How to fix a 
leaking shower head
7 Handy Steps


If you're dealing with a dripping showerhead, it's not only an annoyance but can also lead to an increase in your water bill. However, you don't need to call a professional plumber every time you face this issue. In this article, we'll guide you through the process of fixing a leaking showerhead yourself, step by step.

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UNDERSTANDING THE CAUSES OF A 
Leaky Shower Head

By Chris Provenzale | August 2023

  • Founder / Director of Dr Leak Plumbing
  • License No. 368473C
  • Certificate IV in Plumbing & Services
  • Certificate III in Roof Plumbing
  • Kitchen, Bathroom & Laundry Renovation (KBLR) Licenced

 

Before diving into the repair process, let's take a look at the possible causes of a leaking showerhead:

 

Worn-Out Washer

The washer is a small rubber ring that sits inside the showerhead and prevents water from flowing when the shower is turned off. Over time, the washer can wear out and cause a leak. This is the most common cause of a dripping showerhead.

Loose Connection

If the connection between the showerhead and the pipe is loose, water can leak from the joint. This is a common problem in older showerheads that have been used for years.

Corroded Valve Seat

If the valve seat, which connects the showerhead to the water supply pipe, is corroded, water can leak around it. This is a more serious issue that requires replacing the valve seat.

High Water Pressure

High water pressure can cause a leaking showerhead, as it puts excess stress on the plumbing system. This is more common in houses with old plumbing systems or where the water pressure is not regulated.

 

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Tools Required for  Fixing a Leaking Shower Head

To fix a leaking showerhead, you'll need the following tools:

 

  • Wrench

A wrench is a tool used to tighten and loosen nuts and bolts. You'll need a wrench to remove the showerhead from the pipe and to tighten it back onto the pipe after you've fixed the leak.

  • Screwdriver

A screwdriver is a tool used to turn screws. You'll need a screwdriver to remove the old washer and O-ring from the showerhead and to insert the new ones.

  • Pliers

Pliers are a type of tool used for gripping and twisting. You'll need pliers to remove the old washer from inside the showerhead if it's stuck or difficult to remove with a screwdriver.

  • Teflon tape

Teflon tape is a thin, white tape that's used to seal pipe threads. You'll need Teflon tape to wrap around the threading of the shower arm before reattaching the showerhead. This will help create a tight seal and prevent any future leaks.

  • Replacement washer

If the washer inside the showerhead is worn out, you'll need a replacement washer. The washer is a small rubber ring that sits inside the showerhead and prevents water from flowing when the shower is turned off. A worn-out washer is the most common cause of a leaking showerhead.

  • O-ring

If the O-ring inside the showerhead is damaged, you'll need a replacement O-ring. The O-ring is a small rubber ring that sits at the base of the showerhead and helps create a tight seal with the pipe.

  • Vinegar or lime dissolver (optional)

If the showerhead is clogged with mineral deposits or lime scale, you may need vinegar or lime dissolver to help clean it. These solutions can help dissolve mineral buildup and make it easier to scrub away any remaining debris with a toothbrush.

Make sure to have all of these tools on hand before starting the repair process. Having the right tools will make the job easier and help ensure that you fix the leaking showerhead correctly.

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Step-by-Step Guide to 
 fix a dripping shower head 

Now that you understand the causes of a leaking showerhead and have the necessary tools, let's get started with the repair process:

 

Step 1: Turn Off the Water Supply

Before you start working on the showerhead, make sure to turn off the water supply to avoid any potential water damage.

Step 2: Remove the Showerhead

Use a wrench to loosen and remove the showerhead from the pipe. Be careful not to damage the pipe or the shower arm.

Step 3: Inspect the Washer and O-Ring

Inspect the washer and O-ring for any signs of wear and tear. If either is damaged, replace it with a new one.

Step 4: Clean the Showerhead

If the showerhead is clogged with mineral deposits or limescale, soak it in vinegar or lime dissolver for a few hours. Then, use a toothbrush to scrub away any remaining debris.

Step 5: Apply Teflon Tape

Wrap Teflon tape around the threading of the shower arm to ensure a tight seal.

Step 6: Reassemble the Showerhead

Reattach the showerhead to the pipe and tighten it with a wrench. Be careful not to over-tighten it, as this can cause damage to the shower arm.

Step 7: Turn On the Water Supply

Turn on the water supply and test the showerhead for any leaks. If there are no leaks, congratulations – you've successfully fixed your leaking showerhead!

 

 

Additional Tips for Maintaining a Shower Head

To keep your showerhead in good condition and prevent future leaks, follow these additional tips:

  • Regularly clean the showerhead to prevent mineral buildup.
  • Avoid using abrasive cleaners or tools on the showerhead.
  • If you live in an area with hard water, consider installing a water softener or using a water filter.
  • Periodically check the connections between the showerhead and the pipe for any signs of wear or damage.

 

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Frequently asked questions

How do I know if my showerhead is leaking?

If you notice water dripping from your showerhead, it's likely that it's leaking. You may also notice water stains on the ceiling or walls beneath the showerhead.

What causes a showerhead to leak?

A showerhead can leak due to several reasons, including a worn-out washer, a loose connection, a corroded valve seat, or high water pressure.

How often should I clean my showerhead?

To prevent mineral buildup and clogs, it's a good idea to clean your showerhead at least once every three months. If you live in an area with hard water, you may need to clean it more frequently.

Can I fix a leaking showerhead myself?

Yes, you can fix a leaking showerhead yourself with the right tools and knowledge. It's a relatively simple repair that doesn't require a professional plumber.

Do I need to turn off the water supply before fixing a leaking showerhead?

Yes, it's important to turn off the water supply before working on a leaking showerhead to avoid any potential water damage.

What if I can't fix my leaking showerhead myself?

If you're unable to fix your leaking showerhead yourself, you may need to call a professional plumber. They'll have the necessary tools and expertise to fix the issue and ensure that your plumbing system is working correctly.

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