Any way to improve water pressure?

blondelleAugust 16, 2011

Are there shower heads that take whatever pressure you have and amplify it to give the water more force? I'm in an older building and would like a stronger flow.

I also had wanted to use one of those towers with several nozzles but was told there wasn't enough water pressure for that. Can any gadget take what you have and make it better?

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sombreuil_mongrel

In detached houses, where you have a mechanical area or basement, it is possible to add a jet pump and pressure tank to achieve acceptable pressure from a lower pressure source. Our city supplies fairly disappointing pressure. Mine is about 40psi in the basement where the service enters; by the time it is lifted 20 feet to the upstairs shower head, it's even less. My house had old rusted galvanized supply lines to the second floor; after these were replaced with 3/4" copper risers, and the bath completely replumbed, the 40PSI feed now has sufficient flow to make it work. Low pressure + low (restricted) flow is a real killer.
Casey

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 10:12AM
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writersblock

I don't know if it's just marketing hype (probably) but delta claims that their H20Kinetic shower heads make it seem like there's more pressure than there actually is:

Here is a link that might be useful: delta marketing for showers

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 10:19AM
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blondelle

Thanks! I forgot to mention I'm in an apartment. Guess I can't change the plumbing much at the water's source. I will check out that shower head. I'm getting one of those water temp regulators though. I can't stand fiddling with the knobs trying to get the water temp right every time I want to take a shower. First it's too hot, then it's too cold, then it's too hot again and...ah...just right!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 11:10AM
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lazypup

As a plumber I get this question almost daily, and almost as often when I suggest the solution ppl laugh at me.

Go to any local ACE or True Value hardware store and you can find a generic shower head that is solid brass and just slightly larger diameter than the shower arm pipe. These shower heads have on ring of tiny holes and produce a spray that rivals the output of a pressure washer. And the best part, they are under $5,,In fact, at the plumbing supply house they come in a two pack for $5.

They don't look impressive and you certainly won't have the upscale brandname for bragging rights, but if you want a forceful shower this is the best $5 you will ever spend.

We once put these shower heads in all 200 rooms during a motel remodel and the motel guests were so impressed that the motel sells those shower heads in their gift shop for $14

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 1:23PM
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writersblock

Interesting, lazypup. It looks like the delta showerheads may be just a variation on that:

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 2:07PM
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lazypup

No,,,the shower head I posted is a mere fraction of the size of the one you have posted there.

If you look at the photo I posted, the knurled ring on the upper end in the photo is a 1/2"npt pipe thread attachment. There is a ball and socket swivel in the center and on the lower end it is about 7/8" OD with about a 1/2" deep recess. Inside that recess there is one row of tiny holes surrounding the inner circle.

This shower head is so small that on first glance it will almost look like there is no shower head on the end of the shower arm but I can assure you, when you turn the water on it will come out in tiny needle size streams and feels like your standing under the nozzle of a pressure washer.

I installed these in my house in 1987 and to date I have had no problems with them except, I do have a slight problem with mineral scale buildup after four or five years. When that happens I remove the shower head and soak it overnight in a small pan of water with CLR. The next morning I rinse it off, apply a bit of teflon tape to the shower arm and screw the shower head back on.

As I said before, these shower heads are not impressive to look at, but I assure you, once you stand under it you will be glad you spent the $5.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 2:26PM
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blondelle

Thanks lazypup. I looked at the photo and thought that was a piece that someone attached to the showerhead. I didn't realize until I reread you post that it WAS the showerhead...LOL! I wanted to make a whole to-do with the showerhead putting in a really fancy one with all the bells and whistles. Guess I have to choose between form and function on this one.

Sure I can't have it both ways? Something that looks more impressive that has good flow too. I am a designer, and that looks so...well...insignificant...LOL. Need a more upscale look. They should make fancy showerheads and put that thing in the middle of it :-).

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 3:29PM
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lazypup

On the other hand you could spend the $5 and try it, that is just a bit more than a cup of coffee today,,,, and after you take a shower under it, you will begin to see the real beauty.....LOL

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 3:34PM
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blondelle

Thanks lazypup. I looked at the photo and thought that was a piece that somehow attached to the showerhead. I didn't realize until I reread you post that it WAS the showerhead...LOL! I wanted to make a whole to-do with the showerhead putting in a really fancy one with all the bells and whistles. Guess I have to choose between form and function on this one.

Sure I can't have it both ways? Something that looks more impressive that has good flow too. I am a designer, and that looks so...well...insignificant...LOL. Need a more upscale look. They should make fancy showerheads and put that thing in the middle of it :-).

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 3:38PM
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cstheday52

I have poor water pressure in my house. I ordered a handheld shower head from Water Management in Boston. It's been great. They have excellent customer service. I called on a Sunday, expecting to leave a message, but someone answered. We spoke for a while. They have a great return policy. I am very pleased!! We will be redoing our bathrooms and my wife wants the fancier handhelds on a bar. I just spoke with Eric at Water Management. He said they have holders that will allow their handheld to be used on a bar.

Here is a link that might be useful: Water Management

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 9:48PM
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charlikin

Ah...shower water pressure. My pressure was much better before I renovated my bathroom - I think my old showerhead was similar to lazypup's. Now I have a new-fangled, fancy, multi-setting showerhead and I get...adequate pressure. I can rinse shampoo from my hair with it. Sigh.

OTOH, the thermostatic valve rocks. Yes, you want one of those, blondelle!!! No more fiddling with knobs... Now you can just stand there and enjoy how steady the water temperature is. It's almost boring. ;-)

(Also in an apartment, btw.)

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 11:45PM
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herring_maven

charlikin writes: "My pressure was much better before I renovated my bathroom."

There may be a reason for that. When you renovated your bathroom, you shut off the water to install the new fixtures. The new fixtures have screen filters in them to keep gunk out of the valves. When you turned the water back on, the rush of the water flow loosened some of the accumulated scale inside your pipes, which then flowed "downstream" to the screen filters in your new fixtures. Turn the water off again and clean out the filters, and your problem may be solved.

Another solution to try: the Moen Velocity 6320 showerhead. It cannot work miracles, but it certainly improved the apparent water pressure SIGNIFICANTLY in our shower.

Here is a link that might be useful: Moen Velocity 6320

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 12:02AM
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charlikin

Thanks, herring_maven! Yes, I know all about gunk in the filters. The super had to turn off the water in my line recently to allow another apartment to renovate. After he turned it back on, I barely had any water pressure at all. He took my shower apart, and sure enough, the filters were clogged. He cleaned them out and now I'm back to adequate.

I think part of the problem also was that I didn't have a flow restrictor before the renovation. Man, I hate those things.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 12:20AM
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liriodendron

We have a showerhead like that, with the added feature of a push toggle that turns the water flow off and on at the showerhead. Ready to soap up? Turn the water off temporarily, then toggle it back on at the same temp and flow and rinse away.

That's great in the summer, but in the winter in our cold house it's too chilly to be wet and naked and NOT under the hot stream, even for a few minutes, so we let it run then.

We've had ours for decades and except as noted by lazypups above, occasional descaling soaks in CLR, no maintenance.

L.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 1:28PM
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kisu

Lazypup,

is it a Whedon or an Alsons head? I see the whedon online at Ace and it's about $10-$12. The one you picture when the knurled thumbscrew looks like the picture of an Alsons brand (now owned by Delta I think).

Also would it matter if I got the one with the push-button on it? It allows a navy shower where you can push button to temporarily turn it to a trickle, lather, then push the button to bring shower back on. They both seem to come with a push button "deluxe" model version.

My only other problem is I wish one of these models came in Satin Nickel or brushed Nickel as that would match our bathrooms better.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 9:36PM
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