Are you tired of listening to your shower head leaking? A leaky shower head is annoying and leads to water wastage.
You may also find water spraying from the shower faucet each time you step in for a shower. So you want to fix a leaky shower head drip sooner rather than later. Besides, leaky shower heads can make you waste hot water, unnecessarily adding to your water bills and energy consumption.
This problem can arise from several things, like sediment accumulation or mineral deposits in shower heads. So, turning off the knob too tightly on your shower faucet won’t stop, and you may damage it.
However, a leaky shower head should be fixed at the earliest. Thankfully, you can try some DIY techniques before hiring professionals, and today, we will walk you through some of them. But if these don’t stop the fixture from leaking water, you may need professional help.
With all said and done, let’s get down to business.
How To Fix A Leaky Shower Head?
Clean The Shower Head
Before we start fixing a leaky shower head, we suggest cleaning it with a brush or soft cloth. Just dip it in a gentle bathroom cleaner and scrub the head to remove any mineral build-up or residue on the outer surface.
And don’t worry- you don’t need to remove the entire shower head to complete this. Start removing all unwanted residues from the shower faucet body and faucet handle before taking on the shower head. For the nooks and crannies, we’d suggest using a pointed, stiff brush to get better access.
However, avoid using any cleaner that uses strong chemicals as they might discolour the shower head and damage the nozzle on the shower faucets.
The dripping shower head issue should resolve. However, if it doesn’t, then there may be a bigger problem, meaning you need to move on to more intensive maintenance, the steps for which are listed below:
Step 1: Turn Off The Water Supply
For starters, shut off the water supply to the shower head. You may turn off the main water supply to the entire house, but it’s more convenient to turn off the water shutoff valves attached to the shower.
You will have to turn off the main water supply if you do not have access to the shower valve. The main supply shutoff valve is usually located in the basement; in most cases, the lever on the valve will have a knob. Once you locate that knob, rotate it clockwise until you cannot turn it anymore.
After that, turn off the faucets (hot and cold water) located at the lowest level of the house so that the leftover water in the pipes can drain out.
Step 2: Remove The Shower Head
Once the water supply to the shower is turned off, it is time to dismantle the entire assembly of the shower head. However, cover the shower drain before you proceed to prevent the smaller parts (like bolts) from falling into the drain hole.
Carefully remove the leaky shower faucet using a screwdriver to loosen the bolts. This step might be difficult if you’re handling an old shower head, as the screws can get jammed over time.
In the worst-case situation, you might need to use a faucet puller or a pair of pliers to remove the shower head. If you have no other option but to use the latter, make sure you use a soft cloth along with the pliers. That will prevent any form of damage to the other parts.
Step 3: Cleaning The Shower Head
As stated above, mineral deposits or sediment can build up inside or near the shower stem (where it attaches to the showerhead). Not only can this reduce the water pressure and flow, but it can also result in a leaking showerhead.
To clean the shower head, add some water to 3 cups of white vinegar and bring this mix to a boil. Remove it immediately from the heat when you see the bubbles. Then place the shower head (except any removable rubber parts like rubber washers) in this hot solution to completely submerge.
Let the shower faucets and rubber washer soak for at least 30 minutes, after which you can use an old toothbrush to scrub it gently. Take it out and rinse it with clean water. Dry the shower head with a clean cloth and put it back. Start the water supply to check it.
If a deep clean doesn’t fix the leaky shower head, the O-ring may be a problem (the small rubber ring that seals the connection between the showerhead and the pipe). Unscrew the showerhead from the pipe and remove the old O-ring. Since this part is relatively inexpensive, it’s better to replace it even if there’s a small sign of damage.
Once you have the new O-ring, install it and screw the shower head back onto the pipe, making sure to tighten it by hand. Then you can cover the pipe stem threads with Teflon tape or any other thread-sealing tape. However, don’t put too much tape, as it may restrict the water flow.
How To Replace The Faucet Shower Cartridge?
If the leaking persists, it’s probably because the faucet cartridge needs to be replaced. This is a relatively simple repair that anyone can take up. And here are the steps to do that:
Turn off the water to your shower head. You’ll usually find a shutoff valve near the fixture itself.
Remove the shower head from the arm. Some showerheads may be removed with hands, but others may need a wrench or pair of pliers. Be careful not to damage the finish on the fixtures.
Unscrew the retaining nut from the back of the showerhead and remove the old cartridge. Then you can install the new cartridge, ensuring it’s seated properly. Screw on the retaining nut and hand-tighten it.
Turn on the water supply and then test the shower head. It’s a good idea to have a few spare cartridges handy so that you can replace them as and when needed. This is much more affordable than buying a new showerhead whenever the old one leaks.
Things That Can Prevent A Leaking Shower Head
First, it is important to read the manufacturer’s instructions before installing a new showerhead. This will help you better understand the fixture and how it should be used properly to prevent any issues.
Secondly, always use Teflon tape on the shower head threads before you screw it on. This will help deliver a tight seal and prevent unwanted leaks.
Do not over-tighten the shower head when installing it, as it can destroy the threads and cause leaks. If the shower head has a rubber washer, check and replace it regularly to maintain a watertight seal and prevent leaks.
Additionally, when you are finished installing the shower head, turn on the water and check for leaks. If there are any, tighten the connections until they stop. And do not forget to keep a faucet washer kit handy to make sure you can solve the problem if a leak suddenly appears.
However, faults in the plumbing systems can also make shower heads leak. So, if none of the above-mentioned techniques works for you, it may be a good idea to get the entire plumbing checked by professional plumbers.
Drip No More — Repairing Your Leaking Shower Head
With that, we can conclude this guide on how to fix a leaky showerhead.
Here are some final words of advice. Before you start working to deal with the issue, get your hands on the essential supplies. The most common resources are towels, pliers, plastic washers, vinegar, O-rings and a screwdriver. This way, you don’t have to scramble to detect or install the shower arm or head.
If you need professional assistance, speak with our local plumbers at Big Blue Plumbing Today! Whether you need us to repair the water leaking from your shower fixture or install a new shower head, We can find a long-term and effective solution to any residential, commercial or industrial plumbing issue.
We will see you another day. Until next time, take care!