the dirt from the holes. You may also soak the head in a solution of vinegar for half an hour or more. When you rinse the showerhead afterwards, the mineral deposits will come off easily.

Remove water restricting devices

Most shower heads today come with a water pressure restricting device.  This restricts the amount of water that comes through your shower-head. While this is a measure utilised to reduce wastage and preserve water, it can be counterproductive.

Showers take longer and more time is wasted. Sort this problem out by removing the shower head and locating the restricting device. This is normally made out of rubber. Pry the device out with pliers or cut out the middle to allow more water to flow through your shower head.

Remember to remove all the particles you have cut out before reattaching the showerhead. This way there will not be additional material blocking the holes.

Check the water main and the shut off valves

Sometimes the water main at the curb may not be fully open and this may be the cause of the low water pressure. This could be the culprit especially where the low pressure is experienced all over the house. Turn the main on counter clockwise as far as it will go. Then recheck the water pressure to see if it has improved.

You may also want to check shut off valves to ensure that they have not been shut off.  If it is a new house the previous owners may have shut off the valves when carrying out repairs and not opened them afterwards. Someone may also have not opened the valves fully thus restricting the water supply.

Broken pipes

When there is a leak that is causing the low water pressure, it is time to call in the plumber. Pipes may need to be replaced and there may be a greater outlay of money required. It is good to change broken pipes as soon as they are detected because the water may cause further damage to the house.

Fixing low water pressure to shower heads is a straight forward task most of the time. This is especially so in our day when water conservation efforts ensure that most showerheads have restricting devices. This makes the task of increasing water pressure easy.

However other times more serious problems like broken pipes and blocked pipes may be the issue. If you have no plumbing experience this would be a job for a professional. Yet this should still be a problem that can be alleviated quickly and the inconvenience ended.