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Question DetailsAsked on 11/20/2014

How much will it cost to get more hot water pressure in my shower?

Low hot water pressure in shower.

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3 Answers

0
Votes

If you have good pressure and flow elsewhere in the bathrooms and elsewhere, especially at another shower, check if you get vigorous flow from the tub spout (if a tub/shower). If entire house pressure is low, then could be a fualty pressure regulator. If pressure elsewhere is good, I would suspect the screen in the shower head, or it has been turned partly off (with twist lever or by twisting the head within itself - usually a knurled ring around the circumference but sometimes a tab inthe center you turn.


If adjusting the shower head settings does not do it, next step would be to remove the head from the shower arm (the pipe into the wall) - usually takes two strap wrenches to avoid marring the finish but sometimes can be hand gripped (dry) tightly and just turned off, especially with plastic shower heads. Be sure you are keeping the arm from turning in the wall as you unscrew/replace the shower head, to avoid a leak in the wall. Then check for good flow and pressure from the bare pipe. Might make a bit of a mess (drape hand with towel) but while in shower check if you can block the flow from the arm - your thumb should be barely or not quite able to block the flow - same as trying to block the flow from a hose end. If you can easily block it, or significantly easier than you can a hose, then a pressure rather than just flow blockage problem to that shower, which if the rest of the house is OK pressure-wise, means a bad valve.


If good flow, then check shower head inside for a flow restricter disc, or if a recent change, dirt/rust accumulation on the screen at the inlet to the head. Otherwise, you may need a new shower head,


If not good flow, then could be the temperature moderator portion of the thermal control valve, especially if single handle. If you can figure out brand, adjustment instructions can be found on manufacturer website- though since they are designed to control temperature might or might not correct a pressure problem, depending on nature of malfunction. PAY ATTENTION to instructions about number of turns - there is at least one brand out there that the adjustment screws can be unscrewed all the way and then lets water gush out the front of the valve till the household water is shut off.


Cost for a plumber to go that far - probably minimum trip charge of about $75-150, except more in a few very high cost urban areas. If the valve is defective or there is a partial blockage in the pipe, then likely to be a couple to several hundred $ more labor, plus $100+ range for a new valve.


If the problem is low household pressure and the pressure reducing valve is not causing that, then you have two options - for a relatively minor increase, the pipe sizes to the shower can be repalced with larger to reduce friction, but that will only boost the pressure and flow rate maybe on the order of 20% or so. Otherwise, and what is commonly done for multi-head and "waterfall" showers, is installing a flow-controlled booster pump on that line - for about $400-600 range depending on how much of a boost your pressure needs - a whole house unit runs more like that much for the pump alone so about $600-1000 installed typically. This assumes your incoming flow is not limited dramatically by meter size (can be increased) or by limited flow like from a well.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

1
Vote

You should solve this problem with such comprehensive advice prior. I do remember a couple of other situations to try if none of that seems to work.


If your water heater is over 10-13 years old, you might want to replace it. Have you been draining sediment as per mfr instructions? Most of us do not. When you have a plumber visiting, do you have him check the WH annode rod for too much corrosion? Most of do not &/or this long rod is blocked from coming out far enough to inspect.


If your water heater's pipe has a long way to travel to this problem ... and the pipes are oooold .... some report interior corrosion = friction = low pressure. Your plumber's opinion on cleaning vs replacement, maybe even upsizing would be the way to go.


I don't see a problem noted on the cold water pressure, so other solutions I had can wait.


BTW - it's OK to furnish LOTS of details to help remove the blindfold, help us get into your head, eyes to serve up better answers on the first try

Answered 4 years ago by tgivaughn

0
Votes

Good response by tgivaughn - this demonstrates once again why multiple responses to a questions are desireable, because I was tending toward the thought that this was a a recent change in flow volume/pressure, so I did not get into the possibility of gradually blocked /corroded pipes.


On his comment about flushing the water heater - that can certainly affect the VOLUME of hot water you get and the recovery or ability to keep up with the demand, but I can't visaulize how that would affect PRESSURE. Of course that assumes you actaully meant pressure - how hard the water comes out - and not actually the volume or water or the duration of the hot water as you use it.


One other thought which could be a cheap fix if it works for you, before getting into large dollar solutions - my solution to this was to change from a conventional small metal spray head to a large-head plastic $25 WaterPic adjustable (rotate the ring type) head in one shower, and large adjustable-head plastic head on a hose in the other shower - made at least a 2:1 difference in functionality and the effective force of the water on the body and of course the hose type (with the mounting bracket on the shower arm so can be used in fixed mode too) makes it more functional for hitting areas far from the shower head, and I have heard very positive comments from a number of others that I suggested this solution to. Of course, if your pressure is in the 35 psi minus range, it might improve the situation some but will never give what you could call "high pressure" unless the line pressure is increased one way or another.


Note that by law all shower heads come with flow restricters in them - some fixed (some you have to drill out if you want), other pop-out, and makes a dramatic difference in amount of flow - so if getting a new head and you want high flow, get one which the product description says has a removeable flow restrictor. Of course, illegal to remove in some areas - drought areas and major cities with limited water supply typically.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD




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