For most people, a high-pressure shower is an enjoyable and invigorating shower. Imagine getting into the shower at the end of a long day, expecting a refreshing experience right before you relax for the day, or a ‘wake me up’ invigorating shower in the morning.
When you turn on the shower, the low water pressure quickly turns your shower into an annoying and frustrating experience. There are various reasons (both simple and serious) for low water pressure. Fortunately, it’s a fixable problem. Let’s look at how to increase water pressure in shower in apartment.
1. Clean Your Shower Head
Water contains various mineral deposits so naturally, these deposits will build up in your showerhead over time. The nozzles will squirt water in different directions or get completely blocked, reducing the water flow in your shower. You can easily clean your shower head whether it’s still screwed on the shower pipe or removed.
To clean your shower head, unscrew it from the shower pipe and soak it in white vinegar for a few hours. Make sure it’s completely submerged. If the buildup is excessive, soak it in the vinegar for at least 8 hours then remove it and scrub the rest of the buildup with a toothbrush. If your shower head is still screwed on, fill a plastic bag with vinegar and tie it around the showerhead making sure it’s submerged.
2. Remove Flow Restrictor
Inspect the showerhead to check if there’s a flow restrictor. They are usually installed to help preserve water and energy. Flow restrictors reduce the water flow to 2.5 gallons per minute as per the energy conservation standards. Unfortunately, this money-saving device can also be a nightmare as it reduces the water pressure in your shower.
Keep in mind that removing the flow restrictor will increase your water usage and consequently, your bills. If you don’t mind paying extra, go right ahead. You’ll need:
- Adjustable wrench
- Plumber’s tape
- Paper clips
- Needle nose pliers
- Unscrew the showerhead from the pipe.
- Remove the mesh screen (if your shower head has one) with the pliers.
- Unbend the paper clip and use it to remove the gasket (O-ring) without damaging it.
- Remove the restrictor with your unbent paper clip or needle-nose pliers. The restrictor is a circular, plastic, flat ring with a star-shaped metal center.
- Replace the O-ring and mesh screen the reattach the showerhead.
3. Check and Clean the Building’s Water Filter
In most apartment buildings, the plumbing system features water filters to strain out sediments and debris before the water enters the building’s supply pipes. Over time, the filters accumulate debris and become clogged causing low water pressure especially if there’s no regular maintenance by the property management.
The management team must regularly inspect these filters and have them cleaned to avoid blockage. Any sign of a dirty filter means it’s maintenance time. Regular cleaning can also prevent damage to the filters.
4. Unclog Water Pipes
Water pipes in apartment buildings often get clogged with all sorts of debris. Unclogging them requires professional plumbers. They are experienced enough to locate the clogged pipes and detach them from the rest. They use professional cleaning equipment to remove the debris from the inside, then replace the pipe and test the water flow.
Pipe replacement is another common solution for excessive pipe clogging. This also works for pipes that are made from corroded material. Professional plumbers track down these pipes and remove them. They replace them with new ones with a larger diameter, made of materials like copper, CPVC, PEX that are corrosive-resistant.
5. Install an Amplifying Shower Head
The low water pressure in your shower may be due to your type of showerhead. Some showerheads in apartment buildings are water restricting and require replacement with one that will give you a high-pressure shower. Amplifying shower heads are the solution to this problem.
They provide a powerful shower without increasing the system’s actual pressure. You won’t be wasting any water but it will feel like you’re using more. The options on the market are plentiful so you need to research which one is best for you depending on the size and set up of your shower. Some amplifying showerheads come with adjustable spray and pressure settings.
6. Prevent Freezing Pipes
Building management should inform residents to keep the heat set in their units to a minimum of 10°C. This provides sufficient heat to prevent the water in the pipes from freezing, thereby eliminating the chance of flooding. If you’re leaving home for the holidays, ensure that your water is turned off.
Insulating the pipes is also effective in preventing the pipes from freezing during winter. While it may be a simple project for a home’s plumbing system, this is an apartment building so you’ll need a professional plumber to place a special insulation material over the pipes to prevent freezing.
7. Call the Professionals
Sometimes you can’t know the exact problem causing low water pressure. Maybe you’ve checked everything but can’t figure it out. This is where a professional plumber comes in. The problem might be more complicated than you think.
It could be that your apartment building is fully occupied. You’ll notice reduced pressure in the mornings or evenings when most people are taking a shower especially if the building gets full over a short period. If this is the case for your apartment, call professional plumbers to provide a sustainable solution.
What Causes Low Water Pressure in an Apartment?
Apartments and other high-rise buildings are notorious for low water pressure problems. Sadly, this causes inconvenience to apartment tenants or owners who enjoy the pleasure of a hot powerful shower. The causes of low water pressure in an apartment include:
1. Low Water Supply
Low water supply from the municipal service is a common cause of low water pressure in apartment showers. This makes it difficult for the water to reach the top floors of the building even though the building has a brand new plumbing system.
In some cases, the building requires a booster pump to supply the upper building floors because they are too high for the municipal service water to reach. Water tanks at the top can’t deliver water to the plumbing system adequately if they aren’t receiving it.
2. High Demand
Some buildings are huge with several apartments. When the plumbing system in these buildings wasn’t properly planned, it may not be able to adequately support the number of apartments. This will put a high demand on the water supply.
For apartment buildings that have several families, the demand is even higher because of the number of people living in them. During peak shower times, the supply will be strained causing low water pressure in the shower.
3. Freezing Temperatures
During winter, water wipes freeze up and water can’t flow through to the showerhead. If it does, it will be low pressure. Worse still, frozen pipes expand and create pressure that can rupture them. When the pipes burst, they release several gallons of water that will damage the plumbing system and building.
Even if the pipes don’t burst, they’ll still get damaged as very low temperatures can affect the plumbing system. Freezing temperatures cause water within the pipes to freeze, then expand. This causes water leaks, ice clogs, and water pressure problems.
4. Malfunctioning Valves
Valves are an important element of the apartment building’s plumbing system. They control the water supply and drainage system to each apartment unit. They need regular inspection and maintenance to ensure their optimal condition and efficient operation.
Low pressure results from malfunctioning valves and partially closed valves. Old valves may be damaged and must be replaced. If there’s been a recent plumbing upgrade on your system, one of the valves may have a problem with the way it’s designed.
How Do You Fix Low Water Pressure in an Upstairs Shower?
Generally, the water pressure on the upper floor of a house is lower than the ground floor. In most houses, the water heater is located in the basement. That’s where the main water line starts too. For every foot of pipe that water travels, it loses pressure and more so through vertical piping.
This results in dismal water release from your shower head. Fortunately, you can end the frustration and fix low pressure in your upstairs shower. First, check the water pressure as it enters your house. If it’s low already, then your shower upstairs will suffer.
1. Check What’s Draining the Shower
If your water supply from the mainline is adequate, check the pressure by making sure that your water appliances and sources are turned off first. For example, washing machines, dishwashers, other faucets, and outdoor hoses.
When these are all open, the water pressure in the upstairs shower reduces as it’s flowing in all these other places. If you notice high pressure upstairs when there’s nothing else draining the water, use the shower that way.
2. Adjust the Regulator
Check and adjust the water pressure regulator according to the pressure you need. You can increase the pressure on the whole house. Don’t adjust it too quickly as it may get damaged when the sudden gush of water destroys weak spots. Do it slowly and carefully as you monitor it.
So, how do you adjust the regulator? Start by loosening the nut using a wrench, take a screwdriver and turn the adjustment screw with a clockwise motion. Special cases will call for a pump if the water pressure can’t increase above a specific level.
What Is a Good Water Pressure for a Shower?
Everyone has that particular water pressure level that makes them happy. While a trickle may be good for one, another may enjoy a powerful fire hose type of shower. However, the ideal water pressure in your home should be able to serve the family members and household requirements.
The simplest way to determine whether you have good water pressure is by measuring with a stopwatch and a one-liter measuring jug. With your jug under the open shower, measure how much time it takes for the water to fill the jug. Anything more than 6 seconds shows that your shower runs at low pressure.
Measuring your water pressure will give you an exact picture of how forceful your water . It’s measured in pounds per square inch or PSI. Normal water pressure is typically in the range of 40 to 60 PSI. Many residents prefer a water pressure measuring around 50 PSI.
Is 70 Psi Too High for Water Pressure?
Low pressure is irritating for residents but high pressure in your shower is dangerous to the plumbing system, the walls, tanks, and much more. Although most homes keep their pressure between 40 and 60 PSI, 70 PSI is not too high for water pressure. Beware that your water pressure should not go beyond 75 PSI.
Is There a Shower Head That Increases Water Pressure?
As mentioned before, you can increase the water pressure by replacing the showerhead. Some showerheads are not designed to produce sufficient water release. Replace them with one of these high-pressure shower heads for an enjoyable shower experience.
This lightweight multifunctional handheld shower invigorates and relaxes you at the same time with its powerful spray abilities. You won’t have to worry about mineral build-up thanks to the soft rubber jet nozzles. It’s made with high-strength ABS plastic that makes it sturdy and long-lasting.
Imagine having a soothing high-pressure shower and a massage at the same time. This adjustable high-quality chrome shower head offers the best of both worlds and is designed for low water pressure situations. It’s easy to install and has an excellent range of motion.
Adequate water pressure is a vital component of your plumbing system and can cause apartment tenants to complain or vacate the premises. Building management should ensure to perform regular inspections and timely maintenance and repairs to keep their residents happy.
Individuals and families living in apartments should be aware that apartments face this issue a lot and should focus on the solutions for the sake of everyone living there. You can attempt to solve the minor problems and leave the core complex issue to the professionals.