How to check the water pressure for a shower

Updated February 21, 2017

Low water pressure in the shower can be annoying, but you can check the pressure and remedy the situation. While a lack of pressure in the water may depend on where you live, many pressure problems faced in the shower are due to a blockage in the showerhead, which you can clean out. If you think you may have low water pressure, use a variety of techniques to assess and remedy the problem.

Buy a water pressure gauge at a home improvement centre or hardware shop. Since you are checking the overall water pressure, attach the gauge to a garden hose or tap and allow it to run to measure the pressure. Anything between 276 to 552 kpa (40 and 80 psi) is a good pressure for water.

Check another water source in the house to determine if the low water pressure is restricted to the shower Turn on a hose outdoors and observe the flow. If it's strong, your pressure is good. If it's low, a valve may be restricted and you may need to call a professional.

Place a bucket in the shower and turn on the water. If it takes longer than two minutes to fill the bucket, the pressure is very low.

Clean the showerhead if other water sources indicate adequate pressure. Remove the head and gasket, then gently remove the small screen inside. If accumulation is substantial, soak the entire head in white distilled vinegar for a few hours. Screw the showerhead back on and check the pressure again.

Increase water pressure by taking off the flow restrictor in the showerhead. Remove the head and the gasket. Using a thin screwdriver, remove the plastic restrictor from the centre of the showerhead. Pop it out of place with the screwdriver, then replace the gasket and reattach the showerhead.


Removing the flow restrictor will increase water usage as well as your water bill.

Things You'll Need

  • Water pressure gauge
  • Bucket
  • White vinegar
  • Screwdriver
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