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Low Shower Head Water Pressure

Fix Low Water Pressure Shower Head TIPS Just Below









DIY Fix Low Water Pressure Shower Head TIPS

  • Remove shower head from gooseneck turning counterclockwise - be sure not to turn gooseneck
  • Look inside threads on back / top of shower head - inspect for sediment
  • Remove flow restrictor and clean out sediment soaking in hot white vinegar for 24 hours
  • Soak shower head in hot white vinegar for 24 hours to remove scale / sediment from small holes

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from a local handyman to fix your showerhead.

DEAR TIM: The flow of water that comes from my shower is miserable. It is so weak it takes forever to wash my hair. The water flow out of the tub spout is fine as is the flow at the bathroom sink. I have been told there is a flow restrictor in the shower head that is the culprit. Can I remove it or modify it so I can take a reasonable shower? Is there another possible problem? Pamela F., Lakeland, FL

DEAR PAMELA: If there is not a flow restrictor in the shower head itself, there may be one in the body of the shower faucet. But more often than not, the flow of water is controlled at the shower head. There are strict laws in place that force manufacturers to limit the amount of water that a faucet and/or shower head can deliver in a given amount of time. It is a good law in that it helps to conserve precious natural resources.

At the bottom of this shower head inlet is a small plastic disk. It has small holes that can readily clog with sediment. When this happens, the water flow can be reduced to a trickle. PHOTO CREDIT: Tim Carter

At the bottom of this shower head inlet is a small plastic disk. It has small holes that can readily clog with sediment. When this happens, the water flow can be reduced to a trickle. PHOTO CREDIT: Tim Carter

I am quite certain that with a little work the shower head will perform as designed and give you the desired strong stream of water you deserve and so desperately desire. It is possible that within 30 minutes you can make this shower head perform like a champion. If this is a new home and the problem has been a chronic one since the day you moved in, there is a good chance the problem can be traced to a workmanship error.

As water supply lines are installed, small pieces of solder, copper shavings, wood dust, wood chips, globs of soldering flux, pieces of plastic, etc. can get into the water lines. It is the responsibility of the plumber to flush out the water supply lines before any fixtures are installed. Flushing the water lines can happen at most fixtures just after the water shut-off valves have been installed but before the flexible supply lines have been connected from these valves to the faucets or fixtures.

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from a local handyman to fix your showerhead.

But shower and tub valves are far more challenging. These valves are almost always installed before the interior of the house is finished and often before the water service from the street or pump has been connected to the interior plumbing lines. In other words, it is very difficult - but not impossible - to flush the shower water supply lines.

If the lines are not flushed before the shower head is installed, the rapid flow of water carries a mixture of water and debris into the shower head. The extremely small holes in the flow restrictor can become clogged or partially clogged in an instant.

If the shower head worked fine and the flow became reduced over time, pieces of sediment or debris from the city water system or your well could have clogged the restrictor. This is a very common occurrence, especially if you live in an area with older city water mains. If a city water main is serviced, pieces of sediment are often dislodged in the main water main as the water flows through the giant mains toward your house.

I would remove the shower head from the angled pipe that projects out from the wall. Once the shower head is off, turn on the shower faucet to see if you get a respectable amount of water flowing from the one-half inch diameter pipe that connected to the shower head. If so, the problem must be in the shower head.

Look inside the end of the shower head where the water line connected to it. You should be able to see a small plastic disk. Use a very thin pointed piece of metal to get a purchase under one edge of the disk. Try to pry the disk out of the shower head. Work slowly and pay attention to which side of the small disk faces out towards the water supply pipe. When you go to reinstall the disk, it must be installed the same way it was at the factory.

Once the small disk is out of the shower head, use a small straight pin or other object to clean out the small holes. Use plenty of fresh water to help rinse away any debris. Place the disk near a bright light so you can ensure each of the holes is perfectly clean. Be sure you rinse the shower head at the same time to ensure no debris made it past the flow restrictor.

If the shower head is caked with hard water deposits, let the shower head soak in some warm white vinegar for twenty-four hours. The vinegar will often remove or soften the hard water deposits. After soaking, use a toothbrush to remove any residual deposits and rinse with clear water. Install the small plastic flow restrictor disk and reattach the shower head to the water pipe.

Not all shower heads are designed the same and after removing one from the water supply pipe at the wall you may not see a plastic disk. If this happens and the flow of water from the supply pipe is adequate, just go buy a new shower head.

Shower heads are readily accessible and they are a common replacement part. In fact, you may find one that produces a better stream of water than what you had before.

Remember to use pipe thread compound or Teflon tape on the water supply pipe that connects to the shower head. These materials prevent leaks where the shower head connects to the water supply pipe.

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from a local handyman to fix your showerhead.

Companion Articles:  Low Water Pressure in Faucets, Tub Faucets


25 Responses to Low Shower Head Water Pressure

  1. I had my bathroom remodeled. I now have a handheld shower head and a fixed shower head in the same shower. The pressure in the handheld shower head is fine but the fixed shower head's water pressure is low. I am not happy. Did the contractor do something wrong? Can the problem be fixed? Prior to having my bathroom remodeled the water pressure in the shower was fine.

  2. Installing a new bath faucet (Pfister one handle,same as I already had) made shower lose terrible pressure, which was fine before. I removed shower head, soaked it and the filter in vinegar for 3 hrs.,scrubbed it with brush and it's still the same. Restrictor was removed when I first bought it and shower was fine until now.
    I'm at my wits end, because I love my showers.
    Plumber did flush the pipe before replacing shower head, so that's ruled out.
    Help. Thank you.

  3. Hi Tim, the water pressure is low in our shower head and tub but the rest of the house is fine. Also, the problem is only intermittent. We took apart th shower head and cleaned it. But no change. It happens once or twice a day and no other appliances are on at these times. Any ideas?

    • What about installing a new cartridge in the valve? Maybe you have sediment that's blocking water flow inside the valve. What's the water flow like when you have the shower head off and just the neck arm there?

  4. My shower has good pressurensometimes and sometimes not, I can turn it on and off back and forth and itnwill be strong, I recently changed the diverter valve, the water pressure out the spout in the tube is great and probably more than it should be. Any ideas on what the problem might be?

  5. All of a sudden the water pressure for the hot water is extremely low to the point that it trickles in all faucets including the shower. The cold water is fine. What do we do?

  6. Hi Tim,
    I'm having water pressure issues in both the bath faucet and the shower head, though pressure in the adjacent sink and elsewhere in the house is fine. I'm thinking mineral build up, as my hot water tank also makes a weird vibratey/rattle noise like a drill sometimes. Any suggestions or advice?

  7. Hi Tim, after changing diverter valve in compression style tub to shower my shower head water pressure is only fair. Water pressure to tub spout is fine. Any ideas? Thanks

  8. Hi Tim,

    Our shower in our guest house has terrible water pressure. We bought the house last year & it is a new build. I changed the shower head. We also had a plumber replace the regulator but it is still terrible. The other faucets seem fine. Any advice?

  9. I have barely a trickle of water from my shower pipe neck. I already removed the shower head and even made the mistake of taking off the faucet handle with the faucet on. Plenty of pressure there, Also no other fixtures-2 sinks and 1 tub are having any low flow problems. Any ideas??

  10. If/then assumes that the showerhead is the culprit. What if it's not?

    Here's the scenario. We installed and ran new line direct from the water source to the newly installed shower stall. Brand new valve-set (simple 2-knob set from Lowes). Brand new basic showerhead.
    Terrible flow.
    Take off the showerhead, still terrible flow.
    Disconnect source from the valve-set, AWESOME flow, pointed at a 5-gal bucket, it flows so fast it splashes out of the 5-gallon bucket.
    The sink right next to the shower flows so hard it's like the above bucket...it splashes out of the sink.


    • Are you in America? I don't know what a valve-set is, but am having same shower problems (onset about two weeks ago) as you. We have instantaneous hot water heater too, so what trickle is coming out is freezing cold. When I take off the shower head, the cold water pressure is fine, but hot water pitiful. We're in a rental in Australia that owner won't fix, and winter is coming on.

  11. My shower is fine when cold... ...but after about 3 mins the flow becomes much weaker. What could the cause be?

  12. Hello,

    I have the same problem with low water pressure, but when I went to remove the shower head it looks like there is some caulking on the threading. Is it still ok to remove the shower head? Thank you.


  13. You were spot on, sediment from the line had clogged the flow restrictor screen in the shower pipe and once removed and cleaned, the water pressure not only returned but was better than before. Thanks so much for the help!!!

  14. Thank you so very much for this information. I have looked at several different sites and got the same unhelpful info until this one, this was exactly the problem and now I have great water pressure. Thank you again

  15. Hello my water pressure is not good to the shower head fine for a bath but when I turn the knob to focus the water on the shower head it only stops half the water flow and the bathtub and makes for a really bad water pressure in the shower how can I fix it what could it be

  16. I had low hot water pressure in guest bath/shower, so I moved to the master bath. Then the guest bath started working but the master bath lost hot water pressure. Sinks are okay. I spent $500 for the plumber to replace value and faucet in master and rerouted water line through the ceiling. That works, but now the guest bath has low hot water again. Plumber doesn't know what happened. Help!

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