You’re sure to have had the experience of turning on the shower only to find it merely dripping rather than gushing. This can be very disheartening and frustrating, especially when you’re in a hurry. Happily, there are a number of ways to solve this low-flow problem. Read on to learn how.
The first thing you should do is identify what’s causing the low-flow problem. Perhaps water is leaking in another location and causing pressure to be low in the shower. Maybe there is a mineral deposit build-up in the shower head. Perhaps there is debris in the water, or maybe the entire city is experiencing low water pressure for some reason or your main water valve simply isn’t fully on. When you identify the cause, you can easily plan your next step.
Check your water valves. Sometimes a water pressure problem is nothing more than a main water valve that has been accidentally turned too low. You may be able to repair your low-flow problem by simply turning the valve clockwise!
Very often, low-flow is caused by debris in the water. This can happen because of work on water pipes nearby that allows sand and gravel into the system, disintegrated plastic pipe that allows in bits of plastic, iron flakes from old pipes or even algae. To determine whether or not this is the cause, you should remove the shower head (or the aerator on a sink faucet) and have a look. If the unit is clogged, simply clean it out, screw it back on and go your merry way. If this doesn’t work, you may need to call in a plumber to unclog the water pipes.
It may be that your whole city is experiencing low flow. To find out if this is the case, you will need a test gauge for water pressure which you can get at a home improvement center. To test the water pressure, you would turn off all the water in your house and anywhere it may be running in your yard. You would screw the water pressure test gauge onto an outside faucet with a hose connection (which should come with the gauge). Turn on the water and check the pressure. It should be about 60 pounds per square inch (PSI). Below 50 PSI is too low. Over 80 PSI is too high. If your water pressure regularly tests low, you might want to consider having your water pipes replaced with a larger size.
Check around for leaks. Look under your house and under sinks, behind toilets and behind your water heater. If you don’t see any leaks, turn off your main water valve and check your water meter. Take note of the reading. Check it again in a couple of hours to see if it has changed. If it has, you know you have a hidden water leak that is taxing your water pressure. In this case, you will probably need to call a professional to locate and repair the leak.