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How can I boost my shower's water pressure?

MathildaMaeMathildaMae Posts: 279Registered User Junior Member
edited April 2009 in Parent Cafe
Is there a cheap, easy-to-install way to increase a shower's water pressure? The water pressure has always been low, at least as long as we have been in the house (4+ years) and I have thoroughly cleaned the shower head (using vinegar to get rid of whatever deposits might have built up). What part of the plumbing system controls water pressure (as in, what would we have to replace)?
Post edited by MathildaMae on
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Replies to: How can I boost my shower's water pressure?

  • geek_momgeek_mom Posts: 2,106Registered User Senior Member
    Many faucets and shower heads these days contain a part called a pressure regulator or flow regulator -- a part that is, in fact, designed to limit the flow of water through that faucet. If your shower is the only place in the house that has low water pressure, that could be the culprit. Pressure regulators are not difficult to remove, but doing so may be against the plumbing code in your area (translation: don't hire a plumber to do it).
    Some potentially interesting information: http://www.co.union.nc.us/Portals/0/PublicWorks/Documents/WaterPressure/Pressure_Reducing_Valve.pdf
    Some examples of pressure regulators: magic-tec

    If the problem is throughout your house, about the only fix I know of would be to replace your pipes with pipes of a larger diameter -- certainly not a cheap or easy undertaking. However, you might get the illusion of greater water pressure by using a rain-type shower head. Example: Wonderful shower heads - PlumbingSupply.com
  • simbasimba Posts: 6,092Registered User Senior Member
    You can try cleaning/replacing the areator - the thing at the open end of the faucets. It is less than $2.

    You can replace the shower heads - also very easy. Don't buy those expensive heads. Go for the cheapest one ($3) at home depot. It looks VERY UGLY and it has only one setting-off-on. It saves water too. I had similar problem. I like shower flow to hit me with a force. I never liked those fancy shower heads in many hotels.
  • snowballsnowball Posts: 2,276Registered User Senior Member
    We have removed the pressure regulator on our shower heads when we moved into this house 14 years ago. Somehow we also had two old shower heads that did not have a pressure regulator that got move to different houses and apartments of my son's.

    If you buy a new head, make sure you can remove the pressure regulator as some are easier than others.
  • barronsbarrons Posts: 23,735Registered User Senior Member
    Get one of these, pop out the little flow restrictor with a small screwdriver, enjoy.

    8-Jet Anystream® Showerheads - S-2251

    If I am going to a hotel for any long stay I bring one with me and change it out if the hotel shower has the typical highly restricted flow. Only takes a good pliers.
  • audiophileaudiophile Posts: 2,375Registered User Senior Member
    You need the Commando 450.

    Seriously, just pop out the little (usually white) plastic flow restrictor if you're more concerned with vanity than saving water :p
  • coronax2coronax2 Posts: 1,042Registered User Senior Member
    "You need the Commando 450."

    LOL..audiophile. That's exactly what I thought too.
  • anothermom2anothermom2 Posts: 1,627Registered User Senior Member
    Barrons - what a story. I would never dream of doing plumbing in a hotel! Years ago my H tried to change a shower head and broke the whole thing. Fortunately, the plumber's bill was not to big when he came in to repair the damage and replace the shower head.
  • seiclanseiclan Posts: 4,179Registered User Senior Member
    We have had this problem since moving into our home 6 years ago. Plumbers have told me that they used pipes that were too narrow when they plumbed the house. I have purchased all types of showerheads through the years and still haven't found one that I like. I love going to hotels just so I can get decent shower pressure. The speakman's were a waste of money...the stream runs everywhere. If you find a good one, let me know. We actually found a decent one in white but it would look horrible in our frameless glass shower (since our knobs, fixtures and sinks are brass). We put these in the kid's bathrooms and they said that is was an improvement. I just try not to use too much conditioner, or I will have a hard time getting it out of my hair!
  • seiclanseiclan Posts: 4,179Registered User Senior Member
    BTW, one of my neighbors had some sort of contraption installed outside his house to boost the water pressure of his house. It looks like some kind of pump.
  • DocTDocT Posts: 6,901Registered User Senior Member
    Is the hot water more of a problem than the cold and do you have an oil boiler with a coil?
  • NewHope33NewHope33 Posts: 6,208Registered User Senior Member
    Small pipes, build up in the pipes, obstacles in the pipes, flow restricters in the shower head, restrictive aerator, low pump pressure ... has anyone mentioned temperature-compensating faucets? They keep you from getting scalded by restricting water (and therefore pressure) within the faucet.

    OP - If you're handy you can test the flow at the shower head by removing the shower head and measuring water flow from the open pipe. That, plus the inside diameter of the pipe and a little college physics will tell you what the approximate pressure is. Good luck!
  • barronsbarrons Posts: 23,735Registered User Senior Member
    I'm pretty picky about shower water flow. A weak low flow shower just gets my day off on the wrong foot. Usually it's very easy. I don't push it too hard. All other thing being close I'll go back to a hotel with a good shower over most other factors.
  • snowballsnowball Posts: 2,276Registered User Senior Member
    barron-We should travel together as I am the same way. My husband and I stayed at a lovely inn in Maine, but I will never return as it took me forever to shower and wash my hair! I have thick hair and water pressure almost needs to be fire hose strength to rinse shampoo and conditioner out of it.

    When our shower had to be retiled due to a leak, we decided to changed the fixtures while we were at it. We made sure the new shower heads had flow restrictors could be removed before installing them. I forgot to tell the plumber to keep our old heads and when I inquired where he had put them, he said in the trash. I dug through plumbing and tile debris to find my old head. Both heads were covered in grout, but I was able to clean most of it. My son's home is the proud owner of one head, and my daughter is waiting for the other! Can you tell these two head had great pressure?
  • seiclanseiclan Posts: 4,179Registered User Senior Member
    Just found the link to the awesome shower head that we use in the kid's bathrooms.

    Siroflex Shower Head - Bath and Kitchen Accessories

    It is cheap and amazing. The only reason we don't have it in our shower (though I am thinking of just putting it in anyhow) is that it is white and grey plastic/PVC and our knobs, trim, handles are all brass. Our shower is a large walkin with the frameless glass so it would really be obvious.
    Try this shower head...it cost's only 15$ for two!!! It really concentrated the stream of water and upped the pressure for us!
  • originaloogoriginaloog Posts: 2,645Registered User Senior Member
    You may want to try the Commando 450 shower head!
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