Moen is one of the top names in faucet technology today, known for sleek, classy designs that incorporate the top technology into a classic style that fits anywhere. Moen offers a broad number of showerheads, from simple affordable designs to luxury models featuring a number of settings and flows. Normally, these showerheads can be installed in any existing shower to improve the number of options, but in cases where the water pressure is low, this kind of showerhead can end up cutting water flow. In these situations, you may wish to remove the flow restrictor in the showerhead.
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Why a Flow Restrictor?
Since 2005, showerheads have been required to include a water restrictor in their design. This requirement, which was introduced by the Environmental Protection Agency, limits the water flow from the showerhead to less than 2.5 gallons per minute. This conserves water usage overall because showers can be a significant portion of a household's water usage.
These limiters normally should not be removed, but in cases where the source water pressure is low, they might reduce pressure even further in the shower, meaning the normal water flow slows down to a trickle. If you're seeing this in your shower, you can try removing the flow restrictor for a while to see whether that fixes the water pressure issue.
Getting Started With the Repair
To remove the water restrictor in your Moen showerhead, you'll need the following tools: an adjustable wrench or two, depending on your shower setup, needle-nose pliers, plumber's tape and some rags to absorb water that might drain out of the lines.
You don't necessarily have to turn off the water supply to the bathroom since you shouldn't be opening the main line, but you may want to nonetheless to prevent unexpected spray if something is nudged or bumped. Be sure to alert other family members about your project to avoid them turning the water back on.
Remove your Moen showerhead by finding the place where the showerhead connects to the water source. Wrap a rag or towel around the nut to protect the surface and then carefully loosen it with the wrench until the showerhead is removed from the shower arm. Make sure any other hoses and connections are also removed.
Removing the Flow Restrictor
With a Moen showerhead, the first thing you'll see inside the connection of the showerhead should be a rubber O-ring or gasket. You'll want to try to loosen this with your fingers first because pliers can damage the O-ring, which would mean it needs to be replaced. Behind this rubber O-ring gasket may be a screen or filter. Once you've removed the gasket, pull out the filter or screen using your fingers or needle-nose pliers.
The flow restrictor will be the plastic piece sitting beneath this setup, and it will look like a small plastic piece with a number of small perforations in it. Use the pliers to pry it out of the line. Be gentle so that you don't damage the threads or other portions of the faucet. Once the flow restrictor has been removed, reassemble any filter or screen and the rubber gasket and then reattach the showerhead to the shower arm.
You'll want to turn on the water slowly and check to see whether the flow has improved. If it has, then put everything back to its initial state. If not, you may need to consider the water pressure to the house and whether it can be increased.