How To Increase Your Shower Water Pressure
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How To Increase Your Shower Water Pressure

Many shower pressure problems come from lime buildup in your pipes. How a little hot water and vinegar can dramatically increase your shower's water pressure.

Notice a decrease in water pressure coming from your bathroom shower head? Got the faucet wide open and it still takes forever to get wet?

Don't rush off to the home improvement store for a new fixture just yet. The solution might be in your kitchen.

While there are several styles and methods that contractors use to supply water to your shower, some matters are universal.

For instance, behind the front wall of your shower, behind the decorative ceramic tile and water resistant sheet rock is a vertical piece of galvanized pipe which is connected to a galvanized 90 degree angle pipe fixture. From this pipe connection is a horizontal piece of galvanized pipe which extends through the shower wall, the bathroom tile and into your shower area. This is a given.

Now connected to the end of this pipe you have a myriad of choices with which to spew water. You have giant rainfall shower heads, or adjustable, flexible shower hoses, or hand-held models which allow greater reach, or stainless steel types which swivel and provide water adjustments by turning a plastic restrictor plate.

But regardless of how much money the contractor spent on the fixture to soak you, all shower heads suffer from the same downfall. LIME.

Lime is a natural element in water and thus, builds up naturally inside plumbing fixtures, water lines and faucets. This lime does nothing other than to slowly reduce the amount of water pressure available for you to use.

So the questions is, "How to rid the fixture of lime build-up?

And the answer is, go to the kitchen!

First however, you need to remove the shower head, and this simple operation is based on the type of shower head you have.

If you have the flexible plastic hose set-up, you simply unscrew the shower head from the hose. If yours shower head if made of steel or other metal steel and threaded onto the supply line, you will need a wrench, or at least some Channel locks or large pliers to remove it. No matter what type shower head you have, however, always place a rag around the fixture before grabbing with a wrench or pliers to avoid scratching the finish on the fixture.

With the rag in place, and pliers firmly around the shower head, exert steady pressure and turn the fixture counterclockwise to remove from the supply line. Looking inside the shower head, it may appear to be fine, but take it to the kitchen and place in a 4-quart stock pot.

Put 1 cup of vinegar, either white or yellow, to the pot and add enough water to cover the shower head. Obviously, if your shower head is one of the giant rainfall shower heads you will need a much larger pot, and a lot more vinegar!

With the the shower head submerged in water and vinegar, put the pot on the stove and heat. If your fixture is stainless steel or metal, you can turn the heat setting on your stove to high. Should yours be plastic, just heat to medium high heat.

After some time, which will vary depending on the material of your shower head and the amount of lime present, you will begin to see small white particles floating in the water which is the result of the vinegar loosening the lime deposits inside the shower head. When new deposits stop appearing, you are done 'cooking' your shower head.

Carefully remove the shower head from the pot and run under cold water in the kitchen sink to cool.

When cool enough to handle, return to the bathroom and re-connect the shower head to the supply line, turning clockwise with the rag once again in place.

Finally, when tightened, turn the water on and check for leaks. No leaks? Then turn the water all the way on and check for improvement. You should be pleased and happy with the money you saved by not buying a new new shower head and instead using a quarter's worth of vinegar.

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Comments (4)

Prior to heating in vinegar, make sure there are no plastic parts within the interior of the shower head. Some heads are 2 parts so you can switch the output by turning the face of the showerhead. Unfortunately, even the truly expensive showerheads that operate this way contain plastic parts, & those parts change shape when heated, causing the 2 parts to separate.

Excellent job on this!

An excellent article but I want to add my two cents worth here. If you have a serious water pressure problem and you are living in a hme that's plumbed with galvanized pipe and not copper you could have a build up on the inside pf the pipes that's closing them up. Depending on the hardness of the water in the home, build up on the inside of galvanised water pipes is a well known problem. Ytr Bruce's solution first but if that doesn't solv the problem it'd time to call a capable DIY plumber or a professional.

One of the most important considerations when adding a bathroom is the issues regarding the plumbing system. You have to figure out where the pipes and plumbing fixtures will be installed. You also have to consider where the pipes will be run in regards to the septic system.Perth Plumbing