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bypassing shower flow restrictor [sp?]

willemjk's picture

I am in the process of remodeling the bathrooms. I hate the idea of having to forego the old faucets and showers which deliver a 100 gallons a minute for the newer type that are flow restricted.

How can I overcome this problem? Any ideas?

Can the newer showers and faucets be modified by removing the flow restrictor ?

Are there brands of faucets that permit this [ not in a legal sense but rather a practical sense]?

Can they be ordered from Canada or any other foreign source ?

Any ideas ?

No lecture please. I also understand that the warranty would most likely be voided. We are supplied with an abundance of water in Indiana.



(post #65267, reply #1 of 11)

On some units the restrictor is supposedly just a disk you can punch out relatively easily.

But keep in mind that the better shower heads are "tuned" to the flow and won't function as well if you remove the restrictor.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #65267, reply #2 of 11)

Thanks for your response. But what do you mean by "tuned"


(post #65267, reply #3 of 11)

Well, the most obvous possibility is that you knock out the restrictor and the setting that originally gave you a good strong spray is now boring holes in your skin. Other situations could occur, especially on pulsing sprayers - no pulsing, pulsing turns to whine, unit actually locks up and less water comes out, etc.

I was under the impression that it was legal to sell non-restricted showerheads in at least some states, supposedly for "special purpose" use. You just can't legally install them. ;)

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #65267, reply #4 of 11)

The restrictor is in the shower head.  It is usually a plastic disk with a hole in it.  I had an installation where the home was at the highest elevation in the town so the water pressure was particularly low.  I drilled the hole out slightly and it improved the flow sufficiently to have a nice shower.  It did not take a hole that much bigger, perhaps a sixteenth of an inch in diameter larger than it was.

Most of the new shower heads are much better than when low flow shower heads first came out.  Not like those ones in the locker room that just produce a fog.

(post #65267, reply #5 of 11)

I've popped a couple out with no ill effects.  The exact placement and proicedure may vary depending on where exactly it's located,  but in my experience it's usually just inside where it threads into the shower neck.

(post #65267, reply #7 of 11)

Thanks for your response. Note my reply to Waynel5 above. Flow may also be controlled by the valve units.


(post #65267, reply #8 of 11)

Gee, that I haven't run into, but it makes "sense" in a stupid, government mandate, nothing better to do with themselves sort of way ;)

(post #65267, reply #6 of 11)

Thanks for your responce Waynel5. There may be a restrictor in the shower head as you suggested but I think there are also flow restrictors in the valve unit. Or at least some.

In the one bathroom that I had  installed a new setup, I removed the shower head completely and found the flow retricted to be the mandated 2.5gpm. Two bathrooms to go and I do not want to duplicate the same problem.


(post #65267, reply #9 of 11)

I've seen some shower heads where the restrictor pops right out -- and you can either drill a larger hole in it, or simply toss it. But I have also seen a few heads where the restrictor was an intregal part of the design, and couldn't be tampered with -- at least not in any way that I could see.

Your speculation about the shower valve is interesting; I wonder if the manufacturers are going in this direction.

******************************************************** "It is what we learn after we think we know it all, that counts." John Wooden 1910-2010

(post #65267, reply #10 of 11)

these guys make the nuts:

i have a 2252 which came with a removeable flow restrictor.  got it about 6 months ago.  someone told me the other day that they bought a Speakman recently that had the flow restrictor cast in to the head.  that would be a first for me.  don't know what model it was

as far as the faucets go, have a look here:

we put these in last year, they even make a high flow model  !


with a price to match.


carpenter in transition

carpenter in transition

(post #65267, reply #11 of 11)

Thanks Tim. The most useful information thus far. I will have to research the web addresses when I have more time.