It’s bound to happen sooner or later…you have a dripping shower head. Not only can this be a frustrating problem, it can also lead to higher water utility bills, and if not addressed properly and quickly, those costs can add up pretty fast. Shower head drips that are left unrepaired over a long period of time can also leave ugly rust stains in your shower.
While a simple tightening of the shower head may be all that is needed to fix the drip, it’s unusual in most cases. First, you need to determine what is causing the leak…is it the actual showerhead itself or a faulty valve? Once you identify the cause of the problem, you can repair the drip. By following these simple steps below, shower repair can be done quickly and inexpensively.
- Step 1: The very first step you need to take is to locate your main water valve and turn it off. After you’ve turned off the main valve, turn the shower on to get all the remaining water out of the pipe.
- Step 2: If possible, use your hands to unscrew the shower head in order to inspect it. If it cannot be removed by hand, use a wrench or pliers to remove it. Once removed, check the threading inside the shower head and look for a small plastic washer or rubber o-ring. Whichever you have, if it is damaged you will need to replace it.
- Step 3: After inspection, you need to give your showerhead a good cleaning. Over time, mineral deposits and sediment build up causing a decrease in water flow. Cleaning is simple using a solution of three cups of white vinegar with water and bringing it to a boil. Turn off the burner and place the shower head in the mixture and let it set for about 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the amount of buildup you have. After soaking, scrub the inside and outside jets with an old toothbrush, then rinse with soap and water.
- Step 4: If during your inspection you find that the o-ring is not damaged, wrap the pipe stem with Teflon tape. This is an important step to make sure you get a tight fit when screwing the shower head back on to ensure it doesn’t leak.
- Step 5: Use clockwise turns to screw the showerhead back on. Continue the rotation until the shower head is slightly tight, but not too tight. Take extra care to not force it because you could break the showerhead or the pipe it is attached to.
- Step 6: Turn the main water valve back on and let your shower run for a few seconds, then turn the shower back off. You can check now to see if the dripping showerhead is fixed. Some tips to keep in mind are:
- Don’t tighten the shower head too tight because this can damage the thread and worsen the leak.
- Plumber’s putty is a no-no when installing tub spouts and shower heads because it can damage or even break plastic components.
- When wrapping the shower head threads with teflon tape, do it clockwise to ensure the tape goes in the same direction as the thread. If you do it counterclockwise, it can lead to more leaks.
- Wrench or pliers
- Rubber o-ring if the existing one is damaged
- White vinegar
- Soap and water
- Old toothbrush
- Plumber’s Tape
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