How to Increase Shower Water Pressure
There is nothing worse than a low pressure shower. Actually, 1000AwesomeThings said it best, “Not much affects your day every day as much as a good shower.”
In a lot of cases, there is something you can do about it. For example, if a nearby faucet has good pressure then you can probably improve your shower pressure in about 5 minutes.
Modern shower heads contain a flow restriction plate to decrease the amount of water you consume, which saves you money and ensures the city can produce enough clean water for everyone. It’s basically a rubber or Teflon disc that has a small hole in it. The smaller the hole, the less water can travel through it and onto your head. If you want to know what that restrictor looks like, click here to see a 10 pack of them on amazon (great if you own a lot of showers and have a problem with too much pressure).
Sometimes, these flow restrictor get clogged with debris, which reduces the flow further. Other times, they’re too small for your home’s water pressure. In either case, you can remove the restrictor, clean it and put it back in. If it’s not dirty then it may be too restrictive for your water pressure. If that’s the case, you can leave it out entirely or drill the hole so it is slightly larger.
If you want to try it, you’ll need a few things:
- Teflon Tape (plumbing department)
Here are the steps to remove and replace the shower head:
Use the wrench to thread the shower head off the support pipe that comes out of the wall. You should see two flat sections where the shower head connects to the support pipe, the wrench should be used to grip those flat sections and turn. Some plastic shower heads will have a gripped collar that you can probably turn by hand.
When you take the shower head off, look into the back of it (where the water flows in). You should see a small disc, usually white, black or red and made of rubber or Teflon (the smooth plastic that is on the bottom corners of your computer mouse). This is the flow restrictor disc. In most cases, it will be the only thing you can see that is removable.
There is a chance that you don’t have one, especially if the shower head is fairly old… in that case, jump to the instructions for re-attaching the shower head (there is one step you will miss if you’ve never done this before).
If you followed my advice in another post and ordered a $2 set of dental tools, then use the dental pick to remove the flow restrictor disc. If you don’t have a pick, then use something similar like a paperclip or needle nose pliers.
Once you have removed the disc, inspect it. If there is any debris blocking the hole(s) then clean it. Otherwise, you might want to try the head without the restrictor to check the pressure. If it is more than enough pressure, you may want to drill the holes larger in the restrictor and place it back in the shower head to slightly increase the water flow. If you put the disc back in, put it in the way you found it.
Now, look at the thread on the support pipe. It probably has some Teflon tape on it (usually white), remove it by finding the end and unwrapping, or use a steal brush to get it off. Now, wrap the support pipe thread with new Teflon tape. Avoid covering the first couple threads and do 3-6 wraps (depending on the thickness of your tape). Teflon tape will give the connection a tight seal so it doesn’t leak. You can get Teflon tape at any hardware store and even some department stores that have a small plumbing section.
Now, put the shower head back on and tighten it (same as it was when you loosened it). Then try running the water slowly, if it’s leaking at the thread then you didn’t tighten the head all the way or you didn’t use enough Teflon tape — try those two steps again.
If it’s not leaking then you should have lots of water pressure. Keep in mind that your water consumption will increase and plumbing should only be attempted by capable people.
Written By: Chad Upton