Why is My Water Pressure Low in the Shower? Here’s What to Do


Sinclaire Enterprises, Inc.

140 South St., Walpole, MA 02081
P 508.668.8200 Toll Free 877.668.8822 info@sinclaireboston.com
Master Plumber License #9530,
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Dealing with low water pressure in your shower can really put a damper on your daily routine, but it might also suggest deeper plumbing problems at play. Several factors can lead to this frustrating issue, from simple fixes within your showerhead to more complex problems within your home’s plumbing system. In this post, we’ll explore the common causes of low water pressure in the shower and offer practical solutions.

What Causes Low Water Pressure in the Shower?

Low water pressure in your shower can stem from various sources, each with its own set of solutions, Let’s explore the most common causes to help you diagnose and fix the issue effectively.

Clogged Showerhead

A common reason for low water pressure is a clogged showerhead. Over time, minerals like calcium and magnesium from hard water can accumulate and block the tiny holes in the showerhead, reducing water flow. 

This issue can often be resolved by soaking the showerhead in a vinegar solution to dissolve the mineral deposits. If the clogging is severe, replacing the showerhead might be the best solution. Regular cleaning as part of routine maintenance can prevent this buildup and maintain good water pressure.

Corroded Plumbing

In older homes, corrosion in the pipes might be the culprit behind low water pressure. As pipes age, rust and other forms of corrosion can narrow the inner surfaces of the pipes, restricting water flow. This issue is more complex and may require a professional plumber to assess and replace the affected pipes. Replacing old, corroded pipes not only improves water pressure but also enhances the overall quality of the water in your home.

Faulty Pressure Regulator

Some homes are equipped with a pressure regulator, which helps maintain consistent water pressure throughout the plumbing system. If this regulator fails, it can significantly decrease water pressure. 

If you suspect the pressure regulator is the problem, it is advisable to hire a professional to confirm the diagnosis and replace the regulator if necessary. This is not typically a DIY job, as incorrect adjustments can lead to further plumbing problems.

Partially Closed Main Shutoff Valve

The main shutoff valve controls water flow into your entire home, and if it’s not fully open, it can affect water pressure in the shower and all other fixtures. This valve may have been turned and not fully reopened after repair or maintenance. 

Check to ensure it’s fully open — it should be located where the main water line enters the house. If you’re unsure how to locate or adjust this valve, a plumber can quickly handle this for you.

Plumbing Leaks

Leaks in your plumbing system can divert water away from where it’s supposed to go, leading to noticeable drops in water pressure. If you notice a sudden change in pressure, inspect for visible leaks in exposed pipes, under sinks, and around your water heater. More hidden leaks may require a professional plumber who can perform pressure tests on your system to locate and repair the leaks.

Problem with the Main Water Supply

Sometimes, the problem extends beyond your home’s internal plumbing. If you notice low water pressure in other areas of your home as well, the issue may lie with the main water supply. This could be due to a partially closed main water valve or issues with the municipal water supply, such as line breaks or maintenance work. Check if your neighbors are experiencing similar issues; if they are, the problem is likely with the local water supply.

What if the Low Water Pressure is in the Shower Only?

If you’re experiencing low water pressure specifically in your shower, here are some localized issues that might be the cause:

  • Faulty Diverter Valve: A malfunctioning diverter valve can reduce water flow to the showerhead.
  • Blocked or Damaged Pipes: Pipes leading to the shower that are blocked or damaged can restrict flow.
  • Shower Valve Issues: Problems with the shower valve can lead to reduced pressure.
  • Low Flow Shower Head: A showerhead designed to conserve water may result in lower pressure.

What if the Hot Water Pressure is Low but Cold Water is Fine in the Shower?

Experiencing low hot water pressure in your shower when the cold water pressure is fine is a fairly common issue. This often occurs in homes with older plumbing or water heaters that haven’t been regularly maintained. 

Here are some common reasons:

  • Water Heater Issues: Problems with your water heater can reduce hot water pressure.
  • Sediment Buildup in Water Heater: Accumulation of sediment at the bottom of the heater can block the water flow.
  • Faulty Thermostatic Mixing Valve: A malfunctioning valve can restrict hot water flow.
  • Partially Closed Hot Water Valve: Ensure the valve leading to your shower is fully open.

How to Increase Low Water Pressure in the Shower

Experiencing low water pressure in your shower can be frustrating, but there are several DIY methods to increase the pressure that you can try.

Clean or Replace Your Showerhead

Over time, showerheads can become clogged with mineral deposits that reduce water flow. Start by unscrewing the showerhead and soaking it in a vinegar solution overnight. This can help dissolve the mineral buildup. If the showerhead is heavily clogged or damaged, consider replacing it with a new one that is not labeled as low flow if you prefer stronger pressure.

Check for and Fix Any Leaks

Leaks in your plumbing can divert water away from your shower, causing a decrease in pressure. Inspect all visible pipes and connections for signs of dripping or moisture. Pay special attention to the area around the shower controls and where pipes connect. Tightening connections or replacing worn sections might be necessary to resolve leaks and improve pressure.

Inspect and Open All Valves

Sometimes valves along your water line might not be fully open. Ensure that both the main water valve and any local valves leading to the bathroom are completely open. These valves can sometimes be accidentally turned during maintenance or renovations, so it’s worth double-checking.

Install a Water Pressure Booster Pump

If your home suffers from overall low water pressure and simpler fixes have not solved the problem, installing a water pressure booster pump might be the solution. This device amplifies the water pressure in your entire home, including your shower. Installation can be complex, involving adjustments to your home’s plumbing system, so consulting with a professional plumber for this option is advised.

When to Call a Plumber to Fix Low Water Pressure in the Shower

While many low water pressure issues can be resolved with DIY methods, there are situations where it’s best to call a professional plumber. Here are some scenarios where expert help is needed:

  • Persistent Low Pressure After DIY Fixes: If you’ve tried cleaning or replacing your showerhead, checked for leaks, and ensured all valves are fully open but still experienced low pressure, it’s time to call a plumber.
  • Suspected Pipe Blockage or Corrosion: If you suspect that your pipes are blocked or corroded, a plumber can perform a detailed inspection and carry out the necessary repairs or replacements.
  • Water Pressure Problems Throughout the House: When low water pressure is not isolated to just one shower but affects your entire home, this could indicate more complex issues with your main supply or plumbing system.
  • Installation of a Pressure Booster: Installing a water pressure booster involves complex adjustments to your plumbing system and should be handled by a professional to ensure it’s done correctly.
  • Visible Signs of Plumbing Damage: If you notice significant damage to your plumbing, such as burst pipes or major leaks, immediate professional intervention is necessary to prevent further damage to your home.

Contact Sinclaire Home Services to Fix Your Shower Water Pressure

Whether you’re dealing with persistently low water pressure or suspect more complex plumbing issues, our team at Sinclaire Home Services is here to assist you. As a family-owned business that has been serving the Boston area since 1948, we pride ourselves on our commitment to providing expert plumbing services and exceptional customer care. Our licensed technicians are equipped to handle all your plumbing needs, from routine maintenance to urgent repairs.

Don’t let plumbing problems disrupt your daily routine. Give us a call at (508) 668-8200 or contact us online to learn more or schedule your plumbing service today!