Low Hot Water Pressure In Your Shower? (We Have A Fix)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

Nothing is nicer than having a hot, steamy shower that hits you in a powerful, massaging way. Unfortunately, today, your shower decided not to give you that. Rather than give you the usual high pressure that you’re used to, your shower just puts out a little trickle of water. After annoyedly trying to huddle under the showerhead, you give up. What’s going on with this crazy thing?

There are several reasons why your hot water pressure could be having a hard time. The most common reasons include:

  • Limescale buildup
  • A problem with the showerhead
  • A leak
  • Clogs in your water system

Getting your shower fixed isn’t just a comfort issue. It also could be a major preventative measure that you need to take to prevent mold from growing in your home. Here’s what you need to do…

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Figuring Out Your Problem: What’s Wrong With Your Water Pressure?

Now that we’ve established something isn’t quite right with your shower pressure, it’s time to figure out what on earth is going on here. Troubleshooting each potential problem is not that hard to do. Here’s how you can pinpoint what’s up…

Check Your Stop Tap

Does your entire system have low water pressure? Like, tub and shower? If so, the fix might not be that bad. Some hot water heaters will have a stop tap that shuts down water pressure. Go to your heater and make sure the stop tap hasn’t been switched on. If it has, switch it off and you should see an improvement.

Problems With Your Showerhead

Before you panic, let’s make sure that your showerhead works. Check to see if you accidentally left on a restrictive valve, or if the showerhead’s parts seem a bit wonky. If they do, try to replace the showerhead to see if it fixes the problem. A broken showerhead won’t have the right water pressure.

While you’re at it, make sure that you have at least one bar of water pressure. If you don’t, call a plumber because this could be something else.

Limescale Buildup

Limescale buildup is the easiest thing to test for. To do this, turn off the shower and turn on the hot water in the bathtub. Is it coming out full force? Well, chances are that if it is, you have limescale buildup. Here’s how to fix this:

  • Unscrew the showerhead.
  • Drop it in a bowl of white distilled vinegar for eight hours, then rinse with water.
  • If you have any hard lime buildup, physically remove it using a needle.
  • Add the showerhead back to the shower and turn on the hot water. If it fixes the problem, that was the issue.

Check For A Leak

This is one of two results that you do not want to have to troubleshoot for. Leaky plumbing can be pretty difficult to diagnose, and once you actually have it diagnosed, you might have a lot of damage to clean up. For the sake of this article, we’re going to assume that the leak is coming from your bathroom.

  • Check to see if your faucet is running slow too. Most leaks will affect both the showerhead and the faucet together. Some may even affect your sink. If you don’t notice a leak, don’t discredit everything immediately.
  • Sniff the air. If you notice that there is a musty or moldy smell, you may have a leak that needs to be addressed. Calling someone for a mold inspection is a must.
  • Check for signs of a leak on the inside of your wall. You might notice wet patches in the painted portion of your bathroom or strange patterns of mold or bathroom paint discoloration where there shouldn’t be any. Make sure that you don’t overlook any white mold. That can be hard to spot!
  • Remove the bathtub faucet plate. You may need to actually go into the wall and see if there is water leaking below. We suggest calling a professional to determine what is the problem at this point, as you may have a more involved leak than you would be capable of handling on your own.

Clogs In Your Water System

If you don’t have reason to believe a leak is harming your water pressure, there may be another issue that would spark low water pressure. There is a possibility that you may have a clog in the plumbing that leads to your showerhead. More specifically, it could be a hard water or rust issue. This is most common in older homes with iron piping (due to rust), but it can happen with virtually any home that has serious buildup.

Much like with leaks, this is an issue that you probably shouldn’t try to tackle on your own. Because of how labor-intensive and tricky it can be to diagnose, it’s best to hire someone who has the experience and the right tools for the job. In many cases, it’s actually safer and cheaper to hire a pro, simply because paying for the repairs you may need after a botched DIY job can get so pricey.

Can Installing A Shower Pump Fix This Issue?

If you just bought the home and noticed that your new shower isn’t as good as it should be, then you might have another fix you should consider. Many gravity-fed plumbing systems have a hard time delivering shower water at a high pressure, especially if other water portions are running at the same time.

The best way to make the shower pressure better is to add a shower pump to your plumbing setup. A shower pump is a small device that helps push the water up through the fixtures. This gives you a better water pressure at little to no cost for operation. While you will have to pay for the installation, it’s still a good choice for many new homeowners who need that extra “oomph.”

How Much Does Installing A Shower Pump Cost?

Admittedly, adding more pressure via a shower pump installation is not going to be a cheap thing to do. This is a long, drawn-out project that will easily cost you thousands of dollars. The price to get a shower pump professionally installed ranges from $2850 to $3811 for a typical home installation.

Thinking about pulling a Bob the Builder and doing it yourself? Well, the price tag will still be high up there. The supplies alone can make this a pricey endeavor, even if you don’t factor labor costs into the mix. A typical shower pump will cost around $2,500 for a modest model, which makes this one of the most expensive add-ons to any shower setup.

Do You Need A Shower Pump In Your Home?

Here’s something that most people don’t realize right off the bat. While a shower pump can boost your home’s water pressure quality, it’s not necessary by any means of the word. In fact, most homes in America don’t have a shower pump installed at all. This is an invention that is primarily found in Europe and Asia, where gravity-fed showers tend to be more common.

If you’re noticing difficulty in getting good pressure in your shower, a cheaper alternative might be to find a showerhead that is designed to give decent pressure. You can usually find one by asking someone at your local Home Depot, or by ordering one that is specifically made with water pressure in mind online.

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Related Questions

Can a showerhead really improve water pressure?

Absolutely. High-pressure showerheads are specially designed to improve the quality of water pressure in your shower setup. Many use special built-in pumps or high tension hoses to give you the high-impact, massaging shower experience that you want to have. Studies show that you can get water pressure to double by using the right showerhead.The best way to make sure that you get the water pressure you want is to invest in a quality showerhead. When in doubt, look for a showerhead labeled “High-Pressure” on the package.

How many PSI should my shower have?

Showers should have a medium to high PSI rating when it comes to their water pressure. Most showers that are considered to be high-functioning will have a PSI rating between 40 and 60. While there is rarely ever an issue with having a higher PSI, you should be concerned if your shower’s PSI rating dips below 35 PSI.If you need to get a new showerhead, check your home’s water pressure levels before you buy your next showerhead. You should get a showerhead that is rated for the water pressure levels that are existent in your home.

Is there such a thing as too high of a water pressure level?

Absolutely and it is a lot more common than you’d think. Most people will find a PSI rating of 70 to be somewhat uncomfortable in a shower, since it can be a bit too intense. However, this is still deemed up to code. It’s only when your water pressure rating exceeds 80 PSi that your building runs the risk of being deemed unfit for safe habitation. Surprising, right?

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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