There is nothing more disappointing than stepping into the shower each day to discover that you have low pressure that barely does anything to help you get clean.
There was a time when I thought there was no way to tackle the low pressure in my shower, but the solution can actually be incredibly simple; and really cheap. So, if you are looking for ways to increase your shower pressure, this is the perfect guide for you – because we have all the problems and solutions.
Do I Have Low Pressure in the Shower?
Before we look at whether or not you have low pressure, it is good to go over the main causes so that you have a good idea of what might be causing the issues. Here are the most common reasons:
Your mains use old piping.
If you are in the middle of a town or city, then you likely have low water pressure because of the mains system. This is because they use much older piping as replacing it would cause severe disruption and so is not deemed as urgent work (unless it breaks).
You have an undersized piping supply. There are so many homes with piping that is technically too small, and this can cause very low water pressure. Older houses are most at risk because the original plumbing system is likely still in place.
Again, this is disruptive work, which is why so many homeowners don’t bother replacing it. Your system might be clogged. If you live in a home that uses iron piping, then you are more at risk of it becoming clog.
This is because iron is very prone to rust, and where the pipes are frequently in contact with water, parts can break up and block the pipes so that the water cannot flow as freely as it did before. You have a shower head that is restricting the flow.
Your shower head can actually make or break your water pressure, and you might not even realise that you have a flow restricting or water saving head attached. Before you do anything, try replacing the head and see if that changes the pressure.
Your valve is obstructed or shut off. This usually happens when you buy a new home or have just had building work done. Often, you will find that it is not fully opened, and ensuring that it is can make a huge difference to your water pressure.
Usually, it is located under your kitchen sink, and if you think it is broken, you need to contact your plumber immediately. The thing is, it can be hard to know if you actually have low pressure or not, and it is not always possible to tell just by watching the water come out of the head.
To determine whether or not you have low pressure, here are some quick and simple steps. How long does it take? Six seconds, to be exact. Just check out the section below to find out how to do it.
Further Reading: How to Install Concealed Shower Valve Mixer
How to Test Low Pressure
What you need:
Step One: take the jug and place it under the shower head.
Step Two: turn the shower on, and make sure it is on the most powerful setting.
Step Three: use the timer to see how long it takes to fill the jug. If it takes more than six seconds, you have low water pressure.
Step Four: if you want to measure the full water flow, take the calculator and the timer. The flow rate should be at least ten litres of water per minute for a regular shower.
This is the quickest and easiest way to measure your water pressure. You can also hire a professional plumber to do it if you want an expert reading, but the above method is just as accurate and effective.
Shower Pressure Booster
This is the hardcore way to increase your shower pressure, and it is also one of the most effective (aside from changing the head). You could be boosted up to 60 litres per minute by having one of these, and the key is ensuring that you purchase one that is high-quality.
It might end up costing you a little more, but it will be worth it for something that works well and provides you with the pressure that you need. However, before you decide to embark on this venture, you should have a professional come an assess your home.
There are some systems that are not compatible with a shower pump, and if this is the case for yours, it would be awful to buy one only to discover that it doesn’t work. The expert consultation also means any other potential issues can be identified and addressed.
Here’s a quick look at how they work, and how they increase electric shower pressure (and general shower pressure), as well as the estimated cost of your new installation.
When you turn them on, the shower pump is activated, and the water travelling to your shower will pass through it first. As it does this, the pump uses a propeller mechanism to boost the water pressure before it reaches the shower.
It’s a really simple process, but also exceptionally effective. Generally speaking, it could cost anywhere between £100 and £500, depending on the pump and the quality. You will need to put an extra £150 or so aside if you decide to have a plumber install it.
How to Fit a Shower Pump
If you are going to install a shower pump yourself, you really need to know what you are doing before you do so. If at any point you feel it might be too complicated, call a plumber to do it for you.
A shower pump that has not been installed correctly could leak and cause water damage, as well as general damage to your shower system. Now, if you’re ready, you can follow the steps below:
Choose where you are going to install the pump. It should be in a location that is easy to access in case it needs to be repaired, replaced, or the filters have to be cleaned. It must not be covered, and it should never freeze or be exposed to low temperatures. Similarly, for safety reasons, it must be installed two feet from the shower tray and basin.
Also Read: Find the Best Shower Trays
Now you can hook up the electrics, although unless you are a qualified electrician, this stage should be done by a professional for safety and to ensure it is up to standards. When you connect the pump, it should be from a 230v switched spur off a ring main.
You should never connect it to the supply for the hot water immersion cylinder, or another high-load installation, as these require a dedicated supply and cannot have others working off them.
Make sure that the water supply to and from the pump can be isolated, and the pipework should be 22mm to reduce any flow resistance. Even if it has 15mm connections, you should still use 22mm pipework. A flange should also be attached to the top of the hot water cylinder to prevent air from escaping.
Ensure the outgoing and delivery pipes are flexible, because they are less likely to break or be affected by the vibrations that occur when the pump is running.
This also means that the noise levels will tend to be reduced, and there is little risk of damage to the actual pump. Make sure to flush the pipes before they are connected to the pump.
once it has been installed, prime the pump. To do this, switch the electrical supply off and run a bucket of water out of both the hot and cold sides until it runs clear. This means that air will not be trapped in the pump while it is running.
Can a New Shower Head Improve Water Pressure?
The short answer? Yes, it really can, and it is perfect if you are looking at how to increase shower pressure without a pump. There are a few shower head issues that could cause the water pressure to below:
These three factors can be detrimental. If you have a shower head that blocks easily (I have one like that currently, and it is a nightmare) just replace it. There is no point trying to fix it, most of the time it won’t work, and they are cheap to replace.
If you have a water saving shower head, again, replacing it is the best way to boost your water pressure. A top tip for new shower heads; pick one up that is easy to clean, these have nozzles that just need you to rub a finger on them in order to keep them clean.
Now, if your shower head is dirty, there is a way to fix that. One of the best and most effective ways to clean your shower head is to leave it to soak in a bucket of white vinegar for 30 minutes.
If you have a mounted shower, just tie a plastic bag around it and fill it with white vinegar. After, drain the basin/bag and scrub the nozzles on the shower head to remove any excess limescale and debris. Then, rinse it out and make sure that it is running smoothly.
Hopefully, this guide was just what you needed to try and solve your shower pressure issues. It could be something simple, like replacing your shower head, or something more serious that requires the attention of a plumber, but there are so many things you can try to get things working properly again.
Plus, we even included a handy guide to installing your own shower pump if you feel like taking that road. What did you think of our guide to increasing your shower pressure? Did our solutions work for you, or are there others you would have added? We love hearing from you, so leave us a message in the comments below.