Shower loses pressure for a few days


Old 10-02-15, 06:06 AM
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Shower loses pressure for a few days

My shower is completely baffling me. We have fantastic pressure 99% of the time. But every once in awhile, usually once every couple months, our shower completely loses pressure for a few days. This morning is one of those days, prompting me to reach out to the internets for advice.

Pressure in the rest of the house is just fine, great even. Pressure out of the tub faucet is just fine. It's just the pressure out of the shower head.

I've detached the shower head, cleaned it with vinegar, we had a new hot water tank installed a few months ago. Problem existed well before that, my hopes were that a new hot water tank would resolve this particular issue, but alas it has not.

If I just wait 2 or 3 days, my shower pressure will be back to normal. I've just no clue what causes it to drop like this. Any thoughts or suggestions?
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Old 10-02-15, 06:45 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

Do you notice any pressure changes at any other faucet? My first thought is the pressure to the whole house has dropped but you're only noticing it at the shower because it's a little higher and you typically call for more water there. I'd screw a pressure gauge on a spigot to get an average reading and then again when the shower is acting up.
Old 10-02-15, 07:27 AM
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See above link for how to insert pictures. Please post a picture of the shower valve(s)

If you have a single handle mixing valve, the cartridge might need replacing.
Old 10-02-15, 08:43 AM
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Photos below. I've opened up the fixture, replaced the washers and springs, which made no difference.

There is no pressure drop in the rest of the house, including the tub faucet itself. Just the shower head, and just for a couple days at most. By Sat or Sun, pressure will be back to full-strength like nothing happened.

Is it possible that calcium deposits from the old 20-30 year old tank are still in the line and occasionally restricting the water flow? And that just clears itself up after a few days? I've considered just running brand new lines from the tank to the shower (it's directly below the shower on the lower level, so it'd be easy to do).

Sorry I can't attach images, at a coffee shop and uploads are failing...

Old 10-02-15, 09:41 AM
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Because people often confuse the two I have to ask if you are experiencing a pressure loss or a volume loss, they are NOT the same. Pressure is the force that expels the water from the shower head and volume is the amount of water expelled. Normally if you have an obstruction in a single pipe or faucet it will result in a loss of volume (flow) from that pipe or fixture and that can be interpreted as a loss of pressure from that particular fixture when all other fixtures in the house seem normal.

Since this is ONLY happening with the shower I suspect that the shower valve itself is the problem. I personally detest those old Delta faucets.
Old 10-02-15, 12:07 PM
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I would remove the shower head leaving the shower arm open and flush water through the open pipe. I suspect sediment in the shower stack that occasionally gets thrown up and clogs the shower head. Once the water is turned off, it is sucked back in to the stack. It only forms a seal big enough to choke he water off when it lodges a certain way at the the head.

Did you soak the whole shower head completely submerged in vinegar or CLR?
Old 10-02-15, 03:15 PM
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Thanks guys.

I have soaked the entire shower head in vinegar, a couple times at least. Never made a difference.

As for pressure vs volume, fairly certain it's a loss in pressure. I normally aim the shower head at the side walls and back of tub to rinse them off prior to getting out of the shower. In its current state, the stream of water from the shower head doesn't reach halfway back the shower walls, where as at full pressure, I can rinse the back wall if I wanted to. It's a very noticeable difference in pressure. Takes five times as long to rinse shampoo from your hair.

I'll remove the shower head entirely and run water through the open pipe for awhile, and again soak the shower head just to be certain of no clogs.

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