Having low water pressure in your shower can be incredibly frustrating. The weak stream makes it difficult to rinse shampoo from your hair and soap off your body. Luckily, there are several ways you can increase the water pressure to restore your shower’s force.

Check for Clogged Showerhead

One of the easiest things to check is whether your showerhead has become clogged with mineral deposits. Over time, hard water can leave behind calcium and magnesium buildup in the small openings of the showerhead.

To clean your showerhead:

  • Remove the showerhead by unscrewing it from the pipe. You may need pliers for a tight connection.
  • Use a small screwdriver or toothpick to gently pry open the outlet holes and scrape away any debris inside.
  • Soak the showerhead in equal parts white vinegar and warm water for 30 minutes to fully dissolve mineral deposits.
  • Rinse well and reattach. The holes should be open again for improved flow.

Cleaning the showerhead regularly can help prevent clogs from forming. You can soak it weekly in vinegar solution if you live in a hard water area. Replacing an old showerhead with a new one also improves pressure since the openings are not eroded over time.

Check for Kinks in the Hose

Another quick thing to check is whether the flexible shower hose has gotten twisted or kinked. This can easily restrict water flow.

Carefully inspect from the showerhead down to the pipe connection for any tight bends or loops in the metal hose. Make sure the hose is as straight as possible without tight kinks to open up the waterway.

If adjusting the position does not help, you may need to replace a worn out and crooked old hose with a brand new one. Use care when installing the new hose to prevent sharp angles.

Clean or Replace Shower Filter

Many modern showerheads include a filter screen to catch grit and larger particles in the water supply. Over time, this filter can get clogged, which constricts the water flow.

  • Locate the filter inside the showerhead or along the hose. It may be a small cylindrical cartridge.
  • Remove the filter and rinse under running water. Scrub away any debris trapped in the mesh screen.
  • Install the clean filter back into the shower fixture and check if pressure improved. Consider replacing the filter if it is old and deteriorated.

Regularly cleaning or replacing shower filters preserves good water pressure. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended interval for your specific filter.

Flush the Pipes

If your entire home is experiencing weak water pressure, there may be a more widespread issue in the supply pipes. Mineral scale, rust, and corrosion can slowly build up on the inside of pipes over many years. This restricts flow by making the opening smaller.

Flushing the water lines helps clear out these deposits:

  • Locate the main shut off valve for the home’s water supply. This is usually near the pressure regulator and water meter.
  • Turn off the valve to stop water to the home.
  • Open the lowest faucet in the house such as a laundry sink. Allow air to enter the system.
  • Turn the main valve back on. Rust and debris should push out through the open faucets.
  • Run both hot and cold water at full force for 3-5 minutes at each faucet, starting at the lowest level and moving up. This will wash away any loose sediment.

For severe pipe restrictions, a water system flush with a descaling solution may be needed to thoroughly dissolve mineral deposits. Hire a plumber for assistance.

Increase Water Pressure Coming into Home

If your home’s water pressure from the main line is weak to begin with, improving your showers requires boosting the overall pressure. Here are two options:

Adjust the Pressure Regulator

A pressure regulator valve is typically located near the home’s main water shut off and meter. This device maintains constant downstream pressure by automatically expanding and contracting to counter fluctuations in the main line.

If the pressure regulator is set too low, it can starve your plumbing fixtures. Consult your regulator’s specs to check the pressure setting (usually 50-60 PSI). Call a plumber if you are uncertain how to adjust the regulator to gradually increase pressure.

Install a Booster Pump

A more involved and expensive option is to add a booster pump system for the whole house. This provides expanded water pressure by using an electric pump to increase the incoming water force. Installation requires plumbing work.

Consider a booster pump if your municipal water pressure cannot be improved and is consistently below 40 PSI. The extra pressure amplifies flow for showers, faucets, washing machines, etc.

Replace the Shower Cartridge

The shower’s valve cartridge regulates hot and cold water mixing and flow volume. Old cartridges can become worn out or calcified, resulting in restricted water volume. Replacing a faulty cartridge restores pressure.

Identify your shower valve brand and model. Purchase the correct replacement cartridge. Turn off water to the shower and carefully extract the old cartridge. Swap in the new cartridge using care not to damage seals. Test water flow. If still weak, examine for issues with shut off valves.

Call a plumber if unsure how to safely replace a cartridge. They have specialized tools to remove stuck or stripped valves. Replacing just the seals is an option too.

Upgrade Low-Flow Fixtures

Some showers are equipped with low-flow showerheads or restrictor valves intended to conserve water. These limit the gallons per minute.

Switching to more free-flowing fixtures without flow restrictors can improve pressure:

  • Replace a low-flow showerhead with a model that provides your preferred water volume. Look for one with self-cleaning nozzles.
  • If your shower valves have built-in flow restrictors, have a plumber remove them. Also ensure shut-off valves are fully open.
  • Consider switching from low-flow aerators to standard aerators on bathroom faucets for more pressure.

Removing water restrictors increases water usage. But you can still conserve water by taking shorter showers.

Check for Partially Shut Supply Valves

If your shower pressure is weak but other faucets are fine, the issue may be partly closed supply valves in the shower itself:

  • Locate the hot and cold shut-off valves for the shower. They control water supply to that fixture only.
  • Check that each valve is fully open. Turn the handle counterclockwise as far as it goes. This ensures maximum flow.
  • Open up the valve if partially closed. Test the shower again. Call a plumber if the valves are stripped or damaged.

Checking shower-specific valves is easier than inspecting every valve in the house. This can isolate pressure problems to just one fixture.

Increase Water Heater Pressure

Low hot water pressure typically means there is an issue with the water heater, not the plumbing itself. Here are some steps:

  • Set the water heater to a higher temperature. This gives hot water more expansion and energy as it exits.
  • Check that supply valves to the water heater are fully open. This is required for adequate water refill.
  • Inspect the temperature-pressure relief valve. If defective, it can cause pressure loss and needs replacement.
  • Flush the tank to clear sediment that can block hot water output. Draining a few gallons may help.
  • Have a technician inspect the water heater and ensure the pressure is at the recommended PSI. Replace if aging.

Adjusting the water heater pressure and valves can help restore hot water flow to affected fixtures like showers and sinks. This balances pressure across hot and cold lines.

Increase Pipe Size with Repipe

In rare cases, undersized supply pipes in the home lead to chronic low pressure at all fixtures. To boost pressure:

  • A plumber can calculate your home’s required water pipe size based on flow rate needs.
  • Check if your home would benefit by upsizing the water main line and branch lines to larger diameter pipes.
  • Repiping sections in new copper or PEX can ensure adequate flow to bathrooms and kitchens.

A repipe is only needed if pipes are very dated or did not meet demand even when first installed. Check other factors first before undertaking repiping.

Questions About Improving Shower Pressure

Here are some common questions people have about increasing weak shower pressure:

Why is my shower pressure low but sinks are fine?

If other fixtures have normal pressure, the problem is isolated to the shower hardware or valves. Clogs, flow restrictors, cartridges, and shut-off valves can all uniquely affect a shower.

Does low pressure mean I need a new water heater?

Not necessarily. Adjust existing heater pressure, flush sediment, and check supply valves first. Replace if aging and unable to provide pressure.

Will installing a pump increase pressure for the whole house?

A whole house booster pump will increase pressure to all fixtures. Make sure plumbing is suited for the boosted pressure level.

How can I increase pressure if my house pressure regulator is already maxed out?

You may need a booster pump or water storage tank if the main home pressure cannot be improved by adjusting the regulator.

Why is pressure worse at some times versus others?

Peak water use times in your neighborhood could strain overall supply pressure. Or old galvanized pipes could constrict flow when hot water passes through them.


There are many aspects to inspect when troubleshooting low shower pressure. Starting with the showerhead and working your way systematically outward through valves, supply lines, and main home pressure can help pinpoint any obstructions. Increase pressure coming into the home if that is the root issue.

Consult with a plumber if you are unfamiliar with adjusting home water pressure and valves. They can measure flow, resize pipes, install pumps and tanks if warranted, and repair or replace shower components. With some adjustments, you can transform your weak dribbling shower into an invigorating spray.