How to improve water pressure in your shower

There are few things more frustrating than climbing into a shower after a hard day or a strenuous workout and looking forward to the water crashing off your body – only to find it’s little more than a trickle. In these circumstances you’ll want to know how to improve the water pressure in your shower.

If the pressure has eased over time then it’s possible a problem has built up which you will be able to fix without the need to call in a plumbing expert.

If the issue is outside of your house and so outside of your control, you will require additional help, but there are a number of things you can try first to get your system back up and running properly.

Plumbworld has put together some handy tips for you to try and improve the water pressure in your shower, but first of all you need to make sure you understand the type of shower you have:

Electric shower on the mains water system:

One of the benefits of an electric shower is that it is always ready to use as the water is heated instantly within the system. The amount of hot water flow produced by an electric shower depends on the power rating, which is measured in kilowatts. The higher the rating, the stronger the flow of water.

Mixer and digital showers:

These showers can be fitted to mains pressure systems or, alternatively, gravity-fed systems. Mains pressure from a combi boiler will usually give you a good flow of water in your shower. In gravity-fed systems, the water is supplied from a cold tank in your loft and from a hot water cylinder in your airing cupboard. Some systems use an internal pump to drive the water pressure –otherwise, it depends how high your tank is.

What is water pressure?

Water pressure is the force at which the water is driven through yourpipes.

If you start to experience unusually low pressure from all of your taps then you may have a plumbing issue which needs investigating.

If your taps are working fine but the shower isn’t performing as well as usual, then there are number of options you have to improve the water coming from your shower.

Clean the shower head:

This is a simple and inexpensive way to look for a solution to your problem. Over time, showers can become blocked with sediment along with mineral deposit and limescale. If this happens then it’s likely your water pressure will be reduced to little more than a trickle, even if the water pressure in the rest of your home is fine.

To clean the shower head you first need to unscrew it and clean any of the sediment from the inside. If your shower head has a filter then take that off, too, and give it a clean.

If mineral deposits have built up then the best option is to leave the shower head to soak in a bowl of vinegar overnight.

Sometimes the most simple solution is also the most effective. If you haven’t given your shower head a clean in a while then it’s more than possible taking this action will soon result in you being able to enjoy a power shower again soon.

Change your shower settings:

It’s possible your shower has a ‘water saving shower head’.

Some low-flow shower heads have a flow restrictor which gives you the ability to adjust the water pressure to suit your needs. It may be the case you just need to alter the flow restrictor. You will need to remove the restrictor and refer to the user manual which came with your shower for instructions on next steps.

If you live in an area which already suffers from low water pressure, then adding a flow restrictor into the mix is likely to lead to an even worse shower experience.

Over recent years, some shower head manufacturers have started to incorporate flow restrictors into their designs, both to help customers reduce their water bills and also to help protect the environment.

Check the hose:

Another quick and simple fix would be to check for kinks in the shower hose. If your shower hose is flexible, then make sure it isn’t twisted to the extent it could prevent the smooth flow of water coming out of the shower head. This would be particularly relevant if you have a handheld shower head.

Take showers during ‘off-peak’ periods:

One solution may be to time your shower to a period of the day when your neighbours are unlikely to be pursuing the same activity. The more demand for water from the area then the greater the pressure on the supply lines. It stands to reason that if you can adjust your schedule to take your shower at a time when others are less likely to be doing it, then you may find an increase in your water pressure.

Check the main water valve:

If none of the above ‘quick fixes’ have so far paid dividends, you may have to check your main water valve. This valve controls the amount of water which flows to each area of your house. If the valve is even partially closed then the water pressure from your shower could certainly be affected.

There are two main valves you will need to check:

Main valve: The water main to your house is likely to be located near your water meter. Both of the valves need to be turned anti-clockwise to ensure they are fully opened.

Shower valve: This valve could be located in a number of places but, once you have found it, make sure it is fully turned anti-clockwise to open it to its maximum.

If neither of the valves are partially closed then there may be an issue outside of your home, which will require external help.

Hopefully, one of the above tips will solve your shower water pressure issue and get you back to enjoying a powerful shower once more, but if not then the possibility is the problem is outside of your house and an expert will be required to investigate.

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Find more bathroom advice and buying guides by reading the Plumbworld blog. You may also like these posts…

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