Content of the material
- What is water pressure?
- What are the types of boiler?
- How do you adjust a Symmons pressure balancing shower valve?
- How Do You Fix Low Water Pressure in an Upstairs Shower?
- 1. Check What’s Draining the Shower
- 2. Adjust the Regulator
- What causes low water pressure in the shower?
- How can I shower without hot water?
- What is the best way to increase water pressure in your home?
- Is 70 Psi Too High for Water Pressure?
- How to increase shower water pressure
- Check for leaks
- Check for shower head sediment
- Ensure your stop tap is open fully
- Install a shower pump
- What Causes Low Water Pressure?
- Understanding Water Pressure and How to Increase Water Pressure in Shower
- Why is that?
- Common Causes Of Low Water Pressure
- 1. Low-Flow Showerhead
- 2. Blocked Showerhead
- 3. Flow Restrictor
- 4. Worn-Out Mixing Valve
- 5. Peak Periods
- 6. Plumbing System Issues
- Why is my water pressure low?
- Narrow Pipes
- Blocked Pipes
- Clogged Appliances
- Obstructed Valve
- How to Increase Water Pressure in Your Shower?
- Site Footer
What is water pressure?
If your water pressure is low, water will flow slowly and take longer to fill up a sink or a bath, especially in an upstairs bathroom. If the water pressure is higher, it will fill up much quicker and your shower will be more powerful.
If you have lived in a house for a while it can be difficult to know whether you have high or low pressure, as the speed with which the water comes out is what you are used to and consider “normal”.
Water pressure in the bathroom really only matters when you are thinking about upgrading or renovating your bathroom.
Water pressure is linked to your home’s boiler, along with a water tank, so it’s important to know which type of boiler you have.
What are the types of boiler?
There are three types of boiler systems – gravity-fed, combi boiler and unvented – and each has its own influence on your water pressure.
Gravity-Fed: Often found in older properties, this system will usually feature a cold water tank in the loft and a hot water cylinder elsewhere in your home. This means you will usually have a low-pressure water system. However, if you have enough height between the cold water tank and a tap or shower outlet, it may be possible to have a higher pressure.
Read more: Boiler Maintenance Tips & Checks
Combi Boiler: If you have a wall-mounted boiler that’s located in your kitchen, for example, you have a combi boiler system. You may not have a cold or hot water storage tank in the property, which means you have a high-pressure water system. Fed directly by mains pressure cold water, it is then quickly heated and pumped around your home.
Unvented: If your property has a hot water tank but no cold tank, you have an unvented water system that will provide high-pressure water. Water is often stored at the mains pressure level in a hot water tank and heated by immersion heaters attached to the side or via your central heating.
How do you adjust a Symmons pressure balancing shower valve?
Slide the handle onto the valve stem. Turn the handle counterclockwise until you reach the desired maximum temperature. Pull the handle off the valve stem without turning it. Tighten the adjustment screw until it is snug.
How Do You Fix Low Water Pressure in an Upstairs Shower?
Generally, the water pressure on the upper floor of a house is lower than the ground floor. In most houses, the water heater is located in the basement. That’s where the main water line starts too. For every foot of pipe that water travels, it loses pressure and more so through vertical piping.
This results in dismal water release from your shower head. Fortunately, you can end the frustration and fix low pressure in your upstairs shower. First, check the water pressure as it enters your house. If it’s low already, then your shower upstairs will suffer.
1. Check What’s Draining the Shower
If your water supply from the mainline is adequate, check the pressure by making sure that your water appliances and sources are turned off first. For example, washing machines, dishwashers, other faucets, and outdoor hoses.
When these are all open, the water pressure in the upstairs shower reduces as it’s flowing in all these other places. If you notice high pressure upstairs when there’s nothing else draining the water, use the shower that way.
2. Adjust the Regulator
Check and adjust the water pressure regulator according to the pressure you need. You can increase the pressure on the whole house. Don’t adjust it too quickly as it may get damaged when the sudden gush of water destroys weak spots. Do it slowly and carefully as you monitor it.
So, how do you adjust the regulator? Start by loosening the nut using a wrench, take a screwdriver and turn the adjustment screw with a clockwise motion. Special cases will call for a pump if the water pressure can’t increase above a specific level.
What causes low water pressure in the shower?
Low water pressure at the shower head can occur for a wide variety of reasons.
The most common reasons are:
Your mains water system may be using old piping.
If you live in or close to a city or town centre, then it’s likely that your low water pressure is caused by the mains water system.
This is due to mains water systems in city and town centres using much older pipes.
It is also harder for local government to replace the piping due to the disruption it would cause in a city centre.
Your home water system may have undersized supply piping.
One of the most common reasons for low water pressure is undersized supply piping.
This is common in older houses where the original plumbing system is still in place. This will restrict the amount of water coming into your home and to the shower.
Again, it is quite disruptive to replace so it’s likely previous homeowners have not fixed the issue.
Your home water system may be clogged
Again, if you live in an older house, then you may be using old, iron piping in your home water system.
Iron is vulnerable to rusting which can break off and cause an obstruction within the pipe.
This issue will often be made worse if dirt, gravel or sand enters your system through older entry piping.
You have a “flow restricting” or “water saving” shower head
One common reason that is often overlooked is the shower head. Modern showers often use “flow restricting” or “water saving” shower heads.
Flow restricting shower heads were first introduced under The National Energy Act in the United States.
Many manufacturers in the UK have followed the example set by the US and are now installing water restrictors in an attempt to help homeowners reduce water bills and stop people wasting water.
You have an obstructed shut off valve
Another common reason that you may be experiencing low water pressure is an obstructed shut off valve.
If you’ve just bought a new home, or you’ve recently had building work done, then you should check that your shut off valve is fully open.
The shut-off valve is usually located under the kitchen sink. If you believe the water valve to be broken, contact a plumber immediately.
How can I shower without hot water?
Move back out of the water. Apply conditioner to your hair, and wash your body with soap as you would in a warm shower. Rinse your washcloth or loofah before you move the water stream back towards your body. Readjust the shower head so that the water is hitting your body again.
What is the best way to increase water pressure in your home?
If you have checked that the shower head is not restricted by dirt or a water restrictor, then you really only have one option:
A shower pump.
A shower pump is cheaper than a power shower, electric shower or pressurised unvented cylinder.
Installing a shower pump is a simple task for a plumber, taking around a day to fit. You could even fit it yourself if you are DIY competent.
A shower pump is a quick fix that doesn’t involve replacing shower parts or replacing parts of the plumbing system.
Is 70 Psi Too High for Water Pressure?
Low pressure is irritating for residents but high pressure in your shower is dangerous to the plumbing system, the walls, tanks, and much more. Although most homes keep their pressure between 40 and 60 PSI, 70 PSI is not too high for water pressure. Beware that your water pressure should not go beyond 75 PSI.
How to increase shower water pressure
Depending on your issue, there are several ways you can increase the water pressure in your shower. Follow the checklist below to find the right solution for you.
Check for leaks
If you’ve tested the water pressure in all the taps and shower (see ‘How to test your water pressure’ above) and found low water pressure in the house as a whole, then you may have a leak somewhere.
Follow the advice in our article on common water leaks in the home and how to fix them or contact HomeServe if you need help.
Check for shower head sediment
If you’ve had your shower for some time, there may be a build-up of limescale and sediment in the showerhead obstructing the flow of water.
To clean it, unscrew the showerhead from the hose and immerse the whole thing in a bowl of vinegar for 8 hours. Then manually remove any remaining debris.
Top tip: Use a toothpick to push limescale out of the small holes.
If this doesn’t work, it’s probably time to replace the showerhead with a new one.
Ensure your stop tap is open fully
If your hot water is supplied through a combi boiler, the water pressure is controlled by a stop tap. Check your boiler manual to locate the stop tap and ensure it’s fully open.
Also, check the water pressure. As a minimum, it should be 1 bar.
Install a shower pump
If you have a gravity-fed plumbing system (i.e. you have a cold water tank and a hot water cylinder) consider having a pump installed. Pumps give the water a boost as it flows from the hot water tank to the shower. Or you could change your shower to a power shower that has a pump already built-in.
Installing an electric shower is another option. However, because electric showers only use cold water, the water has to flow slowly to allow time for it to heat up. This gives them a gentler flow.
Whichever option you choose, it’s always best to get a professional plumber to do the installation for you.
What Causes Low Water Pressure?
Before attempting to increase the water pressure, it’s important to identify the source of the problem. Here I’ve listed the main culprits behind facing a lower water pressure. Check the list –
- Clogged shower heads
- Narrow water supply pipe
- Water leakage
- Pressure tank problem
- Short cycling
Understanding Water Pressure and How to Increase Water Pressure in Shower
There is a mighty force moving water through your pipes.
This force is what we call water pressure and is measured in bars.
Each home should be provided with the exact same amount of pressure.
Yet, why then you have your shower pressure low and your neighbor enjoys their bath at the full jet.
The water pressure you receive depends on how far you are located from the water tower, whether the area you are living in is hilly, and whether your neighbor is taking a shower at the same time as you are.
Yet, don’t blame your neighbor today, or ever.
No matter how long your neighbor loves their showers, they could never pull so much water away you would experience such a lack of pressure as you are experiencing now.
Why is that?
We have two options here – either you have a serious plumbing issue (pipe-related) or you have a dribbly shower.
Unfortunately, having an issue with your plumbing system is the most complicated cause of obstructed shower pressure.
When pipes corrode or when debris blocks them partially over time, you will experience constricted water flow.
Yet, leaks and pipe damages can fall into the “culprits” category as well.
If everything seems fine with the shower itself and it works well, but you are still receiving that miserable pressure, stay with us for a couple more minutes.
Common Causes Of Low Water Pressure
Before getting to work, you will have to determine what’s the problem. Is it something related to the plumbing? Is the showerhead faulty and needs to be replaced? Well, you don’t have to rely on pure guesswork – check out the following section.
1. Low-Flow Showerhead
The low-flow showerhead is no longer widely used, and the chances are that you can only find it in California nowadays. Admittedly, it works wonders in saving energy and reducing your water bills, but it’s a nightmare for shower lovers.
2. Blocked Showerhead
With time, limescale and mineral deposits will block those tiny holes of your showerhead, reducing water volume and ruin your shower experience. Lucky for you, the issue is not too difficult to resolve.
3. Flow Restrictor
Also known as the water restrictor, it restricts the water flow by 2.5 gallons per minute. In fact, this is a requirement imposed by the National Energy Act with a view to lowering people’s water bills and protecting the environment.
4. Worn-Out Mixing Valve
A mixing valve is designed to control the water temperature by mixing hot and cold water. To illustrate, when someone in your family flushes the toilet, the shower temperature will drop, followed by the pressure. This usually lasts for 15-30 seconds only.
When stuck or worn out, the mixing valve can also affect the temperature and the water pressure. In this situation, you will need to call in a professional plumber, or perhaps you want to consider switching to a thermostatic valve, the ideal solution to the first problem.
5. Peak Periods
Is the water pressure low at all times or only at certain periods of the day? In multi-story buildings or neighborhoods with many residents, the water demand will surge and cause the water pressure to be temporarily low during peak hours, such as in the morning.
6. Plumbing System Issues
Issues regarding the plumbing system, such as leaky pipes, are usually challenging to deal with unless you are an experienced plumber. Therefore, it’s well-advised that you seek help from an expert.
Why is my water pressure low?
If you see a drop in water pressure for your taps or shower, it could be for a number of reasons, such as demand, pipes, blockages and old appliances.
A common one being the time of day you are using your appliances. In the morning, between 7 and 9 am, when everyone is having a shower and getting ready for work or school, pressure can be lower, so the water flowing out of a tap or shower may be lower than usual.
Aside from incidents causing a drop in pressure, older properties have generally been built with narrower pipes than more modern homes. This can cause problems with low pressure when using your appliances or trying to run them at the same time. Pipes in modern houses can be twice as wide as older properties, so these issues are often not found in new builds.
Like narrow pipes, the supply and water pressure to your home can be impacted by blocked pipes, either through limescale, rust or dirt. Like your drains becoming blocked and leading to sinks or toilets being slow to drain, the same can happen for water supply, causing lower pressure.
As your pipes can be blocked, so too can your taps and shower. Limescale can build up over time which can cause a substantial drop in flow and water pressure. Many showers have a filter to protect them from pipework debris, which can become blocked, too. If your tap runs at a different rate than your shower, and vice-versa, this is likely the issue.
Read more: How to Remove Limescale from a Bathroom
Specifically for showers, they will not perform as expected unless there is a minimum height of one metre between the shower head and the water level in your property’s water tank. Called the ‘head of water’, the higher the head, the greater your water pressure and vice-versa.
You experience low water pressure if your shut-off valve is obstructed or even closed. Usually found under your kitchen sink, the valve can become obstructed by debris. Likewise, if you’ve recently bought and moved into a new home, had building work done recently, then you should check the valve is fully open. If you think the valve is broken, call a plumber.
How to Increase Water Pressure in Your Shower?
There are several things you do to improve the water pressure in the shower and most of the tips will cost you nothing.
Go through our prepared list and find the most inexpensive way through it to improve the water pressure in your shower.
1. Blame The Showerhead
By law, many showerheads are designed to lessen the flow of water in order to deliver only a certain amount per minute. This is all well and good, but many times the principle might be taken a bit too far resulting in low water pressure.
How to Fix :
A simple way to increase the water pressure in the showerhead is to purchase a new shower head – they’re inexpensive items – and look for the washer inside. This is designed to restrict the water flow, but you can widen this with a drill until the water flows properly.
This may solve the problem of a stingy showerhead, but if there’s an actual problem you might have to dig deeper. The head is the first place to look if you’re having pressure problems. Often the inside can become clogged, and this requires removing the head and cleaning out whatever may be causing the blockage. Showerheads are usually easy to screw off and on and don’t require a multitude of special tools.
2. Faulty Pipes
If clearing the showerhead doesn’t produce results, then the problem may be with the pipe itself. A galvanized pipe is one that is coated in molten zinc, and they are often no longer used in newer homes. This is because, over time, they may corrode and causes leakages, which can lead to most of the water escaping before it even gets to your shower.
The zinc in the pipe will corrode and rust, falling off the walls of the pipe and blocking the way. This may lead to water with a faint tinge of copper, as the flow has to pass through mounds of rusted metal.
How to Fix:
Rust inside the pipes isn’t especially harmful; you may wish to install tap filters for drinking water, but otherwise, you can keep using water in the same way as you have been. This is only short-term, however, and you’ll eventually need to have the pipes replaced, especially if your shower is suffering from low-pressure. Different pipes suit different types of houses, with copper being appropriate in some cases and other materials – polyethylene, for example – suit others.
3. Check for A Flow Restrictor
Recently flow restrictors are introduced into the designs by showerhead manufacturers, to complete the requirement of the National Energy Act in the USA which was brought in to help the customers to reduce their water supply bills and to help the environment.
Flow Restrictors contain small holes that reduce the flow of water supply, maintaining a moderate pressure of water passing through the showerhead.
How to Fix:
If the water pressure in the shower is still not fixed then you should try to remove the flow restrictor. You can read the standard manual that came with your shower head or if you have lost it then you can go through the how-to remove flow restrictor from the shower head video. Check the water flow after removing the flow restrictor for the problem fix.
4. Check for Kinks
The kinks can also be one of the reasons for low water pressure. Checking for any kinks present in the hose or water line can be a smart move.
How to Fix:
If you have a flexible water line supplying water to your bathroom shower, make sure it is not twisted because it will make the water pressure very low.
5. Check The Valve
If you have recently got any plumber to your house to fix any other water issue, then you should check for the house main water valve in your house or the water valve that is supplying water to the bathroom shower. Sometimes plumbers left or forgot to turn the water valve fully on and that can make the water pressure low.
How to Fix:
To increase the water pressure in shower make sure the water valve of your house is fully open.
6. Check for Leaks
Leaking water supply pipes can reduce the amount of water that reaches your shower. Also, leaking of water pipes installed in the housewalls can damage the walls and will cost you a lot to be fixed.
How to Fix:
Check the water pipes for any leaks and call the plumbing professionals if you found one to fix it.
7. Hot And Cold Water Valve Shut Off
Sometimes the low water pressure issue can happen with the Hot and Cold water supply of the shower. Maybe one of them is supplying low water pressure in the shower.
How to Fix:
If you have both hot and cold water supply in your shower and one of them is not supplying high-pressure water. Then you should check the hot and cold water shut-off valves in your house and make sure they both are fully open.
8. A New Shower Pump
If you have checked all the issues listed above and reached here, then we are quite sure you haven’t found your solution yet.
The other reason for low water pressure in shower can be the shower pump. A shower pump is used to increase the pressure in shower.
How to Fix:
If your shower is not working properly then you should install a new shower pump. Installing a new shower pump is not costly.
If you don’t know how to replace the old shower pump then calling a professional plumber is possibly a good idea.
9. Taking Shower In Off-Hours
As an example, if you found that your shower is not providing pressured water in the morning. Then the reason might be that everyone in your area is using water for bathing, washing cars or cooking in the morning which can lower the supply of water in your house.
How to Fix:
Try to take shower in the off-hours when you are sure that no one is using the water in your area.
10. Check the Appliances
Using water home appliances like washing machines, dishwashers, or watering the plants at the same time can decrease the supply of water to your bathroom.
How to Fix:
Try not to use all the home appliances related to water use at the same time or take your shower before using any other appliances.
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