It can be such a drag to jump into the bathroom ready for a shower and then have little water coming out of shower head. After plowing through the disappointment and the difficulty in lathering, you might have wondered what causes it.
Well, little water is coming out of your shower because of a clogging, a leakage, a malfunctioning water pressure regulator, or a faulty mixing valve. It could also be due to valve shut-off or a case of high-water usage during peak hours.
The good thing about most of these issues is that they are easy to fix and DIY. Some may require a simple adjustment or cleaning, while others may need a replacement or a plumber’s intervention.
So, I’ll explain all the causes and their respective fixes. Even better, I’ll share a simple guide on how to increase the flow of your shower water.
Here we go!
Is Little Water Coming Out of Shower? Here’s Why:
There are so many possibilities as to why you cannot have enough water running down your showerhead, but here are the commonest:
There are two possibilities here; clogged shower head and in-pipe clogging.
Let’s discuss them
Possibility Number 1 – Clogged Shower Head
Generally, shower heads are made from ABS plastic and metals such as stainless steel and solid brass. While plastic shower heads tend to attract mold and limescale faster than their metallic counterparts, none is immune to getting clogged up.
Clogging in shower heads can be caused by limescale deposits, residual chlorine, rust, or bits of debris such as sand.
To unclog a shower head, pour some cleaning vinegar in a zip lock bag and soak the shower head for a minimum of 30 minutes. Before rinsing off the showerhead, use a brush, perhaps an old toothbrush, or a cloth to wipe away the grime.
Usually, cleaning vinegar is 20% stronger than white or regular vinegar, and that’s why I recommend it, and a good choice is Heinz Cleaning Vinegar.
But in its absence, you can use baking soda, Coca-Cola, or a liquid multipurpose cleaning soap like Dr. Bronner’s.
But before anything, you should soak the shower head for about 15 minutes in a bleach solution made of four tablespoons of bleach in two and a half cups of water. Soaking in bleach will take care of mold that might have started developing.
Possibility Number 2 – In-Pipe Clogging
The shower head is not the only thing that could clog and reduce shower water flow. You should also check the pipe connecting the shower head. If it’s blocked, then water won’t flow adequately.
Fixing an in-pipe clogging is easy with a long auger like Drainsoon Auger 25 Foot. You can use it all around your home to unclog various drains.
But before you can use this auger in your shower’s piping, you should unscrew and detach the shower head.
Like the first case, there are two possibilities here; a broken pipe or a loose connection.
1st Possible Source of Leakage – Broken Pipe
If there is a major crack on the pipe connecting to the shower head or if it breaks, water will leak, and very little (if you are lucky) will reach the shower head. So, it’s essential to check the pipe for any form of breakage.
You can take up a broken pipe if the break or crack is not a major one. But if it is, then you should talk to a plumber to help you fix it or do it yourself if you have the technical know-how.
2nd Possible Source of Leakage – Loose Pipe Connection
Little water may come out of your shower head if there is a loose connection between it and the shower arm. In such a case, it could be that the connection between the shower head and shower arm is not completely sealed.
It could also be that there is a difference in diameter and threading between the shower head and the connecting hose. However, this difference is rare.
Most shower heads in the US and Canada have a standard diameter of ½ inch NPT (National Pipe Thread Tapered).
In contrast, the majority of countries in the rest of the world, including Europe, Australia, Africa, and Asia, use the ½ inch BSP (British Standard Pipe)
You can fix a loose connection by:
Turn off the faucet and detach the shower head from the hose.
- Check whether the threads have the plumber’s tape (Teflon tape)
- If it’s not, apply a few rounds of Teflon tape in a clockwise direction.
- Reconnect the shower head and turn on the faucet
Overall, if you discover a mismatch in diameters or threading, detach and take the shower head or arm with you on the next visit to your local hardware. They should be able to help you find a match.
3rd Possible Source of Leakage – Worn-Out Rubber Washers
Washers are placed in the shower head and shower hose attachment to provide a waterproof seal. Overall, rubber or silicone washers are more likely to wear out faster than their ceramic and nylon counterparts.
If not replaced, the worn-out washers could lead to leakage and cause little water to come out of the shower head.
If the washers are old, replace them. Also, check the gaskets and replace them if they are old.
Before getting into how to fix this, here is a list of the tools needed:
- Phillips screwdriver
- Crescent wrench (A channel lock pliers can also work)
- Socket wrench (Cowbell wrench)
- Valve seat tool (Allen wrench can also work)
- Drainage stopper
- A towel
- Penetrating oil
- Utility knife
Now, here’s how to make water come out of shower head by replacing worn-out showers:
- Turn off the water at the main water supply valve
- Fit the drainage stopper and lay out the towel to ensure small equipment parts don’t go into the drain
- Unscrew the handle
- Use penetrating oil for rusted screws. For older models, the screw is visible. For newer models, the screw is hidden by a cap. You will need to use a utility knife to pry it out.
- Due to calcium build-up, getting the handle out is tricky. You will need to work it back and forth while being careful not to damage the valve system or use a faucet puller.
- To loosen the stop nut that connects the rising pipe and the cartridge, fit the socket wrench over the valve stem
- Using the crescent wrench, apply counterclockwise torque on the socket wrench to loosen the valve body.
- Replace the worn-out washer
- Ensure you screw it snug fit
The numbered side of the washer should always face down
Replacing the washer should be enough to deal with the leakage. However, a leakage can manifest within a week or less after a washer change, indicating that the valve seat is also worn out.
To avoid such a scenario, always ensure to check the condition of the valve seat every time you change the washers.
3. Malfunctioning Water Pressure Regulator
On your water supply line is a pressure regulator whose job is to regulate the water pressure. If the regulator malfunctions for whatever reason, the water pressure will be affected, and you are more likely to have little water running down the shower head.
Check the water pressure regulator to see if it’s defective. If it is, then you should replace it. Preferably, talk to an expert plumber.
4. Faulty Mixing Valve
The mixing valve, which you find inside the shower head, can lead to little water flowing out of it if it’s faulty. Overall, the job of the mixing valve is to control the quantity flow of cold and hot water. So, if it’s old or stuck, it won’t regulate water flow.
This can be too technical to fix. So, it’s advisable to talk to an expert plumber.
5. Valve Shut-Off
If the main water supply valve is shut off, there will be no water in all the taps, the shower included.
In most cases, you need to reset the main water supply to ‘On.’
Tip: Turning the valve clockwise restricts flow while counterclockwise allows flow. For simplicity’s sake, left-loose, right-tight.
6. High Water Usage
The other reason you might be experiencing less water coming out of shower head is high water usage. Little water will come out of the shower if all the water pipes run simultaneously, especially in peak hours like late nights and early mornings.
Consider showering when very few people are using the water.
Ways to Avoid Having Little Water Coming Out of the Shower Head:
Now, you can increase water pressure and shower head water flow using these tips:
- Clean the shower head routinely
- Ensure the valves are open
- Check for water leaks and fix them
- Shower off-peak hours (when few people are using the water)
- Invest in a low-pressure shower head
People Also Ask
1. Why is Water Not Coming Out of Shower Head Properly?
Water not coming out of the shower head could indicate a clogged shower head, worn out or damaged washers, or a leaky shower faucet. However, don’t forget to check for closed valves or high-water usage.
2. How Do You Know If Your Shower is Clogged?
You will know your shower is clogged if there is a reduction in water pressure and the water from the shower head drips or doesn’t come out at all.
3. How Do You Unclog a Shower Head?
You can unclog a shower head by soaking it in cleaning vinegar, Coca-Cola, or baking soda solution. However, you’ll need to wait for about 30 minutes for the clog to get off the shower head before rinsing.
Concluding Remarks On Dealing with Little Water Coming Out of Shower Head
As shared, you can quickly deal with low shower water pressure and improve the flow rate by yourself. You need to make a proper diagnosis so that you can troubleshoot your shower head correctly. Hopefully, the above DIY guide will help you attain that.
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