If you've ever lived in an apartment building before, you likely have experience with low water pressure in the shower.
But just because this is a common issue in most apartment buildings, that doesn't mean there's nothing you can do to increase water pressure in your shower.
Get High Water Pressure Without Being A Professional Plumber
There's a chance that you could increase the water pressure of your shower on your own using a DIY solution, or you may have to contact the property owner of your apartment building - or building management - to see about fixing parts of the plumbing system or getting a qualified plumber in to check things out.
Try starting with the less drastic options first to see if you can get high pressure in your apartment unit before you turn to contacting a professional plumber or your municipal water supply provider.
1. Clean Your Shower Head
Before you try any other solutions, if you're dealing with low shower pressure in your apartment's shower, it might just need to be cleaned.
Mineral deposits may have built up over time and clogged your shower head, blocking water flow to reduce water pressure overall.
If that's the case, you can soak it in vinegar to try to get better pressure in your shower.
Here's a quick video from Lowe's that shows how to clean your shower head with things you likely already have in your house.
2. Try an Amplifying Shower Head
Installing an amplifying shower head is the first thing many people choose to do when they move into an apartment building with low pressure.
These shower heads work by speeding up the rate water flows through the head, to deliver water faster, increasing the pressure as a result.
These are a great option for individuals who live in apartment buildings with a low flow showerhead pre-installed, as well as people who live in areas with water use restrictions, and they often come with adjustable spray settings as an added bonus.
Here's a good option we found on Amazon that comes in matte black, chrome, and brush nickel.
3. Adjust the Pressure Regulator
You should ask property managers or owners to inspect pressure reducing valves, which keeps the water pressure at a low level to reduce risk of damage as water reaches your apartment's plumbing fixtures.
The pressure regulator can be found at the connection point to your local supply lines which bring water from the municipal water supply pipes.
Make sure all the apartments in the building are not using water, then once the valve has been identified, you can loosen the locknut using pliers or a wrench and then tighten the screw by turning it clockwise to get adequate water pressure.
Be careful doing this process, however, and only tighten the screw a little at a time, checking the water pressure with each adjustment so as to not overdo it.
How Can You Do a Water Pressure Test?
You can use a water pressure gauge to check the water pressure of your apartment building, which you can do at an outdoor spigot or otherwise a washing machine's water supply faucet.
If your gauge doesn't show increased water pressure, it's possible that you might have water leaks or leaky plumbing pipes that require attention from a professional.
At the very least, you might need a replacement valve, which might not require a replacement of your building's plumbing system but could still drastically improve low water pressure issues, so this it is definitely worth checking the water pressure in your apartment building.
4. Ask About a Booster Pump
Booster pumps are commonly used in high rise buildings, along with a water storage tank to increase water flow and improve water pressure in upper floors when the pre-existing municipal system is insufficient for current occupancy.
Tall apartment buildings may also be equipped with a rooftop tank, which should theoretically help your apartment's water pressure if you're on an upper floor.
Of course, the existence of a rooftop tank doesn't guarantee high pressure, because there could be issues with these tanks as well including clogs and maintenance inconveniences.
Here's a video that shows how water booster pumps work.
5. Change Your Shower Schedule
If you always experience low pressure at the same time of day, you might want to change the time of day at which you shower; avoid peak shower times when everyone in the building is trying to get a shower in, if possible.
What Causes Low Water Pressure?
Apartment water pressure may be reduced by any number of culprits aside from the simple factor of high demand.
Unfortunately, you may not always be able to tell what the exact problem is without the help of an experienced plumber.
If you're starting to look into your low water pressure issues, be prepared to encounter the following possible answers.
Clogged pipes can prevent water supply lines from allowing water to flow freely for adequate water pressure. A bad odor and debris coming out of your plumbing fixtures are other indicators of clogged pipes.
You may be able to fix this issue on your own, but renters should try to call in a professional if they can, or contact building management.
Old and inadequate pipes undergo corrosion over time, which reduces the inner diameter of the pipe - meaning less water can pass through at the same time, reducing the pressure.
Corroded pipes can also build up debris which could not only decrease pressure, but also contaminant water.
Galvanized Steel Pipes
A plumbing system with galvanized pipes is particularly susceptible to corrosion which can restrict the water lines and cause low pressure in apartment buildings but these can be replaced by modern pipes made from PVC material.
Frozen water can also create an obstruction in your pipes, restricting the amount of water that your fixtures put out.
A Partially Closed Water Meter Valve
You may have to contact your water supply company or municipal government agency to have somebody come out and check on the water meter valve to make sure it is fully open and able to allow the maximum amount of water to flow.
Sediment Build Up
Sediment can build up in your hot water heater or in your building's water filter or plumbing pipes.
If you notice reduced pressure when using hot water, it could be time to clean or replace your heater. If the issue is consistent regardless of water temperature, it might be your water filter or pipes that need to be cleaned or swapped out.
A flow restrictor is required to cap pressure at 80 psi in order to comply with regulations, however you can take steps to remove or modify the flow restrictor of your shower in order to increase water pressure.
Problems With The Municipal Water Supply
If you've looked into all of the other potential issues and still haven't figured out what's causing your water pressure to be so low, it might be time to consider larger issues with the plumbing system and water pipes for your area. Old pipes, in particular, may be responsible for a lack of pressure.
Why Is My Refrigerator's Water Pressure So Low?
This could be caused by a few different things, including ice clogs in the water pipes and dirty water filters that are now allowing water to flow correctly. Try putting in a new filter, and give defrosting a shot if that doesn't work.
Consequences of Increased Water Pressure?
The only down side is that your water usage will probably go up.
What Does PSI Mean?
PSI stands for pounds per square inch, which is how water pressure is measured. Between 30 and 50 psi is standard for most homes and apartments, but the optimal range is generally considered to be between 60 and 70 psi.
How Can I Tell If My Water Pressure Is Good Without Using a Gauge or Calling a Plumber?
You can do a visual check on your water pressure by looking for thin streams of water when you run your tap; if the stream of water is thin, that indicates high pressure because the diameter of the water flow is reduced as pressure increases.
What Does It Mean If I Have Wet Spots on My Walls or Ceiling?
A combination of low water pressure and spots that look wet could indicate leaky pipes, and it is recommended that you call in a professional to evaluate whether you might have a situation that requires urgent attention before major damage occurs or
You don't have to move to apartments on lower floors or buildings with less demand on the water lines just so you can finally get a powerful shower.
There are plenty of low-key solutions you can try first before you resort to getting someone with authority involved in changing out plumbing pipes as well.
However, if you are dealing with old pipes in the plumbing system as the cause of your low water pressure issues, you will likely need the help of a qualified professional.
Don't be daunted by the prospect of involving a professional, though; low water pressure is an issue that most experienced plumbers have dealt with before.