Every homeowner has a right to a refreshing morning shower. It is a pleasure many take for granted until it’s suddenly gone away. You wake up one morning, and your shower doesn’t have water pressure that it usually has. We soon realize that strong water pressure is part of our quality of life. What irks you isn’t really the fact that the shower doesn’t work but instead that it may be expensive to fix. What exactly causes it? What can you or should you do about it? As a homeowner, do an investigation of your own before spending money on a plumber. In some cases, the problem is so minor even a novice do-it-yourselfer could make the fix.
Single Fixture Issue
Once you notice your shower has suddenly developed to low pressure, inspect all the other plumbing fixtures in your house for the same low pressure. If only the one faucet in the bathroom has low pressure, chances are you don’t need to look any further. There’s most likely a blockage in the showerhead, caused by mineral deposits from our hard water. If other fixtures are also affected by the low water pressure, then the problem may be a blockage in the main supply pipeline or a partially closed valve. You’ll need a plumbing expert to help you to fix any blockage. But you can check for a partially closed water supply valve. Your shut off valve is usually located in the garage, outside wall, or a utility area of the house.
If your shower head is old, then replace it. Most quality showerheads are very affordable. You can purchase a good quality low-flow showerhead for under fifty dollars that can perform as good or better than old antiquated showerheads. The new showerhead will save you a bundle on water while enhancing your showering experience. If your current showerhead still has more life in it, then soak it overnight in a plastic bag with vinegar, make sure the head is covered. Vinegar does an excellent job of removing the calcium and minerals build-up on the head.
Old Flow Showerhead
If you had a bad experience with low flow showerheads in the past, you’re not alone. Like everything else, the latest showerhead technologies have made drastic improvements. If anything, such showerheads are standard in California and several other states. But California does have the strictest showerhead laws among all states. The rules established in 1994 and signed into law were 2.5 gallons per minute (GPM) effective in July of 2018. In California, that number went down to 1.8 GPM making California the most stringent standard of any U.S. state.
Hot Water Has Low Pressure
If the low water pressure is coming from the hot water only, then the problem may be your water heater. In this case, you’ll need to consult with your plumbing professional. Your water heater always involves a safety risk, so please do not try and fix it yourself.
Worst Case Your Pipes Need Replacing
In a worst-case scenario, your copper or steel galvanized pipes may have seen their final days. Most pipes last anywhere from 40 to 50 years, most of which will depend on your water quality. If you have witnessed reduced water pressure over a long time, your pipes may be restricted from minerals that have built-up in the pipeline. Homes built before 1980 with low water pressure and possibly water leaks should get their pipes inspected.