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I have just moved into a new apartment on the fifth floor of a building and the water pressure is dismal. The sinks I can deal with, but not the shower... are there any hacks you can perform on the shower head itself?

  • This question appears to be off-topic because it is about Home improvement. This question has been asked on home improvement, a search there will yield high quality answers from experts experienced with your water pressure problem. – Jon Jan 7 '15 at 17:38
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    @Jon Being on-topic on another site doesn't make it off-topic here. – Shokhet Jan 7 '15 at 19:15
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    The very first thing to check is whether you have flow limiters in the shower heads. They often come preinstalled, and are normally very easy to remove by disassembling the head. Results may vary from dramatic improvement to barely noticeable. – TIO Begs Jan 7 '15 at 20:17
  • apparently living in the US causes one to have pressure reducing stuff in the shower head. You can take them out. diy.stackexchange.com/a/416 (not an answer as I did not try this myself) – Angelo Fuchs Jan 8 '15 at 15:56
  • @AngeloFuchs Yes, see Jeff Tucker's Hack Your Showerhead linked in my answer below. – Geremia Jan 16 '18 at 3:17
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If you get a narrower head, the water will come out faster, so it will feel like there is higher pressure, even though the water is low in volume. You can even get a head that puts the water out in one narrow stream, which can be quite sharp.

There's nothing you can do to improve the pressure in an apartment complex, other than trying to get your shower at a time when everyone else is not likely to be running water. Showers, dishwashers, and washing machines (not everyone has these last 2) use a lot of water, so 2 running at once will not improve your experience.

  • -1 Nope. A narrower head will further decrease the water volume by increasing the resistance to water pressure that is already low. Volume and cross-sectional area (of the tube/pipe/head, etc.) are inversely proportional. The pressure would have to increase for this first statement to be true. It cannot so this is an incorrect solution to the question. – Stan Jan 21 '18 at 20:03
  • @Stan a narrower head does decrease volume slightly, while increasing the speed it comes out. And yes, I’ve tried it – J. Musser Jan 21 '18 at 20:20
  • The question was about pressure, not volume. I better understand your comment. – Stan Jan 21 '18 at 20:37
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Remove flow-rate restrictors in the shower head

You can make sure that there are no water flow rate restrictors inside the shower head. These can usually be pried out (I've done this on hand-held shower heads, too; see also this video):

taking out flow rate restrictors with needle-nose pliers full size image

Or you might need to drill a bigger hole in the water inlet of the shower head (which I've done on larger shower heads).

Remove restrictors in the shower valve / install bigger plumbing

Even if you hack the shower head itself, your flow rate might be limited by the piping / valve of the shower itself (cf. this video).


Also, in the U.S., it's federal law that shower heads must be rated < 2½ gallons per minute! See Jeff Tucker's Hack Your Showerhead: Or How to Get the Government Out of Your Home and article.

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Some shower heads have screen strainers in them, to prevent grit in the pipes from clogging the spray nozzles. unscrew the shower head from the pipe and check for the presence of a clogged screen. it can be unclogged by pushing the grit out of the pores using a needle.

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Use a water heater which has a storage tank that is big enough for your shower needs.

Those storage tanks used to be the rules in the past, so you should be able to find them in many countries.

The life hack solution might be to install a tank or even a tub high enough inside your bathroom that you can run a shower from it, fill it with water to your chosen temperature and run a shower from it.
If just gravity is not enough to get your the required pressure you can think about installing a pump and/or a container under pressure.

Of course, these are solutions for when a change to your shower head does not give the required results.

  • This doesn't increase pressure... – Stian Yttervik Jan 17 '18 at 10:07
  • and its also not his choice as he lives in an apartment block – bigbadmouse Jan 22 '18 at 16:12
  • I do not know about where he lives, but where I live you have to take care of your own hot water, even when you rent an apartment. (Not all over the country but it is the most common.) But you can life hack such a water container. – Willeke Jan 22 '18 at 18:31
  • his or her profile says he/she lives in new york – bigbadmouse Jan 23 '18 at 9:59

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