Nobody likes soggy toilet paper
April 14, 2012 1:18 PM   Subscribe

The entire bathroom gets completely soaked from the steam/spray every time I take a shower. What kind of showerhead should I get to prevent this?

Our apartment has its own water heater, which is perhaps why there seems to be a large amount of water coming out of the showerhead with great pressure. This would be awesome, except the whole bathroom, from ceiling to floor, is soaked afterwards. I'm guessing it's because the showerhead puts off so much mist and light spray.

I'd like to buy a new one, but I'm not sure what's best--low-flow sounds good, but some descriptions mention a misty spray. Is that true for most low-flow, or just for aerated showerheads? The other main option that I've found seems to be a raindisk-type head. They look like they might produce a "heavier" stream, but I'm concerned about wasting water.

What are your experiences, and what would you suggest?
posted by Baethan to Home & Garden (16 answers total)
Before replacing the showerhead, what is the layout of your shower like? Your shower curtain should be catching the spray. I've taken showers in hotels where the water pressure would take your skin off, and didn't end up with water everywhere.

Just one idea- you could get an extra-long shower curtain and move the curtain rod nearer the ceiling. If you don't want to mess with an existing curtain rod you could get a tension rod to hold the new curtain.
posted by cabingirl at 1:23 PM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

A showerhead attached to a hose might do the trick.
posted by Longtime Listener at 1:32 PM on April 14, 2012

Steam has to do with temperature. Water pressure can be reduced by not turning the water knob on full on. I would check if the pressure can be adjusted on the water heater. There are valves like that which help reduce the volume. And cabingirl's idea for the shower curtain is spot on.
posted by travelwithcats at 1:44 PM on April 14, 2012

Are you able to open a window in the bathroom during your shower?
posted by hermitosis at 1:56 PM on April 14, 2012

This sounds like steam and not mist. Is the bathroom ventilated? Can you crack a door or even better, window?
posted by DarlingBri at 1:57 PM on April 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I agree with the two posts above. Whenever my roommates take showers, they never turn the fan on before showering or after showering which results in a steamy room with some water on the floor.

However, I don't have this issue because I turn the fan on before showering and leave it on for 30 minutes or so after showering.
posted by livinglearning at 2:11 PM on April 14, 2012

Sounds more like the room needs to be ventilated.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:31 PM on April 14, 2012

My boyfriend is taller than the shower door and there is definitely a fine mist that comes off his head during showers. We have a low flow showerhead, it's just the angle of his hair & the water. The spray definitely ruins book covers, and it doesn't happen when I shower (i'm a lot shorter). If we had a curtain (we have sliding glass doors) i'd try raising it as cabingirl says.
posted by holyrood at 2:53 PM on April 14, 2012

This has nothing to do with the water heater. Does the water pressure seem high everywhere in the apartment (cold and hot) or just in the shower? It could be that the building needs a water pressure regulator, or an existing regulator needs to be adjusted.
posted by jon1270 at 3:17 PM on April 14, 2012

Pretty sure you have a ventilation problem. Google for examples and solutions. Your landlord may have to add a fan, or they might just tell you to live with it because although it's against current building codes, it's not an urgent repair. As far as I know, anyway.

Wait. Do you have a mold problem in the bathroom? If you do, you can report that to your city or county and likely the ventilation will get addressed because that is def a contributing factor.
posted by jbenben at 4:23 PM on April 14, 2012

Drat, I was hoping a new showerhead would be the easy fix! I'll definitely look at raising the shower curtain.

The bathroom is tiny, with no window. There is a fan... we avoid turning it on because it is obscenely loud and no one wants to be enclosed in a room with that monster. I'll mention it to the landlord in my next list of things that need attention (it seems like there's always something that's breaking from age or neglect).

Some of the grout is black- would that count as possible mold that I could be concerned about?

Regarding the water pressure: I'm new to all this, so it's likely I have all the terminology wrong. There's a tank in the apartment, and we don't share water with other apartments. The water from all the faucets goes burning hot in an instant. The tub faucet essentially goes from zero to sixty- if the hot water faucet is turned an infinitesimal amount, a reasonable amount of water comes out, but then you get roasted so the cold water also has to be turned on. By then, there's a ton of water/pressure... I'm sure it would help to fix this at the source, but I'm not sure what the source is or how to start learning about it.
Anyone know what that tank is probably called, and whether we might be able to adjust the pressure?
posted by Baethan at 4:46 PM on April 14, 2012

I'd recommend asking your landlord to lower the temp of the water, as that in itself is a safety hazard if it is really hot.

Having this very hot water problem and an unusable fan is probably 90% of you wet bathroom problem. Ventilation fans need to be cleaned occasionally and some need a window opened a crack to be useful too. Of course, if you aren't turning it on because it's crazy loud, then the steam has nowhere to go except the walls. (it could be loud because it is having trouble drawing air/steam out of the room. My sis in law has a vent fan that is loud when the door is closed, and normal when the door is open)
posted by man down under at 5:32 PM on April 14, 2012

Wikipedia gives you the basics. Those are called storage water heaters, you might be able to find the particular brand/name/type/number somewhere on a sticker on it.

Things like temperature and pressure are usually adjustable on the heating device. (Sidenote re temperature: a certain temperature is usually necessary to kill off bacteria, you can find info here. It depends a little on where you live and who lives with you (kids, elderly) if/how much you can lower the temperature).

The valve I linked upthead can reduce the volume (amount) of hot water taht comes out of the tank, so if you mix in the cold water to counterbalance the heat, it will not have such high pressure (less overall volume).

That said, it seems best to ask your landlord/super to come over and help you adjust the heater (and /or install a valve) AND fix the fan.
posted by travelwithcats at 6:44 PM on April 14, 2012

The bathroom is tiny, with no window. There is a fan... we avoid turning it on because it is obscenely loud and no one wants to be enclosed in a room with that monster.

This is your problem, not the shower head or the boiler. While you should get your landlord to adjust your boiler, taking colder showers isn't going to resolve this. Changing the shower curtain isn't going to help either. Water warmer than the air in the room creates condensation, which you are not venting. This is primarily a problem of physics, not of plumbing.

Some of the grout is black- would that count as possible mold that I could be concerned about?

It's not possible mold, it is mold. All homes have mold - it's everywhere, all around you - and bathroom mold is not the scary death kind, so you don't need to be worried about it. You do, however, need to clean it. Get some Tilex.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:58 PM on April 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

Something that can help a lot is a small dehumidifer. I have the one below. The bathroom still gets a little steamy, but not nearly as bad as it did without it, and it resolves on its own rather quickly. I got it to help with a big mold problem. I used to have the weird yellow drippy mold constantly appearing on my ceiling, and since getting the dehumidifier (which runs at all times and is very quiet), the mold problem has almost gone away.

That said, if you are getting puddles, rather than all surfaces just becoming damp from steam, then I would investigate shower curtain placement as well.
posted by ktkt at 1:41 AM on April 15, 2012

You need to replace the bathroom exhaust fan.

Never mind the steam being inconveinent, a bathroom exhaust fan airs out the room. The steam can cause mold, and other problems. The national building code requires an exhaust fan or window in every bathroom for health and safety reasons - it is not just a convienence or comfort thing. You need to replace the bath fan.

It is not that hard to do. Most handy-men can do it. Take the fan down first (after killing the power), and take your old unit to the store. Get a new fan the same size. You only have to replace the fan motor, not the entire fan housing. You just need to get a new motor that fits in the housing of the old one.

Seriously, replace your bathroom exhaust fan.
posted by Flood at 6:35 PM on April 15, 2012

« Older I want a suit with rhinestones on it!   |   Clonk-clong-thud-thud! Right? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.