What Causes Low Water Pressure In A Shower?

Last Updated On November 11, 2022
Low Water Pressure in a Shower

Whether it’s first thing in the morning or at the end of a hard day, the last thing we want to deal with is the low water pressure in the shower

A weak shower can be a total letdown. It can also be a sign of a more serious plumbing problem. 
We’re here to help you investigate all the common causes of low water pressure in the shower. We’ll even give you tips on how to get your shower head spraying like it’s brand new.

What's In This Guide?

      Important Things to Know About Low Water Pressure in Showers

      1. Closed water valve – There are multiple water valves between the city’s main water supply line and our shower mixing valve. Any one of these valves could be partially closed.

      Before we pay for an expensive plumber or buy any parts, we need to be sure that the water pressure is running at its maximum possible capacity without being restricted by any shut-off valves.

      2. Water Pressure Regulator Malfunction – Almost every home has a water pressure regulator. This device is usually attached to the main water shut-off in our yard. The water pressure that we receive from the city can be too powerful. 

      An inline regulator limits the water pressure delivered to our showers, sinks, and all other plumbing fixtures.

      3. Damaged or leaking pipes – Our plumbing system works entirely off water pressure. Any holes or loose connections in these pipes can result in a drastic pressure drop. When we turn on our shower, we open the water valve.  

      We will notice far less water pressure coming out of our shower if the pressure is released somewhere in the system, possibly a leak we can’t even see.

      4. Faulty water heater – Our hot water comes from a water heater tank located somewhere in our home. The water fills the tank and is heated using electricity or gas. 

      Water heaters require pressure to function. Any loose connections or corrosion on the water heater can allow the pressure to escape the tank. 

      If we notice low pressure only on the hot water in our shower, and the problem persists throughout our home, it could be due to a faulty water heater going out.

      5. The mixing valve needs replacing – The water temperature is not something we have to think about too often. We turn it in one direction for hot and the other for cold. How does a single valve release both hot and cold water? 

      The secret is the mixing valve. The mixing valve works as a shut-off inside the shower’s water handle. It gives us control of the amount of water pressure we want and also the temperature. If the problem only happens in that shower, the mixing valve will need replacing.

      6. A low-flow shower head or water restrictor – As homeowners, a great way to use less water is to change all our plumbing fixtures to water-saving devices. On the downside, someone may have already installed a low-flow shower head or water restrictor in our shower. 

      Low-flow shower heads supply very little water pressure to our showers. Water restrictors are small plastic discs that fit into the threaded area of the shower head.

      7. Calcium buildup in the shower head – Lower water pressure in the shower can be annoying. It’s worse when the water starts shooting out our shower heads in every direction. It’s an easy fix when the low water pressure results in calcium buildup in our shower head. 

      By visually examining our shower head, we might see a hard white build-up accumulating around the holes where the water comes out. A great way to loosen these calcium deposits is by soaking our shower head in vinegar overnight. 

      We can clean the holes with a small wire and scrub off any remaining settlement.  Our shower head will be good as new.

      Here is a great video explaining how we can clean our shower heads.

      How To Fix Low Water Pressure In The Shower In 7 Easy Steps.

      We can take these seven easy steps to fix low water pressure in the shower. Before we start, we should ask ourselves these two questions.

      • Are my hot water and cold water both affected by low water pressure?

      1. Open all water shut-offs completely. If we notice that our water pressure is low throughout the entire house, it could have something to do with the main shut-off. 

      Turning this valve is like opening a gate. The wider the opening, the more water that passes through. With our water main only partially open, it will restrict a good portion of the water pressure we need in our home.

      2. Replace water pressure regulator – Replacing our water pressure regulator is a job for a qualified plumber. We can usually locate this device attached to the city’s main water shut-off. s, our house will be supplied with too much or too little water pressure when our pressure regulator fails.

      3. Repair Damaged Plumbing Pipes – Sometimes, in our plumbing system, the water can escape from areas we don’t expect. When we notice low water pressure in the shower, we should check the pressure in the rest of the home. 

      We can narrow down the cause of the leak by figuring out which rooms and plumbing devices are affected. Plumbing pipes come in many forms, from copper and other metals and plastic. In plumbing, we need to be sure that we have everything we’re going to need before starting the job. 

      4. Repair A Faulty Water Heater. If the hot water has low pressure throughout the rest of the house, this is typically a sign of a faulty water heater. From calcium and mineral deposits to loose connections, we can lose a lot of water pressure if our water heater tank is damaged.

      It’s crucial to research the exact model. We don’t skip any steps before attempting to replace a water heater ourselves.

      5. Replace our mixing valve. If we notice that our water pressure is low in the shower, we should test the hot and cold sides. If only our hot water is affected, we can then check the rest of the plumbing devices in our home. 

      Any shower handle we use to turn on water has a cartridge-style valve inside controlling the water pressure. Some devices only have one handle, giving us control of the hot and cold water with a single knob.

      Inside of this handle is a mixing valve cartridge. If it is damaged or worn, it can restrict the water pressure. When our hot water is not working and we only have low water pressure in the shower, our mixing valve probably needs to be replaced. 

      Getting to the mixing valve can be different for each faucet. Changing the shower mixing valve is as easy as pulling out the old cartridge and dropping it in the new one.

      6. Replacing a low-flow shower head is a job for any DIYer. To remove a shower head, we simply unscrew it. Teflon tape on plumbing threads is always a good idea to help prevent leaks. With the old shower head removed, we can screw the new one in place.

      7. Removing Mineral Deposits From A Shower Head. Removing calcium buildup on a shower head is as easy as letting it soak overnight. Vinegar will break down the mineral deposits so we can scrub our old shower head back to its original chrome shine. Using a small wire to poke out the holes, we can get our shower head working just like the day we bought it. 

      Did you know? Water restrictors are small plastic discs with holes. These devices can fit into different areas of our shower heads. We might need to investigate, but removing these might solve our low water pressure problem.

      did you know low pressure in shower

      No Water Pressure In The Shower?

      What do we do when there’s no water pressure in our shower? 

      If we turn our shower on and nothing comes out, the problem can only be a complete blockage in our system. There is a good chance that our mixing valve has malfunctioned. It’s also possible that one of our water shut-off valves is off.

      What About Low Hot Water Pressure In the Shower?

      We may only notice low pressure when we turn the shower handle in one direction. When we only get low hot water pressure in the shower, there could be a problem with the mixing valve. 

      The mixing valve is a cartridge inside of the shower handle. It limits the hot and cold water allowed up to the shower head. If any component on the mixing valve is not working correctly, it will restrict the water flow on one side. We could have damaged and corroded pipes on the hot water side of our plumbing system, or the water heater itself could be faulty. 

      Final Thoughts On Low Water Pressure In A Shower

      We can experience low water pressure in the shower for many reasons. Most of which do not require an expensive plumber. After we have gone through the seven easy steps of fixing the low water pressure in a shower, we can decide if the job is something we can tackle. 

      When we notice low or no water pressure in our shower, we can usually fix it ourselves. If we don’t feel confident in the job, we should never hesitate to call in a professional. 

      FAQ’s on Low Water Pressure in Your Shower

      What causes low water pressure in the shower?

      Calcium and mineral deposits are common causes of low water pressure in our shower. It could even be a water valve shut off. There are many reasons we could have low water pressure in the shower. Most of which we can fix ourselves without calling a plumber.

      How do I fix low water pressure in my shower?

      One way to fix low water pressure in a shower is to be sure all your shut-off valves are completely open. Cleaning our shower head can sometimes do the trick. If the low water pressure in our shower is due to faulty or broken pipes, A water heater,  or a mixing valve, we can still probably fix it without calling a plumber.

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      About Plumbing Navigator

      We write about "all things plumbing," helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

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      We write about “all things plumbing,” helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

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