Troubleshooting Low Shower Pressure

Posted on: 6 January 2017


Low water pressure from the shower head can be especially frustrating if you were looking forward to a long, hot shower. Fortunately, it's often a quick fix once you determine the cause. The following troubleshooting guide can help you track down the reason for the loss of pressure, as well as provide some repair pointers.

Is the water pressure low in the entire home?

If you are on a municipal water source and the pressure drops for the entire house, then chances are the problem is stemming from your water company. They may be working on lines or adjusting pressure at the source. Often the problem corrects itself, but you may need to call and file a complaint.

For those on a private well, a whole house drop in pressure could indicate a more severe problem. The pump could be blocked or going out, which necessitates repair. Another issue is the well could be going dry or it may be refilling more slowly due to a low water table or overuse.

Did you check the water shut-off valve?

Sometimes the water pressure only drops in the bathroom, which means it only affects the sink, toilet, and shower. In this case, the issue may be with the shut-off valve. Your bathroom should have a dedicated shut-off valve. It's often located beneath the sink or behind the toilet. Sometimes the valve gets turned accidentally, so turning it back to the left will increase the water pressure.

If this doesn't work, there may be a more severe problem. A leak in a water supply pipe to the bathroom could be causing the drop in water pressure. You need a plumber to locate and fix the leak promptly before water damage ruins your home.

Do you have hard water?

When only the shower is affected, the culprit may be hard water. Mineral deposits build up in the spray nozzles of the shower, limiting water flow. Simply remove the shower head and soak it in vinegar over night, then scrub it out with an old toothbrush. The acidic vinegar breaks down the hard water deposits.

If this doesn't work, you can try replacing the shower head. If the problem persists, there could be deposits in the water delivery line for the shower, which a plumber will have to clean out.

Contact a plumbing contractor for more help with the issue if the above didn't solve your problem.