Sudden loss of shower pressure

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  #1  
Old 05-23-07, 11:58 AM
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Sudden loss of shower pressure

First off - its really not quite so sudden of a loss, and I apologize if this has been covered, I started reading with post #1 but had to give up only a couple of pages in.

Here is my story. We purchased a row home in Philly about a month ago. When we did our home inspection there was a problem with the shower diverter - the shower head leaked a little when the tub faucet was running. That was fixed by the seller before the closing. I notice from the get go that the shower water pressure was a little less than desirable, but certainly manageable. Shortly after we moved in we had to have the drains snaked out, as water was backing up into the kitchen sink when you flushed the toilet or used the shower. Since then the drains have been working fine.

Sat we had a washer and drier delivered, but they couldn't be hooked up because there wasn't a proper drain or proper hookups run (they were the wrong diameter). So I put my amateur plumbing skills to work, and installed a utility sink using the drain hook up that was there, and ran new copper from the ceiling down, tee'd it off so I have one line running to the sink and one to the washer and drier. This took a little bit of trial and error, but in the end it seems to have worked fine. No leaks, and plenty of water pressure to the sink. Most of the work took place on Sunday, when I got the hot water line installed, but I had some trouble with the cold, and that had to wait until yesterday.

Now, after the work was done on Sunday, I took a shower and it was fine, Monday morning my wife took a shower and it was fine, as was my shower Monday evening. Now Tuesday morning my wife complained that the shower was very weak. Tuesday evening I finished the cold water line in the basement and noticed that the water flow was still very weak in the shower, almost too weak to rinse off with. My wife tells me that this morning it was also very weak. I don't know if I did something when I did my work in the basement. I suspect not, because the shower was working fine for 3 showers before it started acting up.

The first thing I did was pull the shower head off to see if something was blocking it, but was clear. All the other faucets in the house work fine (there is almost too much pressure in the bathroom sink). The toilets flush normally. And, while I can't really tell for sure, the tub faucet appears to flow normally.

Any suggestions?
 
  #2  
Old 05-23-07, 12:02 PM
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Open up the shower valve itself, there may be some debris there blocking a passage. Not unheard of, especially with other plumbing work going on.
 
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Old 05-23-07, 12:15 PM
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Thanks for your help!

Please forgive my ignorance - this is my first home so I am really unexperienced and know very little of the terminology, so please bare with me. How does one go about opening the shower valve? I take it that is the part of the shower that turns the water on and off and controls the temperature? Is there a way I can get at this without opening up the wall? There is an access panel from the back bedroom, but it is very low, a good foot or so below the level of the knob.

By the way, if it makes a difference, this is the type of faucet that has the diverter on the faucet, and just has one lever that turns the shower on - and controls the temperature.
 
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Old 05-23-07, 01:19 PM
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The handle is attached either with an allen screw on bottom side or a phillip/flat head screw on the handle somewhere. May have to remove a cover. Once you get that off you can remove the plate and get to the valve. Should be self explanatory from there. If you can take a lic and link it here we can help you better.

Oh..and don't forget to turn your water off first. That or wear a bthing suit while doing this.
 
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Old 05-24-07, 07:26 AM
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Well it was in fact the shower head after all. Before I took a part the valve I took one more look in the head. When I first took it off I banged it very forcefully against my palm, and nothing came out. I saw a little bit of metal in the very center but I just assumed it was supposed to be there when it didn't come out. This time I pried it out and low and behold it looks like a little bit of solder or something made its way up there.

Thanks for the help!

One more thing though (figure I might as well as while I'm here). Now the water pressure is back to a usable pressure, but its still much weaker than I would like. All of the sinks in the house have very good pressure, but for some reason the shower is rather weak. Do you guys have any suggestions for improving the pressure to the shower?
 
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Old 05-24-07, 07:42 AM
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Doing a little more reading on the forums. If the pressure to the rest of the house is good, and I know that there was a problem with the diverter at some point, is it more likely that the weak water pressure is due to the diverter, or to the valve. Which should I check first?
 
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Old 05-24-07, 12:50 PM
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It could be the showerhead itself...some have a restricter to save water. Some are in the form of a type of washer that you can remove, others are built in to the head and you can't. If something (solder?) made it that far that you could see, maybe a smaller piece of something mde it through and got up inside the head.

I prefer to try the easy thing first....I'd go to the hardware store and buy a new, cheap head to see if that fixes it. If it does, than you and the wife can argue over what type of more expensive one to buy!

Good luck,
Tom
 
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Old 05-24-07, 02:18 PM
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seconding Tom's post

I second Tom's post. Most shower heads you buy nowadays are water-restricted (not sure if this is a result of legislation or what). Fortunately, shower head manufacturers seem to recognize that people hate water-restricted shower heads, so they tend to restrict the water via a user-removable piece. In all the ones I've dealt with, they're plastic washers with a narrow opening, and removing this piece, which is sometimes easy and sometimes hard, increases the water flow accordingly. That being said, there have been some shower heads I've owned that, even after removing the restrictor, still don't give good pressure.

Bottom line: take off the shower head and then turn on the water full blast (preferably while you're not standing under the pipe). If the water pressure seems fine without the shower head, then it's definitely some water-restricting property of the shower head itself.
 
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Old 06-08-10, 01:39 AM
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Pressure temporarily loss

So when i first turn on the water, everything is fine. As i build up more and more pressure all of a sudden you year a big "THUD" and the water pressure is cut to half. If you close the valve and begin adding water again, it seems to be fine, if you increase the pressure at a slow enough rate it seems to work fine, but if you turn on the water full pressure it will almost always make a horrible "thud" sound and cut off all water pressure. Sometimes this occurs when i transition from faucet to shower head. Is there some sort of pressure sensor in the lever? My set up is one dial for cold, one dial for hot, and one dial to transition it from faucet to shower head. Can someone explain what is happening?
Thanks for any feedback
 
 

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