Flow restrictors or water conservators are designed to limit the water flow through a showerhead. According to the National Energy Act, shower head manufacturers are required to install a water flow limiter. It keeps the water flow within 2.5 gallons per minute so that you don’t have to pay high utility bills.
The flow restrictor is an extraordinary component, but it’s not applicable if you live in a low water pressure region. In low pressure, this component turns the water flow into an irritating drizzle. But, you can enjoy a regular flow after removing this flow restrictor.
However, it increases your water and electricity bills.
Where is the flow restrictor on the shower head?
Generally, a flow restrictor is a flat and circular component made of plastic. It has a star-shaped metal center. You can find the water saver behind the screw-off part in a fixed shower head. Its color varies according to the make and model.
If you have a handheld, the flow restrictor is fitted where it attaches with the flexible hose. If you cannot find the water saver behind the showerhead, it might be inside the top or bottom of the hose. Check the manufacturer’s manual to find the restrictor without any hassles.
How to remove the flow restrictor?
Adjustable wrench, cloth, paper clip, plumber’s tape, needle-nose pliers, and screwdrivers
Removing the flow restrictor from a fixed shower head
Step 1: Detach the showerhead from its arm.
Please take out the showerhead from its arm, which is fitted to the wall. You can do this with your hands or use a wrench. Wrap a small piece of rag or towel around the showerhead and its arm. Place the wrench around the arm and rotate anticlockwise to take it out.
Step 2: Take out the shower screen
Some of the heads comprise an internal mesh screen that removes all the impurities from your bathing water. If you find any such filter in the shower head, remove it. Use a flat head screwdriver to tap the screen at its middle for easy removal. You can also use a needle nose plier for this step.
Step 3: Remove the gasket or O-ring
After removing the screen, you have to take out a rubber gasket. Use an unbent paperclip to remove the O-ring. Be gentle while removing this component. Replacement is the only option if it gets damaged.
Step 4: Detach the flow restrictor.
Do you see the star-shaped metal restrictor now? Place the paper clip over one side of the restrictor and take it out. You have to twist and pry the water saver to take it out.
If the paper clip is unsuccessful, you can use a flat head screwdriver or needle nose plier to remove the restrictor. Check the manufacturer’s manual to make sure you remove all the flow restrictors if there are more than one.
Step 5: Reinsert the shower mesh screen and gasket
Put O-ring back to its place inside the showerhead. Replace this component if it’s damaged. Place the screen back to its dedicated slot.
Clean your showerhead using white vinegar before putting it in the screen and O-ring. Submerge the fixture inside a solution of water and vinegar if you notice any mineral accumulation or limescale. Mix one part of vinegar in four parts of water to create the mixture.
Step 6: Reattach the showerhead.
Remove the old plumber’s tape: Take out the existing tape from your shower head. Then, wipe it using a damp cloth for better results. Afterward, use an old toothbrush to deal with stubborn deposits, especially in between the threads.
Apply new tape: Wrap the shower arm threads with a fresh plumber’s tape. Then, apply it clockwise so that it doesn’t come out when you attach the showerhead. Finally, wrap all the lines using a few layers of tape to ensure an air-tight seal.
Reattach the showerhead: Place your shower head on the arm. Rotate the head clockwise to tighten it. You can use a wrench if required. But, do not forget to cover the showerhead with a small piece of rag before you use a wrench to tighten it. Do not over fasten the head. Once you fit the showerhead, turn on the water supply and check for leaks.
Removing the flow restrictor from a handheld showerhead
Check the manufacturer’s manual to know the exact location of the water saver. Reading the guidelines will save a lot of time as you don’t have to find the restrictor at multiple places.
If the water saver is in the handle: Cover the handle using a towel or cloth and use a wrench to take out your handheld from its hose. Remove all the internal components by following steps 2, 3, and 4 mentioned above.
Clean the handheld if it looks dirty and accumulated with unwanted impurities. Submerge it in a mixture of vinegar and water for around 12 hours. Then, clean the handheld with water, reinsert the screen, gasket, and fit the hose.
If the water saver is in the hose: The steps remain the same if the flow restrictor is fitted inside the pipe. However, you will remove the holder either at the bottom or top of the hose. Use the wrench only after covering the hose or handheld using a cloth. Do not forget to replace the old Teflon’s tape.
A flow restrictor helps you to conserve water. Once fitted inside showerheads, it limits the water flow and pressure.
But, you might not like this component when the water pressure reduces drastically. By following the steps mentioned above, you can not only know where is the flow restrictor on the shower head, but you can also take it out.
Consult an expert if you cannot accomplish this task. Keep in mind that removing the water saver will boost your utility bills. Also, this action might void the showerhead’s warranty.