Low Water Pressure? 3 Common Causes And How To Fix Them

21 October 2014
 Categories: , Articles


It's hard to feel fully clean when there's only a light drizzle of water coming out of your showerhead in the morning. If the water pressure in your shower has suddenly gone from forceful to feeble, the lack of good shower can throw off the whole rhythm of your day. Before you call in the plumber, though, you may want to check and see if you can solve the problem yourself. There are a couple of things that can cause the pressure in your shower to decrease overnight, and some of them have easy, do-it-yourself fixes. Check out a few of the common problems that can affect your shower power.

Clean Out the Showerhead

Sometimes, all that you need to do is remove the showerhead and clear out the aerator – the small cylinder that connects the shower head to the pipe. These can become blocked for many reasons, including rust in your pipes or a buildup of the minerals that naturally occur in your water. If the aerator seems to be blocked, cleaning it out and replacing it may just solve the problem.

If you find that the aerator is full of rust, you may still want to call a plumber like Bishop Plumbing. A rust buildup in your showerhead aerator (or a faucet aerator) may mean that your pipes are rusty enough that it's time to think about having them replaced. In the meantime, though, cleaning out the rust and reattaching your showerhead should be enough to let you get your morning shower in first.

Check Your Water Shutoff Valves

Sometimes, the valves that control the water going in and out of your house can get moved accidentally. If the valves get turned to a partially closed position for whatever reason – maybe someone bumped into them accidentally – your water pressure is going to be affected. This is an easy fix – all you have to do is turn the valve back to the fully open position. The trick is finding the right valve. You may have at least three valves that control the water to your shower – the one closest to the shower, the shut-off valve inside the house that controls all the water, and the main valve near the water meter outdoors, which also controls the water to the whole house.

You can most likely eliminate the outdoor valve as the source of your problem, because these are usually tough to turn and may even require digging to access at all. The first valves you should look at are the ones closest to the shower. These will only be visible if you have a bathtub with exposed plumbing. If you do, these valves should be immediately visible. They turn clockwise to close, and counter-clockwise to open. If this doesn't solve the problem, or if you don't have exposed plumbing, move on to the indoor shut-off valve.

The indoor valve can be tough to find, but there are some guidelines that can help lead you to it. It should be at the ground level, and near the perimeter of the house. You can often find it by following a straight line from the water meter to the house. It should be out in the open, although in some houses, this valve may be located behind an access panel. If yours is out in the open, it could have been accidentally turned by someone tripping over it or a piece of furniture being moved against it. A hidden valve is less likely to be the cause of your low-pressure problem, although it never hurts to check.

Look for a Water Leak

A leaky water pipe can cause low pressure in your shower, because the water that's supposed to be coming out of your showerhead is leaking from the pipe instead. A leaky pipe is a problem for a plumber, but you can look or test for a leak to determine whether or not that's the problem.

If you don't see a visible leak, there's a simple test. Locate the indoor water shut-off valve and turn it clockwise until it's completely off. Then, go out to your water meter and write down the reading that's showing on the meter. Wait two or three hours, then go back and check the meter again. Has it moved? If it's still showing the same reading as it was when you left it, you probably don't have a leak. However, if the meter has moved, you almost certainly do have a leak, whether you can see it or not.

If you do have a leak, or if you've tried everything and still can't get the water pressure back to where it belongs, an experienced plumber in your local area is your best resource for help.