Improve Water Pressure to Second Floor Showers
LESLIE: Dale, you are live on The Money Pit. How can we help you?
DALE: Hi. My home has a well and septic system and the water pressure on the second floor showers is not very good and I was wondering if you might be able to help me by figuring out what I could do to increase the water pressure in my second floor showers.
TOM: Sure. Now you said that you have a well. Have you checked the well pressure at the point of entry?
TOM: Alright. Well, that’s the first place for you to go. The well should be maintaining like 60 to 80 pounds of pressure when it’s off and about 40 to 50 when it’s running. So you want to run about three faucets and take a look at the pressure gauge where it comes into the house and make sure you’re staying in that 40 to 50 pounds-per-square-inch range.
TOM: If that’s the case, the next thing you need to do is take a look at the piping. How old is your house?
DALE: About six years.
TOM: Six years. OK. Well, good news is that the piping is going to be copper and that means it’s not going to suffer from anything like internal rusting or something like that. And I would suspect that if you’re still having a problem and the water pressure is OK, then it’s got to be traced down to a valve and you’re going to need to start backing up from the second floor and testing each of the valves to see where the problem is. How many plumbing faucets do you have on the second floor that are affected by the water pressure? Is it just the sink, by the way?
DALE: Well, it’s really most noticeable in the showers. I really don’t notice it in the toilets or the sink.
TOM: Have you – for a six-year-old shower, have you ever checked to see if you had a pressure-reducing valve on the shower? Because I bet you you do.
DALE: Hmm. Well, I …
TOM: No, would be the answer, Tom. So here’s what I want you to do. I want you to try to take the shower head off.
DALE: Yes, I did replace it once.
TOM: Alright, well take it off. Don’t replace it at the moment. Just take it off ….
LESLIE: And then look into it.
TOM: Well no, actually, turn the shower on and see what kind of water flow comes out of that pipe. If it’s like soaring out of that pipe then it’s probably water restricted and if you take the shower head off now and look on the inside of it – like the part that screws on – you’re probably going to see a rubber washer or a rubber plug. That is the water restrictor and if you want more pressure …
LESLIE: Take it out.
TOM: … pull that out, screw it back on and you’ll be amazed at the difference.
LESLIE: Dale, is this a new problem? This is a new problem. This has always been happening?
DALE: It’s been this way ever since I bought the house and I …
TOM: Well, I bet you that’s the case.