How to Fix a Leaking Showerhead
A dripping showerhead might keep you awake with its monotonous drip-drip. Nevertheless, the issue is more than simply irritation. A single drop of water may seem like little, but a showerhead that drops every three seconds loses roughly 700 gallons yearly. If your municipality charges for domestic water consumption, your money is essentially going down the toilet. As a result, repairing your leaking showerhead saves time and money.
While it is conceivable for a showerhead to leak due to a faulty joint at the shower arm—the angled pipe that supports the showerhead and feeds into the wall—the issue is far more likely to be with the showerhead itself or the faucet valve that regulates the shower.
Before You BeginWhen a showerhead is characterized as "leaking," one of two things might happen. You may start by taking a shower with a stream of water. Dribbles out of the showerhead rather than shooting out in a mighty torrent when the faucet is turned on. When you see this, it's typically because sediment or lime buildup has plugged the holes in the shower head, preventing water from flowing effortlessly from the shower head's many port apertures. If this is the case, the condition typically worsens for weeks. The water stream eventually fades to a trickle rather than a spray.
This isn't a leaky showerhead but one that no longer flows correctly. The repair is straightforward, requiring just the removal and cleaning of the showerhead. Instead, replace the complete showerhead, a relatively simple fix.
Yet, showers may leak, enabling a tiny quantity of water to flow even with the faucet off. of water. Issues with the faucet valve's cartridge insert determine how much hot and cold water is pumped through the faucet body and to the showerhead or tub. Spout—cause leaking showerheads. The solution is dismantling the faucet and replacing the faulty cartridge regulating the water flow. This is a simple do-it-yourself project that will be required for almost every shower at some point.
Begin your shower faucet repair by inspecting the showerhead, then go on to the faucet cartridge if required.
What You'll Need
Equipment / Tools
How to Service the Shower Head
Remove the Shower HeadMake sure the shower faucet handle is completely turned off. The showerhead should not drip. (If it does, go to the following repair, "How to Replace the Shower Cartridge").
Remove the showerhead by hand by rotating It came off the shower arm's threaded end in the other direction. If you require help, use a moist cloth to grasp the showerhead. In rare cases, channel-lock pliers may be necessary to remove the showerhead; however, this typically indicates an old, corroded showerhead that should be replaced.
TipTake caution while removing the showerhead to prevent bending or breaking the angled arm. If the components are worn, you may find it easier to detach the whole shower arm from the threaded drop-ear elbow fitting within the wall and replace it when you service or replace the showerhead.
Examine and clean the showerhead.Rubber O-rings, a screen, and additional components will be found within the showerhead. Check that they are not damaged or obstructed by silt. If the interior of your shower head is unclean, soak it in a basin of white vinegar for an hour or two to clean it. Before reassembling the pieces, rinse them with cold water.
Wrap Pipe ThreadsClean the shower arm's threads with a tiny scrub brush, then wrap the lines with one or two loops of thread-sealing or Teflon tape. Wrap the tape around the shower arm in the same direction as the threads—clockwise as you look at the end.
Replace the ShowerheadReattach the showerhead to the shower arm and tighten it by hand. Turn on the shower faucet briefly to see how the water stream works.
If the showerhead dribbles just when the faucet is turned on, you may replace the whole showerhead—a simple matter of threading on a new showerhead rather than reattaching the old one.
How to Replace the Faucet CartridgeAlmost all single-handle shower faucets operate through a replacement cartridge within the faucet body, with seals and ring that regulate water flow and mix up to the shower head. If this cartridge does not seal correctly, a small trickle of water will continue upwards to the showerhead even after the faucet handle is turned off. These cartridges are designed to be changed when they leak, and the repair is a simple do-it-yourself procedure.
Shut Off the WaterTurn off the water supply upstream of the shower controls. Your property may have intermediate fixture shutoff valves on the opposite side of the shower, usually hidden behind a wall panel. Some shower faucets have built-in water shutdown valves; crank the valves with a screwdriver to stop hot and cold water flow simultaneously and supply tubes into the faucet body. These shutoffs are visible after removing the escutcheon plate from the shower faucet.
Yet, many showers lack fixture shutdown valves. In this scenario, you must turn off the water at the main shutoff valve.
Remove the Faucet HandleThe shower faucet handle will likely have a cap at the end that you may remove by carefully pulling away with a screwdriver or tool knife. Unscrew the handle screw while the top is off. A hex wrench will be required to remove the handle screw in certain circumstances.
Remove the Escutcheon PlateA prominent face spot, or escutcheon, generally covers the faucet valve. Remove the escutcheon by unscrewing the screws that hold it to the wall. To remove the escutcheon, you may need to cut through a caulk bead surrounding it.
Remove the Retaining ClipA metal holding clip holds the faucet cartridge in place in the faucet body. With a flat-head screwdriver, carefully pull off this U-shaped retention clip. Remove any washers that are present on the cartridge's end.
A hex nut must also be removed to remove the cartridge from sure shower faucets.
TipCartridge designs differ from maker to manufacturer, as do removal processes. Several manufacturers create unique cartridge-puller equipment to simplify removing their cartridges.
For this procedure, follow the manufacturer's instructions. If you need the printed instructions for your faucet, you may access them online.
Thermostatic or pressure-balancing shower valves may feature manufacturer-specific techniques for changing cartridges and modifying temperature settings.
Slide Out the CartridgeRemove the old cartridge from the faucet body. Cartridges often slip in and out without turning or twisting, but in some instances, you may need to grab the stem with channel-lock pliers and spin the cartridge to remove it.
Replace the CartridgeIf you match the tab on the cartridge with the groove on the faucet body, the new shower cartridge will slot directly into the faucet body. Replace the retaining clip and hex screw after inserting the cartridge. Reinstall any washers you removed to help make drain cleaning easier as well.
Change the Escutcheon and Handle.
To replace the control handle and escutcheon plate:
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