Any loss in water pressure can be annoying, especially if it’s when you’re taking a shower. Sometimes the loss of pressure will come from something as simple as a flushed toilet, but it’s much worse if the low water pressure is a chronic problem, making it harder to rinse away shampoo and soap. Our affordable Stockbridge plumber has several tips on how to both fix and prevent this common problem.
Pressure Balancing Valve Limitations
If your shower has a pressure balancing valve — where there’s a single knob or handle to control both the temperature and flow of water — you’re probably at risk of water pressure interruptions due to the use of other nearby fixtures. The best example of this is when a flushing toilet causes both a water temperature change as well as a drop in pressure.
This type of valve mixes hot and cold water together at a certain pressure level. When the toilet flushes, cold water is diverted to refill the tank, which causes a pressure drop in the cold water line. It takes a pressure balancing valve a couple of seconds to adjust, during which time the water may turn very hot because the valve isn’t getting all the cold water it needs. And then when the valve does adjust, it does so by reducing the pressure coming from the hot water line, resulting in an overall drop in pressure.
Fortunately, there’s another type of shower valve that allows you to avoid this problem entirely. It’s called a thermostatic mixing valve, and it offers separate controls for water temperature and pressure. Call your Stockbridge plumber to ask about upgrading to one of these valves.
Malfunctioning Diverter Valve
If you have a bathtub and shower combo then you probably have a diverter valve. A diverter valve is a knob or switch that diverts water from the bathtub faucet up to the shower-head. These valves can malfunction or break after so many years of service, and the result could be that the valve cannot open enough to send full water pressure to the shower-head.
This is most likely the problem if water flows from the bathtub faucet at full pressure but fails to match that pressure from the shower-head. One of our plumbers can confirm this diagnosis and take the necessary steps to complete the repair.
Broken or Obstructed Pipe
The worst possible cause of a shower pressure drop is a broken pipe, since the resulting leak could do serious damage to an unseen area of your home. If you hear water running when and where it shouldn’t be, or if you suddenly notice dripping or water stains, shut off your water supply at the main valve and call one of our 24 hour emergency plumbers right away. But there’s no need to panic!
Clogged Pipe or Shower-head
The best case scenario, on the other hand, is that your shower-head is simply dirty and clogged. To get a closer look, unscrew your shower head from the wall if possible. You may want to soak it in an appropriate cleaning solution for several minutes before cleaning all the nozzles thoroughly with an old toothbrush.
If you live in an area with hard water, you may also have mineral deposit accumulation inside your pipes. This reduces flow gradually and will eventually have a noticeable effect on water pressure.
High Priority Plumbing can help you evaluate your plumbing system to help you determine what is causing your low water pressure issue. If you are interested in more of our plumbing tips and services, please give us a call at 770.860.8110.