Q: Tim, I know you’ve got the answer. All of a sudden, the water pressure in my shower has dropped. It’s fine in my bathroom sink and all other places, except that I have noticed the flow at my kitchen sink is getting worse. It takes forever to rinse the soap from my long hair. What might be the problem, and is this a DIY project? — Janey M., Clearwater, Fla.
A: Low water pressure in showers is a more common problem now than it used to be when I was growing up. A few decades ago, government officials enacted laws to try to conserve water. Little did they know the secondary effects of these laws would be millions of frustrated homeowners.
Plumbing fixture manufacturers had to install flow restrictors inside shower heads and other faucets to comply with the new laws. These tiny discs have all sorts of different designs, but one thing they share in common is screens or small holes to limit the flow of water.
Small pieces of sediment and gunk in the water start to clog these holes one at a time, and soon the flow of water is much reduced. Fortunately, you can remove these flow restrictors and clean them out. You can also remove your shower head and soak it in warm white vinegar for a few hours in case hard water deposits are clogging the tiny outlet holes in the head.
Many of my neighbors here in New Hampshire have well water, and they take out the restrictors and throw them away. People on wells don’t waste water. Every drop is recycled instantly because for every gallon of water that flows from the house into their septic tank, a gallon of water flows from the septic tank back into the ground to recharge the local aquifer.
I’ve got great DIY videos showing how to remove a shower head and clean out the flow restrictors. Go to: http://go.askthebuilder.com/showerhead.
Tim Carter can call you on the phone free to solve your problem. Go to his website and fill out the form on this page: https://www.askthebuilder.com/ask-tim/.