The National Energy Actsuggests that the water flow rate from shower heads should not exceed 2.5 gallons per minute and this lets most shower head manufacturers include flow restrictors by default. Flow restrictors are common in most shower heads and they regulate the water flow through the shower head. This can cut down your utility bills, save energy and money. However, the low flow rate of water can be annoying at times when you expect to have a relaxing bath. The situation gets worsened in areas of low water pressure. Also, mineral buildup can hinder the flow of water through the flow restrictor. Though not a recommended activity, you can still get the flow restrictor removed and it is a matter of personal choice.
This article deals with how we can remove flow restrictors from some of the common shower heads.
What are Flow Restrictors?
Flow restrictors reduce the water flow in a shower head to the rate of 2.5 gallons per minute, thereby reducing water wastage. This will let you save water as well as energy bills. Usually made of plastic, they have a flat, disk shape with many tiny perforations that convert the water stream into much smaller stream of water. It acts somewhat like a filter.
Should You Remove Flow Restrictor from Shower Heads?
The US State regulations suggest the flow restrictor to be an integral part of shower heads. With the flow restrictor being installed, the shower heads will have the most efficient operation. The straightforward answer to the question as to whether you can remove flow restrictor from a shower head is a yes. Though not a recommended course of action, still you can get them removed at the expense of your utility bills. The procedure involved in the removal of flow restrictor is pretty straightforward. You require minimum tools and effort to do the same. With proper care, you will get the flow restrictor removed in no time.
Now let us see what all situations can lead one to get the flow restrictor removed. How at times it becomes a nightmare to have one installed in your shower head? In areas of low water pressure, the inclusion of flow restrictors may make water trickle through the shower. This makes it impossible to properly rinse the body. Things can get annoying, letting you to think of removing the flow restrictor from your shower head. Though not a recommended activity, you can still have the flow restrictor removed.
Another reason for low water flow through the shower head is due to the clogging of flow restrictor due to mineral deposits. In such cases, you may need to remove the flow restrictor, get it cleaned and reinstall it back into the shower head.
Both these situations may make you think of getting the flow restrictor removed from the shower head. It is not a recommended activity. But you can have it removed as a matter of personal choice. We have listed the advantages and disadvantages of flow restrictors in shower heads which will let you decide whether to have the flow restrictor get removed or not.
|Advantages of using Flow Restrictor in Shower Heads|
|Flow Restrictors regulate the amount of water used while taking a shower|
|Flow Restrictors save water|
|Flow Restrictors save electricity by reducing the hot water use. This also saves the costs associated with heating the water|
|Flow Restrictors will let you save on utility bills|
|Flow Restrictors are affordable|
|Flow Restrictors offer an eco-friendly approach.|
|Disadvantages of using Flow Restrictor in Shower Heads|
|Flow Restrictors may lead to insufficient flow of water through the shower head, which may make it impossible to properly clean the body.|
|Flow Restrictors may lead to a time lag which can be annoying especially if you are in a hurry|
|Flow Restrictors will let water be combined with surrounding air, increasing the chances of water getting cool easily|
How to remove flow restrictors from shower heads?
Now we have seen what a flow restrictor is and if you can remove a flow restrictor from a shower head. If you intend to remove one, we can help you with the same. We have explained how to remove the flow restrictor from some of the common types of shower heads in some simple steps. Before carrying out the actual task, you need to gather the right tools and take the necessary safety precautions which can ease out the removal procedure. You need to follow the instructions carefully so as to save time and achieve the best results.
Gather the right tools so as to ease up the removal procedure. Having these tools within safe reach will let you complete the work in no time. You may need the following tools:
- An adjustable wrench
- A cloth or rag
- Needle nose pliers
- A Teflon tape/ plumbers tape
- Flat head screwdriver
Precautions to be taken before removing flow restrictors from shower heads
After collecting the right tools, you need to take necessary safety precautions which ensure that you need not end up with a mess later on. Let us see what all precautions you need to take before starting your work.
- Turn off all the bathroom fixtures that supply water to the bathroom. Turning off the main supply that you do not can be a better way to ensure that you do not end up with a mess later on.
- Handle the parts of the shower head with care. Parts like O ring can get damaged easily. Be careful with the small parts involved in the removal process. Keep them safe as parts if lost can make the reinstallation procedure difficult.
- If needed, you can seek help from someone so that the person can keep an eye on you and ensure your safety. He/ she can also act as a helping hand to pass on the tools and other removed parts.
Removing Flow Restrictor from Shower Heads
Now as we have the right tools and we have taken the necessary safety precautions, we can get to start with our actual work which is removing the flow restrictor from showerhead. There are many different types of shower heads available in the market and there can be slight variations in the removal procedure. You can proceed further to have a detailed idea about the procedure of getting the flow restrictor removed in case of some of the common types of shower heads.
Removing Flow Restrictor from a Handheld Shower Head
Hand held shower heads are quite common. In order to remove flow restrictor from a handheld shower head, you need to follow the below mentioned steps.
Step 1: Finding the location of the flow restrictor
The manufacturer’s manual will give you the proper guidance regarding the same. In most handheld shower heads, the water flow restrictor will be found in any one of the following locations:
- shower head handle edge
- behind the shower head, or
- inside the bottom or the top end of the hose
If you do not have the manual with you, then you can also check these three locations to locate the flow restrictor in your particular model of shower head.
Step 2: Removing the Flow Restrictor from the Shower Head
If you locate the flow restrictor at the edge of the shower head handle, then
- You need to protect the connector nut with a clean rag and rotate the showerhead counterclockwise which will let you remove the shower head handle from the tube.
- Now you look for the shower screen and the O ring, which if present at the edge of the shower head handle needs to be removed using needle-nose plier.
- Once they are removed, you will get to see the flow restrictor, which need to be twisted and pulled out using needle-nose plier or screw driver.
If the flow restrictor is located behind the shower head, then
- You need to protect the connector nut using a piece of cloth or rag and rotate in the counterclockwise direction to remove the showerhead from the showerhead handle.
- Remove the shower screen and O ring if present, using needle-nose pliers.
- Now you can twist and remove the flow restrictor with the help of a screw driver or needle-nose plier.
If the flow restrictor is inside bottom end or the top end of the hose, then
- You can start off by detaching the hose from the base of the handheld showerhead. For this, you need to rotate in the counterclockwise direction. Now you can look for the water flow restrictor at the top or bottom of the hose. You can use a needle-nose plier or screw driver to remove the same.
Step 3: Reassembling the Shower Head
Once the flow restrictor is removed, you can carry on with the reassembling procedure. For this, you need to return the O ring first and then the shower screen to their original positions on the fixture. Now you need to reattach the shower head. If the shower head seems dirty, you can clean it using diluted vinegar solution. Also, remove the old plumbers tape and replace it with a new plumber’s tape after cleaning the shower threads with damp cloth. Lastly, you can reattach the showerhead.
Removing the Flow Restrictor from a Delta Shower Head
Delta shower heads are quite popular in the market and they have included flow restrictors in their shower heads since 1995 as part of the regulations put forward by the National Energy Act. Follow the below mentioned steps to remove the flow restrictor from Delta Shower Heads.
Step 1: Removing the shower head
You need to start off by protecting the connector nut by wrapping it with a clean rag so as to prevent any damage. Now firmly hold the connector nut over the wrapped rag using an adjustable wrench and unscrew the showerhead.
Step 2: Removing the Flow Restrictor
At first, you need to remove the washer from the fixture’s threaded coupler using a needle nose plier. Once the washer is removed, this will reveal the flow restrictor which can be pulled out of the fixture with the help of needle-nose pliers.
Step 3: Reassembling the Shower head
Once the flow restrictor is removed, you can start to reassemble the shower head. Return the washer on to its original position on the coupler. Now secure it by pressing it with your thumb. Now you can place and secure the connector by tightening it with the help of an adjustable wrench.
Removing Flow Restrictor from Embedded Shower Heads
In case of embedded shower heads, you can remove the flow restrictor from the shower head by following these steps.
Step 1: Removing the Shower Head
You need to protect the shower arm and connector nut from any damage by covering them with a clean rag. Now you can hold the shower arm firmly with the help of a pipe wrench and loosen the connector nut so as to remove the shower head from the shower arm. For this, you may need an adjustable wrench.
Step 2: Removing the Flow Restrictor
Firstly, you need to remove the washer and the shower screen one by one with the help of needle nose pliers. Then you can remove the flow restrictor using a flat head screwdriver or needle-nose plier.
Step 3: Reassembling the Showerhead
After removing the flow restrictor, you need to reassemble the shower head. Firstly, return the shower screen back to its original position. Next up you need to fix the washer and secure it by pressing it with your fingers. Now remove the old plumber’s tape from the shower arm threads and replace it with the new plumber’s tape by wrapping it in clockwise direction for a tight seal. You can reattach the shower head after cleaning it. Tighten and secure the connector nut.
Removing Flow Restrictor from a Moen Shower Head
Another common type of shower head is the Moen shower head. You can get the flow restrictor removed from them for improving the water flow from the shower head.
Step 1: Removing the Shower Head
Protect the arm by wrapping it with a clean rag. Hold it firmly with an adjustable wrench and loosen the connector till the shower head is removed.
Step 2: Removing the Flow Restrictor
Now look for the shower screen and then the O ring gasket inside the shower head. Get these components removed by making of needle-nose pliers. Now you will get to see the plastic flow restrictor somewhere around the neck of the shower head. Remove the flow restrictor gently with the help of a needle nose plier or a flat head screw driver.
Step 3: Reassembling the Parts
After removing the flow restrictor, you need to reassemble the parts. Return the O ring and the shower screen back to its original position. You need to secure them properly. Now before reattaching the shower head clean it off any dirt. Also, remove the old plumber’s tape from the shower head and wrap around a new plumber’s tape in the clockwise direction. You can fix back the Moen shower head by rotating it with your hands. By keeping a piece of rag over the shower arm, tighten the connector nut using an adjustable wrench.
Removing Flow Restrictor from a Waterpik Shower Head
You can easily remove the flow restrictor from a Waterpik Shower head by following the below mentioned steps.
Step 1: Removing the shower head
Cover the Waterpik shower head by wrapping around it with a piece of rag and unscrew it from the pipe that extends from the wall.
Step 2: Removing the flow restrictor
Remove the portion connecting to the plumbing sticking out of the wall; the flow restrictor is housed inside this. You may have to remove the rubber washer and shower screen to have access to the flow restrictor. You can use a needle-nose plier to remove the flow restrictor.
Step 3: Reassembling the parts
After removing the flow restrictor, you need to reassemble the parts. Return the rubber washer and the shower screen to their original position. You need to replace the old plumber’s tape with a new one. Finally, cover the shower head with a rag and reattach the showerhead back to the shower arm.
Removing Flow Restrictor Is Not A Big Deal
It is clear that removing flow restrictor from the shower head is not a big deal. With minor variations, the procedure is however, quite similar in case of most shower heads. The manufacturer’s manual will give you an idea about the location of the flow restrictor. Based on the manufacturer’s manual instructions, you can get the flow restrictor removed in no time. Though not a recommended activity, getting the flow restrictor removed or not removed is a matter of personal choice. You can have it removed for improving the water flow or else to get it cleaned and replace it back.