Few things can feel as dissatisfying as trying to take a shower with low water pressure. This can leave you feeling as though you’re not really rinsed off and at the very least can extend not only the amount of water that you use, but the length of your shower.
There are many reasons why the water pressure in your shower might not be functioning at full capacity. First, it could be an issue with your plumbing or pipes. In other cases, this can happen as a result of buildup in your shower head itself. However, it’s also possible that you simply don’t have a shower head that’s pressurized enough.
Some people intentionally select low-pressure shower heads for their bathrooms, as it can give a more relaxing experience. However, a shower head that’s lower pressure by design is not the same thing as one that’s low pressure because of buildup or blockage, and the same applies to a high-pressure shower head.
Some people simply prefer to take a shower under a high-pressure water flow, as it is soothing, makes the shower faster, and can even make you feel as though you are cleaner than you would be otherwise. Here’s everything you need to know if you want to invest in a high-pressure shower head.
The Benefits Of A High-Pressure Shower Head
There are many benefits to a high-pressure shower head. Some are personal preference, and others have to do with timeliness and efficiency.
Higher pressure means it’s easier to get clean
Simply enough, more water coming forth at rapid rates means that you’re able to clean yourself more quickly and efficiently.
Higher pressure can also exfoliate the skin
For those who enjoy high-pressure water, it can add an exfoliating feature to your normal shower routine.
It can be relaxing
Some people enjoy the sensation of being squeezed or having weight on them (think of the relaxing properties of a weighted blanket, for example) and apply the same concept to a highly pressurized shower. In this case, the torrents of water can force muscles to relax, similar to how a massage jet in a tub would.
The Downsides Of A High-Pressure Shower Head
Of course, with pros come inevitable cons. Here are some of the main issues you should consider as you consider your high-pressure shower head.
Your current shower head may not be the issue
It’s possible that you’re dissatisfied with your current water pressure not because it’s actually underperforming but because it’s clogged or something’s wrong with the plumbing. This suggests a deeper issue, because if there’s something wrong beneath the surface, merely changing the head won’t fix it.
Some find it uncomfortable
Though you might enjoy an intense morning shower, others might find the high-pressure water too intense, especially those who are sensitive, dealing with illness or injury, or small children. In this case, you might want to look into shower heads with adjustable settings or pressures to suit the needs of everyone in the home.
It requires more water to function
Naturally, a high-pressure shower head is going to require significantly more water flow to function. This means that long-term, you might pay more for your water bill, potentially heighten the cost of your municipality’s water as a whole (water is sourced by community averages), and it can be less eco-friendly in the end.
What Is An Acceptably High Shower Pressure?
Experts say that a number of years ago, shower heads delivered roughly five to eight gallons of water per minute. However, the current standard is a shower head that dispenses 2.5 gallons of water each minute, and a low-pressure shower head would deliver about two gallons each minute.
If you’re unsure how your current fixture is functioning, put a one-gallon container beneath the nozzle and put the water on for one minute, timed. If the gallon is filled up completely within about 24 to 32 seconds, your shower head is releasing at low flow. However, if it takes 15 seconds to fill, your rate is about four GPM, and if it takes 10 seconds, your rate is about six GPM.
For a high-pressure shower, you need to make sure that your water flow is still beneath 2.5 gallons per minute in accordance with federal laws. These regulations are in place to ensure that water is not being wasted.
Why Does Water Conservation Matter?
Water conservation is important because though there is an abundance of salt water on the planet, to make it consumable it must go through a rigorous process of filtering and desalination. Therefore, the water that we use in our everyday lives is limited and requires a lot of resources to get to our faucets.
This is why there are some regulations in terms of how much water you can and cannot be using in your shower each day. However, this isn’t an issue you should anticipate dealing with, considering that any high-pressure shower head you purchase off the market should be in accordance with regulations and performing at an acceptable, if not optimal, rate.
Taking your own measurements only becomes necessary if and when you are concerned that your preexisting shower head is not functioning as it should.
You will need to check in on your state or district’s regulations regarding residential water use. This is particularly true if you live in a state or area that is prone to drought, and requires water conservation.
How To Measure Your Water Pressure
To get the most technically efficient measurement of whether or not your water pressure is low, average, or high, you will want to measure the water’s PSI, or pounds per square inch. To do this, you can either use a pressure gauge, which you can buy at most home improvement stores, or you can hire a plumber to come out and test it for you.
Normal water pressure will generally measure between 40 and 60 PSI. However, most homeowners prefer something right in the middle of that, ranging in the 50s. Low water pressure is in the 30s, and high is above 60.
It’s important to measure your water pressure regardless of whether or not you want to change your shower head or gauge the efficiency of your home’s usage. This is because changes in water pressure can signal serious problems with your plumbing, which you’ll want to address sooner rather than later.
If you want to get a rough estimate of how your water pressure is functioning in your shower but don’t have the time or resources to get a pressure gauge or a professional, there’s one other trick you might want to try. Place a one-gallon container beneath the nozzle and put the water on for one minute, timed. If the gallon is filled up completely within about 24-32 seconds, your shower head is releasing at low flow. However, if it takes 15 seconds to fill, your rate is about four GPM, and if it takes 10 seconds, your rate is about six GPM. This would mean that your water pressure is running normally, or high.
How Some Shower Heads Increase Pressure While Retaining Water Use
There is a way to still get that intense showering experience you desire, but not increase your water bill, and still stay as eco-friendly as possible. Brands like Moen and Delta offer shower heads that are actually designed to make you feel as though you are using more water than you are. This is how to determine whether or not a shower head will be pressurized enough for you, particularly if it is not labelled as “high” pressure.
Many people utilize high pressure shower heads to actually increase their water pressure from a low-flow situation. This means that the shower head they desire actually gives them a more normal or average water output. Be this as it is, high pressurization is also available, but you should look at a few key features to determine whether or not it will suit your needs.
Does the shower head have adjustable settings, or a pressure chamber? Looking into the product’s details will help you determine whether or not you can adjust the pressure and output, which is most desirable for those whose showers are used by multiple people..
Wide shower head
Instead of just increasing the pressure, you might want to actually widen the breadth of your shower’s water flow. A narrow shower head might give you the feeling of being low flow, but actually be outputting just fine. A wider shower head, on the other hand, can give you that high pressure feeling without actually using more water.
Water flow rate
You do not need to find a shower head that emits the maximum gallons/minute that’s legally allowed to get the high pressure experience you desire. In fact, you can try instead removing the flow restrictor on a shower head, or adjusting it, if available.
Ultimately, a high quality shower head should give you the exact water pressure you desire. Trusted brands like Moen and Delta offer many different models with speciality features to make your showering experience all that it can be. Sometimes, you might not be looking for a higher shower pressure necessarily, rather, just a more efficient one.