Seemingly complicated plumbing issues can sometimes have simple solutions. If no water is coming out from a specific point in your home – like your shower – it can take a while to determine the root cause.
However, if you know where to check first, you can often resolve the problem with your own resources.
If no water is coming out of your showerhead but your sinks are fine, you should verify that the showerhead itself is not clogged and that the shower valve is in order. You must also inspect any appliances connected to your plumbing, such as your water heater and purifier, if you have any.
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Check Your Shower Valve
Your shower valve should be the first place you check. If the internal cartridge is broken, this will prevent water from flowing through, but the issue will not be obvious from the outside.
Most shower valves are easy to replace without any plumbing expertise, so this is an easy fix if that’s the cause. This includes cases where you just need to swap out the shower cartridge.
You can find most replacement cartridges online on Amazon, such as this one meant for Moen showerheads.
Verify Your Water Heater is Working Correctly
Turning off your heater will result in a loss of pressure in the hot pipes. If your shower valves are pressure-balanced, this might cause cold water to stop running as well, as the valves will equalize the pressure on the cold side.
This might not be intentional. If your heater stops working because it’s broken, for example, you might lose pressure in your shower until you repair the damage.
This can also happen for simple reasons, like loss of power. If your heater is on a separate power circuit, you might not notice that it’s not working for some time.
Check If the Showerhead is Clogged
An obvious fix, but one that many people forget about. If your showerhead starts dripping and/or leaking when you try to turn on the water, this might indicate that it’s clogged.
However, you might not always notice these signs. Sometimes the clog will be large enough to completely block water from flowing out of the showerhead.
You can easily check if that’s the cause by removing your shower head and turning on the water. Replacing an old showerhead is a cheap and simple fix that most people can do on their own. Even high-pressure rain showerheads like this are quite affordable these days.
Look for Frozen Pipes
If the weather is cold, frozen pipes could cause water flow problems in specific areas of the household. If you have access to your pipes, check to see if anything has frozen.
Make sure to check both the cold and hot water pipes. It might sound counterintuitive, but frozen cold water pipes can also prevent hot water from flowing correctly. This is especially true in homes with pressure-balanced plumbing, as I already described above.
Frozen pipes are not always straightforward to fix. You have to verify that no cracks have formed after the pipes have dethawed. Ideally, you should have a professional examine your situation once you’ve managed to unfreeze your pipes.
Check Your Water Purifier
Many modern homes utilize a water purifier integrated into their main plumbing system to remove contaminants from the water supply. This is sometimes done for the whole household, not just individual access points like faucets for drinking water.
As a result, your shower water might also be running through your purification unit. If your purifier has stopped working, it may cause a blockage in your plumbing. Some models utilize pumps to move water through the purifier, so a malfunctioning device will lead to issues.
If your water purifier is hooked to your plumbing with bypass valves, you can use those as a temporary workaround until you can get the purifier fixed.
Examine for Leaks
It’s not always easy to check your entire plumbing for leaks, especially in a larger house. But if you’ve done all of the above and didn’t find anything suspicious, it’s the only option you have left before calling in a professional.
Having a rough idea of the layout of your plumbing is going to be helpful here. It will allow you to narrow down your search to the most likely culprits. Pay attention to sections that have not been maintained and/or replaced in a while.
Unfortunately, this is not a problem you can fix yourself in most cases. The best thing you can do if you’ve discovered a leak is to turn off your water supply and call a plumber. If you’re lucky, you might be able to only shut off your water partially, without affecting the entire household.
If your shower isn’t working, but the sinks and the rest of your home’s plumbing seems fine, there are several likely causes. Check your shower valve, showerhead, and any plumbing appliances you’re using.
If the problem turns out to be a leak, don’t delay calling a plumber. Otherwise, getting the issue fixed might end up even more expensive.