I know I take a good shower for granted. But as one who showers regularly, it’s definitely hard to ignore when a problem comes up. If you’re currently experiencing a problem and wondering why water is not coming out of your shower head properly, it can mean a few things.
Water not coming out of a shower head properly can mean that there’s a clogged shower head, a problem with the shower head attachment to the shower arm, valves are shut off to the main water supply, or a more serious issue with the pipes in a home.
There are a number of ways to diagnose why water is not coming out of your shower head the way it should be, and it really depends on your exact problem. Let’s take a look at specific water and shower head problems and ways you can potentially fix it without necessarily having to call a plumber.
Diagnosing Your Shower Head Issue
Just as a doctor can’t diagnose an illness if they don’t know the symptoms, it’d be very hard to solve your shower head problem without first knowing the details.
As a result, we’ve broken things down into 3 different scenarios that you might be experiencing with your shower head, along with some possible causes and solutions. Let’s get started with scenario #1.
Scenario 1: Shower pressure is too low / No water coming out of shower head
If you find significantly lower shower pressure than you’re used to, barely any water coming out of your shower head, or none at all, here are some of the most common reasons why that might be happening:
Clogged Shower Head
Over time, mineral deposits build up in your shower head, causing it to clog.
To fix this problem, clean your shower head. You can do this with or without vinegar.
Old Shower Head
If cleaning doesn’t fix the problem, it could be that your shower head is old and needs to be replaced. It may be a bit much for those who never think about it, but it is recommended that shower heads be replaced every 6 to 8 months.
To fix this problem, get a new shower head at your local hardware store or online. If this is your first time doing so, be sure to read about these tips for shower head fit.
Faulty Shower Water Diverter Valve
If you have lower shower pressure and see that there’s water coming out of your tub faucet when your shower is on, this is probably the shower diverter valve.
This is the mechanism that directs (or “diverts”) the water running through your tub’s faucet to your shower head.
To fix this problem, replace your shower diverter. Before you do, also check to see if there’s anything in your faucet blocking the diverter or if the washer in your diverter is bent or broken. It could be that you only need to replace that part rather than the whole shower diverter valve.
Sediment Buildup in Water Heater
Now if you find that you only have low shower pressure when using hot water, this could stem from a calcium deposit buildup in your hot water heater.
To fix the problem, get a plumber to flush your hot water heater. Draining the tank should clear it of any buildup of calcium deposits.
Main Water Shut-off Valve Off
Water may not be coming out of the shower head, but if it’s also not coming out of your kitchen sink or anywhere else in your home, it could be that the valve to your main water supply was shut off.
To fix this problem, locate and check the main shut-off valve in your home. If you are not able to locate it, call a plumber to do the job.
Scenario 2: Shower head is dripping water or leaking
This can be really annoying, especially if your shower head is dripping when the faucet’s not on, and you’re trying to sleep. Whatever the problem is, this can cause your water bill to spike, and we don’t want that.
Shower Faucet Valve
A dripping shower head, especially if the water is off, could mean that calcium deposits have worn out some of the seals in your shower faucet valve, not the shower head itself.
To fix this problem, remove your shower faucet and replace with the appropriate parts. You’ll have to turn off your water supply before this venture, and be sure to take the parts with you to the store to make sure you get the right replacements.
Clogged Shower Head
It may sound counterintuitive, but a shower head can leak water when it’s clogged. When the holes of the shower head are clogged with mineral deposits, water flowing through a shower head will find its way through other openings, such as the face plate.
To fix this problem, clean your shower head. It’s possible to clean your shower head with common household items.
Shower Head Not Completely Sealed
Water leaking from the place where your shower head meets your shower arm while the water is running might mean that the shower head is not completely sealed.
To fix the problem, remove your shower head from its shower arm, and wrap Teflon tape clockwise 2-3 times around the shower arm. Your shower head may come with a washer on the end. If it does, check to see if that is worn out and needs to be replaced.
Shower Head Not Compatible With Shower Arm
Compatibility might be the problem if you recently got a new shower head, and it started leaking where the shower head is connected with the shower arm coming out of the tub wall.
While there are standard thread sizes for shower heads, old homes may not adhere to that standard. If you found yourself forcing your shower head onto the arm, it could be that the threads on your shower head is not compatible with the threads on your shower arm.
To fix the problem, replace your shower head with one that properly fits your shower arm. To be sure you have the correct shower head fit, read about it here.
Shower Head Design
Some larger shower heads, especially rainfall shower heads, hold a lot of water. Once running water is shut off, some of it remains in the shower head due to surface tension.
When enough air goes through the holes of the shower head, that water may start dripping, or even pouring if there’s a lot of it.
To fix the problem, tilt your shower head down and tap it after you shower. This should get a lot of water out, but if the dripping still annoys you, consider getting a different shower head.
Scenario 3: Shower water pressure is too high
While most people have the opposite problem, having too high of shower pressure can be painful and can potentially indicate problems within your home’s plumbing.
Shower Head Setting
Many shower heads have multiple settings that can be adjusted to get the spray pattern you want. If you share a bathroom, it could be that someone changed the shower head setting and left it.
To fix the problem, find and adjust the shower head spray setting. Every shower head is designed differently, but there should be a visible knob right on the side of your shower head.
Home Water Pressure
If the water is spraying down hard in not only your shower but elsewhere in the home, this could be your home water pressure.
As a reference, the water pressure in your home should not be above 80 psi (pounds per square inch). Having too high of water pressure could damage your pipes.
To fix it, call a plumber to adjust or replace your water pressure regulator. Water pressure regulators are used to control and lower the water pressure coming into your home.
Can a clogged shower head cause a leak?
A shower head can leak water when the holes of the shower head are clogged with mineral deposits. With nowhere to go, water flowing through a shower head will find its way through other crevices, such as the face plate, causing it to leak.
Why does water come out of the faucet when the shower is on?
Water coming out of both the bathtub faucet and shower head while the shower is running indicates a problem with the shower diverter valve. This could be due to calcium buildup that needs to be cleaned or worn out parts that need to be replaced.