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I live in Seattle. I don't know anything about plumbing but after a problem on the ground floor, over two days all pipes in my apartment and one below were changed. I didn't want them changed but they said they hadn't been changed for many years and this had to be done. Then we both got new showers, which work differently from old ones. Mine used to have separate hot water and cold water knobs but apparently the management is installing new showers in all their 10+ buildings, and these ones are like one knob for both hot and cold water and also a wider shower head which spreads the water out way more than my last one.

I feel like the water pressure is lower and told the manager and he said he had not heard from anybody but would send the plumbers. A guy came and took a look for 20 seconds and said it's normal.

I'm perplexed because whenever I shower I definitely feel a change. It's not just the shower head, which obviously does not direct the water the same way. When I soak in the tub, letting it fill, it takes longer too.

My questions:

  1. Could a new shower lower pressure? Like having one knob vs two? Because when I used to turn both knobs to the max, that seemed to produce more pressure than pulling out this one knob to the max.

  2. Could new pipes, due to diameter or build quality affect pressure?

Thank you so much.

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  • Many shower heads have an adjustment for a wider or narrower stream. Does your head have such an adjustment? Oct 19 '20 at 0:19
  • HI Jim, unfortunately I don't see one, it's a very basic shower head.
    – Rottex
    Oct 19 '20 at 0:49
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    Obligatory Seinfeld out-take. Oct 19 '20 at 14:40
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It's quite likely that one shower fixture might well deliver less water (gallons per minute) than another one. This change might save your landlords a good deal of money over a number of buildings, especially if they are paying for the water heating.

Since you are in a rental, and you have a shower that works, whether or not it works exactly as it used to, your option is to move when your lease is up, or not. You are not describing a "problem" you could reasonably expect to break a lease over, or have your landlords change.

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    The new shower heads all have flow restrictors in them.+1
    – JACK
    Oct 18 '20 at 22:50
  • Thank you very much. Are there shower heads that do not have restrictions? I have pain conditions and sort of being using the higher pressure shower as a way to massage various body parts.
    – Rottex
    Oct 18 '20 at 23:56
  • It would help us to advise you if you would take a picture of the "control wall" of your shower showing the shower head and controls. Do you have a hand-held shower head which can be directed to specific body parts? You could ask the apartment management if you could purchase a shower head that meets your specific special medical needs and they could install it or let you do so. Changing a shower head is very easy for someone who knows what they are doing. The existing head could be reinstalled when you leave. Oct 19 '20 at 0:15
  • Thanks Jim, I will ask them. And no, I don't have a hand-held shower head. Would have been handy for sure.
    – Rottex
    Oct 19 '20 at 0:50
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Older shower heads and the pipes that fed them generally allowed a higher flow rate than is now considered standard. The formerly standard double handle mixing valves allowed more control by the user, and allowed a user to take very hot showers at a high flow rate. The result was widespread moderate skin damage and occasional incidents of 2nd deg and even 3rd deg burns.

A recent example of injury from a too hot shower was the severe injury to Texas Governor Greg Abbott at a lodge in one of the western states. Gov Abbott was severely injured and I believe required skin grafts. Greg Abbott is paralyzed from a spinal cord injury, and could not feel that the water on his legs was scalding him, but in the past there other cases of scald injury.

Another reason for the new standards is to reduce consumption of potable water and the energy required to heat water.

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  • thank you very much for your answer, it helps to know.
    – Rottex
    Oct 18 '20 at 23:56
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If you can not get a decent shower with the shower head that is installed I would recommend that you purchase a Delta 52650-PK. I tried this shower head and I liked it so well that I purchased 2 more for all 3 showers in my house. My wife loves it too so you know the old saying "a happy wife = a happy life". I checked on Home Depot this morning and they sell them for $15.11 and will deliver them to a home depot near you with free pick-up. Try it, you will be satisfied. Let us know how you fix this problem.

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  • Swapping the shower head may help. They're easy to change and your apartment management might even agree to let their maintenance personnel do it for you. Oct 20 '20 at 16:06

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