It’s Monday morning. It’s Winter so it’s dark and cold! Your alarm rings loudly and pulls you begrudgingly out of your warm, cozy bed. A lovely hot shower will help! You step in and wait for that hot stream to hit you with full force to wake you up and jump start you for your week ahead but… nothing but weak jet of water hits you, almost like it’s also been woken from a deep slumber.
We’ve all experienced that! We feel your pain! The low water pressure of a much needed shower is nothing short of infuriating when you need it the most! But don’t despair! You’ve come to the right place to get to the bottom of your low pressure shower issues!
There may be bigger plumbing problems
Unfortunately low water pressure in your shower can indicate larger plumbing problems such as a blocked shower head, a worn out mixing valve on your tap, a closed or half closed water valve, leaking or cracked pipes or even a faulty geyser. Let’s illuminate some of the issues that may be causing it so that we can get you to the bottom of the problem.
Before we move onto those, let’s make sure that your low water pressure is isolated to your shower or whether low water pressure is affecting your whole house. Firstly, turn the cold tap on by itself to check whether it’s just the hot water that has low pressure. Next, check to see if the water coming from your bathroom basin taps are also affected by low water pressure. Check to see if other taps in other rooms in the house also have low water pressure.
Next you will need to check that the valve water meter valve, the main shutoff valve, and all inline valves are open all the way. These can normally be found in your home’s water meter box. There are a few reasons that this valve could have been partially closed. In some cases, if you are renting, your landlord may have purposefully turned down the volume of the water flowing into the house to cut down on the amount of water you are using. However, if your water meter valve is on the pavement it might have been turned off but not opened properly again if there was construction or water pipe repairs taking place on your street. Once you have ascertained that your main water valve is fully open, you now know that the low water pressure is isolated to the inside of your home.
It really is worthwhile checking to see that your main water valve is completely open before moving onto the next set of checks. However, if the low water pressure is affecting your whole house, nothing that we suggest below will solve the general water pressure problems and you will need to call Absolute Plumbing in to the check your plumbing to get to the root of the low water problem.
If the low water pressure is restricted to your shower only, the checks below may just help you to sort it out. However, if none of the methods below fix it, you will definitely need to call in the professionals.
Check to see if you have a low-flow showerhead
In water conservation efforts, some homes may have low-flow showerheads already installed and this may be the cause of the low pressure in your shower. You may even have a water-restricting device installed in your normal shower head. You should be able to increase your water flow by removing the water-restricting device from your showerhead or completely removing the low-flow showerhead and replacing it with a higher-flow model.
Over time, mineral deposits and scale accumulate along your pipes and especially in the small holes of your showerhead and this can greatly reduce the flow of water. This will cause more of problem if you live in an area with ‘hard’ water. A simple and natural way to remove this build up in your showerhead is to remove it and completely submerge it in white vinegar overnight. In the morning you should be able to easily remove the build up with a toothpick. Screw your clean showerhead back on and send a blast of water through it to check if this has improved the water pressure.
Using Showers During Peak Periods
Showering during peak times such as before and after work could indicate a fault outside of your home plumbing system and is unfortunately not something that you will be able to control. High water use by the houses surrounding you may affect your water pressure. Check this by testing your water pressure outside of peak times such as during the day.
If these DIY tips have not drastically improved the flow rate of your shower, it is time to call in the professionals. Your plumber will check the following;
- Your water mixing valve may be the problem
Most single-handed faucets have an internal part called a ‘mixing valve’. This valve controls the amount of hot and cold water that flows out. If the valve is damaged/worn out or even stuck it will totally mess up the temperature balance and water pressure. Please note: Accessing, checking and replacing a mixing valve is not easy and should be done by a qualified and experienced plumber.
- Faulty water pressure regulator
If the water pressure in your home has dropped suddenly and markedly, there may be a problem with your water pressure regulator. The purpose of the water pressure regulator is to keep the flow of water into your home at a safe pressure range as if this important component fails the water pressure to your home will get excessively high OR low. This regulator is normally found on the water supply line before it enters the house and should only be checked and replaced by a qualified plumber. Tampering with or trying to replace your water pressure regulator yourself could lead to further, more expensive drain repair problems and it is simply not worth it.
- Closed valves
Your home’s plumbing system has several valves throughout it and if any of these valves are closed for some reason you will experience low water pressure.
- Faulty geyser
If you experience low water pressure only when turning on your hot tap, the problem more than likely lies with your geyser. A faulty geyser is not something that can be repaired by yourself and will need the attention of a plumber to avoid expensive problems such as a burst geyser. Getting your geyser checked sooner rather than later will save you money and inconvenience in the long run.
- Leaking or corroded pipes
Old metal pipes can rust or corrode from the inside out or mineral deposits could have built up within your pipes which could be disrupting the flow of water through them. Your pipes might even have a small crack or leak that could be affecting the water pressure in your home. Therefore, having your pipes professionally checked by a plumber who can locate the source of the leak and fix it before it becomes worse is very important and should be prioritised. Pipe Relining Cape Town will be able to accurately detect any leaks and evaluate the leaks and suggest the best possible ways to repair your damaged plumbing system.
Be sure to contact Absolute Plumbing Cape Town today if the above DIY tips didn’t help with your low water pressure in your shower as persistent low water pressure is a sure sign that there is a bigger problem with your home’s plumbing system. As with all plumbing repairs, the sooner they are dealt with, the better!