A hot shower to get the day started or to wind down at night is one of life’s small luxuries. When your shower experiences a problem, figuring out the cause can be stressful.
Some common shower problems are easily fixable. Others require professional expertise. Neglecting shower maintenance now can result in large repair costs in the future.
When you have a plumbing problem, you need Pacifica’s plumbing repair experts. Works Plumbing is available 24/7 to handle all your plumbing emergencies. Learn more about common shower problems and figure out how to handle them.
1. Drainage Issues
One of the most common reasons for a slow or clogged drain is a blockage caused by a combination of hair and shower products. When you rinse shampoo and conditioner off your hair, it goes down the drain, where it encounters loose hair and quickly forms a blockage.
If you have a small clog where water drains, but very slowly, you may be able to clear it yourself.
To clear a superficial clog, first use gloved hands to remove any debris from your drain. Next, put baking soda into your drain, followed by a cup of white vinegar. The chemical reaction is typically enough to loosen superficial clogs. Wait a few minutes and flush the drain with hot water.
If you follow the steps listed above and your drainage does not improve, you could have a more serious clog. Chemicals don’t work on large clogs or clogs located deep within your plumbing system. A professional plumber has the tools to locate and remove clogs no matter how deep they are.
2. Dripping Fixtures
Over time, your faucet or showerhead may develop a slow drip. The unending rhythm of a dripping faucet is maddening. It is also costly if left unrepaired. Over time, a dripping faucet can cost you hundreds of dollars in wasted water.
Stopping a drip can be an easy fix if you know your way around a hardware store. It could be as simple as replacing the rubber washer inside the hot or cold handle. Before you visit the store, figure out if the drip comes from the hot or cold side and what kind of shower valve you need.
If you notice dents or scratches on the dripping fixture, it may have become damaged to the point of no return. It’s normal for fixtures to wear out with regular use. In this case, you may just need to replace the damaged shower head or other leaking part.
A leak may occur someplace other than the showerhead or faucet. If you notice wet shower walls or floor, but you didn’t use the shower that day, there could be a more serious leak.
Inspect the tile on the walls and floor of your shower for cracking or damaged caulk and grout. Showers sustain a lot of damage due to regular water exposure and eventually begin to crack and chip. If left unrepaired, water can seep into the walls and your subflooring, causing extensive damage.
3. Poor Water Pressure
You know exactly how your shower feels when you get in and will notice any change in water pressure. If you notice decreased water pressure, you may have hard water.
Hard water has an abundance of mineral deposits, such as calcium, iron, and limescale. These minerals gradually build in your appliances. When you notice low water pressure in your shower, you need to clean your showerhead.
To remove hard water deposits, first unscrew your showerhead. Place it in a bag with enough vinegar to cover the entire area where water comes out. Let it soak for at least one hour. If your showerhead is extra clogged, scrub it with a small brush and some dish soap.
Once you finish the cleaning process, reattach your showerhead. Water should flow easily from the entire area.
If you have problems with hard water, consider installing a water softener, which will remove deposits from your water supply before they cause extensive damage to your plumbing system.
4. Noisy Pipes
Squealing and rattling from your pipes ruins the relaxing nature of a hot shower. These sounds could be caused by a few things.
Pressure in Your Water Heater
There could be high pressure in your hot water heater. High pressure can be a dangerous situation if left untreated. If you think there is too much pressure in your hot water heater, contact a professional plumber to schedule service.
If you hear rattling while taking a shower, locate the water pipes and check for any that are loose. Secure the pipe to stop the rattling.
Loose pipes can cause your shower to make other noises, too. Any squealing or vibrating may just be a loose pipe. Check all brackets for loose screws. Tighten them, or buy new hardware to secure loose pipes if the current hardware shows signs of wear.
Air in Your Plumbing
If high pressure or a loose pipe is not the cause of the noise, you may have air in your plumbing. If this is the case, it is fixable in a few steps.
First, turn off your main water valve. Then, determine which faucet is the furthest away from it. If your home has more than one floor, start with the highest point.
Once you find the right faucet, turn on the hot and cold water. Do the same for each sink and shower in your home, from furthest away to closest to the water main.
Leave the faucets on until no leftover water drips out. Then, turn each one back off, starting with the one closest to the water main and working backward to the one the furthest away. Once you turn off all faucets, open the main water valve again.
If air bubbles are the cause of the noise, this process should remedy the problem. If the noise continues, look for another cause.
5. Musty Odor
It’s not pleasant to encounter musty smells in your shower. Bathrooms are warm, humid rooms, and they create the perfect environment for mold growth. Mold is one of the most common shower problems and can be detected by a musty odor.
Survey your bathroom for signs of mold. It can appear as dark spots or patches. Follow your nose to locate the source of the odor.
If you find mold, use safety precautions such as gloves and a mask and treat the area with mold-killing spray. Thoroughly clean the entire bathroom, checking for excess moisture and signs of further mold.
When you finish cleaning, follow your nose again. If the unpleasant smell is gone, you successfully eradicated the mold. After you shower each day, run the exhaust fan in the bathroom for at least 30 minutes to remove excess moisture from the air and prevent mold regrowth.
If you still smell a musty odor but don’t see any mold, it could lurk within the walls. A leaky pipe that goes undetected can cause mold infestation or structural damage. Mold within the walls can require a very expensive mold remediation process if undetected.
Don’t guess when it comes to the presence of mold. What starts as a small problem can quickly get out of hand. A professional plumber has the tools to identify moisture within the walls of your home.
6. Insufficient Hot Water
Standing outside the shower for several minutes waiting for hot water is wasteful and indicates an underlying problem. When you’re in the middle of a hot shower, the last thing you want to experience is the end of the hot water supply.
You should have plenty of water for your shower from start to finish. If you experience a lot of ups and downs with your hot water supply, the problem is likely not within your shower itself but within the plumbing.
If your shower is far away from your hot water heater, it could take a long time for hot water to travel to your bathroom. Turning on the sink faucet may help hot water arrive faster.
When you get a sudden jolt of cold water in the middle of your shower, someone may have flushed a toilet elsewhere in the house.
Both of these inconsistencies indicate an inefficient water heater.
Older model water heaters are inefficient and will leave you freezing in the middle of shampooing your hair. If you consistently do not have enough hot water when showering, it may be time to invest in a newer, energy-efficient water heater. Energy-efficient water heaters use less energy to create an abundance of hot water, helping the environment and saving you money.
Professional Plumbers in the Bay Area
Even if you don’t know the reason for your shower problems, you deserve to have a hot, refreshing shower with no rattling pipes or musty smell. Doing your own plumbing work can end up causing bigger problems in the long run, so consider working with a professional.
For help with common shower problems and for expert shower repair, call 650-414-7261. Works Plumbing in Pacifica, CA, has a team of dedicated professionals available 24/7 to diagnose and remedy any plumbing emergencies.