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How to remove a showerhead flow restrictor

Updated July 18, 2017

Many shower heads and hand-held shower sets include a flow restrictor to help you save water and energy. The flow restrictor limits water flow to around 11.5 litres (2.5 gallons) per minute. Although removing the flow restrictor will increase the amount of water flowing through your shower head, the downside it that your water and energy consumption will increase.

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  1. Turn the spray selector on the shower head all the way to the left, then all the way to the right and then to the centre position. Turn the shower on for two seconds and then off again.

  2. Remove the shower head from the shower supply pipe, or the hand-held shower head from the shower hose. If you cannot do this by hand, put a rag over the shower head and use a plumber's wrench -- the rag will help protect the finish on the shower head.

  3. You may need to remove the shower head washer. This is a black, doughnut-shaped piece of rubber in the inlet to the shower head or in the handle of the hand-held shower head. Use a screwdriver to carefully pull the gasket from the inlet or handle, taking care not to tear it. Be careful not to damage the threads of the shower head. You may also need to remove a piece of mesh from the shower head.

  4. Look for the flow restrictor -- it is a piece of plastic sitting at the inlet of the shower head or in the handle of the hand-held shower head. The restrictor may be pink, white or green, and located behind a star-shaped piece of metal. Use a screwdriver to remove the flow restrictor by lifting the edge and twisting it loose. The flow restrictor should pop out.

  5. Replace the washer, mesh and shower head, and then turn on the water to check your work. You should now have a steady, more powerful stream of water.

  6. Tip

    Keep the restrictor in a safe place in case you want to reinstall it in the future.

    If you damage the rubber washer ring during this procedure, buy and fit a new washer.

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Things You'll Need

  • Plumber's wrench
  • Rag
  • Screwdriver

About the Author

Jacqueline Trovato is a published writer with more than 25 years' experience in marketing communications and public relations. She specializes in health care communications. She holds a Bachelor of Science in education with a minor in psychology from James Madison University.

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