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How to Fix a Dripping Shower Head

How to Fix a Dripping Shower Head

A dripping showerhead can be a frustrating problem that not only wastes water but also increases your water bill. However, fixing a dripping showerhead is a relatively simple task that you can do yourself without having to call a plumber.

In this blog, we will provide step-by-step instructions on how to fix a dripping showerhead, including the tools and materials you will need, and some troubleshooting tips in case the problem persists.

Why is My Shower Head Leaking? 

There are normal and abnormal phenomena for shower head dripping.

Shower Head Drips Normally:

After using the shower head, it is normal if the water drips for a short time and does not last long. The pipes need to drain out the accumulated water when you turn off the shower, so there may still be a few drops of water left after the shower head is turned off.

Shower Head Drips Abnormally:

Figuring out why your shower is leaking is often a process of elimination. It may need to be cleaned, as a build-up of dirt, grime and limescale can affect water flow, creating blockages that may result in leaking. Alternatively, worn or damaged inner seals will also lead to a leaking showerhead. The rubber washers in your shower act as a seal between your showerhead and hose, preventing water from leaking out. Over time, these wear down and water leaks out. Leaks can also be caused by a worn flow cartridge in the shower’s valve.  

Tools and Materials You Will Need:

Adjustable wrench or pliers

Replacement cartridge (if necessary)

Teflon tape

Steps of Fixing a Leaking Shower head

Step 1: Turn off the Water Supply

Before you begin any repairs, it's important to turn off the water supply to the shower. This will prevent water from flowing while you're working on the showerhead, which can help prevent accidents and make the repair process easier.

To turn off the water supply, locate the shut-off valve for your shower. It's usually located near the shower or in a nearby closet. Turn the valve clockwise until it stops turning.

Step 2: Remove the Showerhead

Once the water supply is turned off, use an adjustable wrench or pliers to remove the showerhead from the pipe. Grip the showerhead firmly and turn it counterclockwise until it comes loose. Be careful not to damage the threads on the shower arm as you remove the showerhead.

Step 3: Clean the Showerhead

If the showerhead is clogged with mineral deposits or other debris, it may cause the water flow to be restricted, leading to leaks and drips. To clean the showerhead, soak it in a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and warm water for about an hour. Use a soft-bristled brush or toothbrush to scrub away any remaining mineral deposits or debris.

Cleaning the shower head

Step 4: Check for a worn seal and install an O-ring replacement.

If you noticed that the shower handle was leaking water, the problem may lie in the seal between the shower arm and the shower head. Washers and O-rings form watertight seals between connections on a shower head, but they can harden or split over time, which allows water to leak out. This type of leak is especially common in shower heads with swivel connections, which have a seal behind the swivel assembly. If you suspect a worn seal, it’s better to remove and disassemble the shower head and then replace the washer or O-ring.

Tip: When you purchase a new plumbing seal, take the old one with you to the  store to ensure that you bring home an exact match.

Step 5: Replace the Cartridge (if necessary)

If cleaning the showerhead doesn't solve the problem, the culprit may be a faulty cartridge. The cartridge is the part of the shower faucet that controls the flow of water. Over time, the cartridge may become worn or damaged, causing leaks or drips.

To replace the cartridge, first, remove the handle of the shower faucet by using a screwdriver to pry off the decorative cap on top of the handle. Then, unscrew the handle from the faucet body. Next, use a cartridge removal tool to remove the old cartridge from the faucet body. Insert the new cartridge into the faucet body and reassemble the faucet.

Step 6: Reinstall the Showerhead

Once you've cleaned or replaced the cartridge, reinstall the showerhead onto the pipe. Wrap Teflon tape around the threads of the shower arm before screwing the showerhead back on. Tighten the showerhead by hand, then give it a final quarter-turn with the wrench or pliers to ensure it's securely in place.

Step 7: Test the Showerhead

Turn the water supply back on and test the showerhead for leaks or drips. If the problem persists, try tightening the showerhead further or replacing the O-ring or washer inside the showerhead. If these steps don't work, you may need to call a plumber to diagnose and repair the issue.

Steps of Fixing a Leaking Shower Valve

Step 1: Shutting Off Water

Like fixing a dripping showerhead, start by turning off the main water supply before getting started.

Step 2: Taking Apart the Valve

Begin by detaching the handle of the valve using a screwdriver to loosen the central screw. Afterward, remove the escutcheon plate (metal covering) to access the inner workings of the fixture. Apply plumber's putty instead of the gasket found beneath the plate for additional sealing and reliability. Detach the sleeve holding the shower stem once all this is complete.

Step 3: Changing Washers

At this stage, all washers attached to the shower stem must be swapped out. Inspect and swap out any worn-out washers and examine the valve stem seat to ensure it's undamaged to prevent further leakage.

Step 4: Putting Back Together

Before putting the valve back together, clean the pipes with the same solution you used to clean the showerhead. Work backwards, carefully putting each component back in place until the valve is fully reassembled. Your shower should now operate without leaks.

Change the Shower Head

If the shower head can’t be fixed by any of the strategies described above, or if you just want to replace the old shower head with a new one, switching out a shower head is a DIY project that most homeowners can successfully accomplish. If the shower head matches the current pipe, the job is even easier.

If the shower arm is faulty or does not match the finish of your new shower head, you may need to replace it. To do this, first unscrew the old shower arm and wrap the threads of the new one with tape. Securely screw the new shower arm into the wall fitting and apply putty to seal the opening. Then, slide the matching shower flange over the arm and into the putty to create an effective seal.

To complete the installation, use tape to wrap the base threads of the shower arm before attaching the new shower head onto it. Ensure a snug fit but avoid overtightening.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dripping Showerheads:

Q: How often should I clean my showerhead?

A: It's recommended to clean your showerhead at least once every six months to prevent mineral buildup that can affect water flow and cause leaks.

Q: When to replace a showerhead

A: If you have tried the steps outlined in this guide, but the showerhead continues leaking, it could be time to replace it. At Bostingner, we have many different rain shower heads, so you can easily find a replacement for your bathroom.

Q: Is it safe to use a leaking electric shower?

A: Electricity and water are a dangerous combination, so you should stop using an electric shower if you notice any leaks. Turn off the shower’s power supply and call a plumber.

Q: Why is my rain shower head leaking?

A: The most common cause of a dripping showerhead is a worn or damaged washer, which creates a gap between the shower arm and the showerhead. Other possible causes include mineral buildup, loose parts, or a faulty diverter valve.

Q: How do I fix a dripping showerhead?

A: First, turn off the water supply to the shower. Then, remove the showerhead and disassemble it to access the internal components. Check for any signs of damage or wear, such as a worn washer or mineral buildup, and replace or clean them as needed. Reassemble the showerhead and turn the water back on to test if the drip has stopped.

Q: Can I fix a dripping showerhead without turning off the water supply?

A: While it may be possible to fix a dripping showerhead without turning off the water supply, it's not recommended. Turning off the water supply ensures your safety while working with plumbing fixtures and prevents water from spraying everywhere.

Q: What tools do I need to fix a dripping showerhead?

A: The tools you'll need to fix a dripping showerhead include an adjustable wrench or pliers, replacement washers or O-rings (if necessary), and a screwdriver (if the showerhead is attached with screws).

Conclusion:

Fixing a dripping showerhead is a relatively simple task that can save you money on your water bill and prevent unnecessary waste of water. By following these steps, you should be able to identify and fix the problem quickly and easily. Remember to always turn off the water supply before beginning any repairs and to take caution when working with plumbing fixtures to avoid accidents.

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