How to Fix a Leaking Shower Head

Fixing a leak saves you water and money on your utility bills. A leaking shower head can seem harmless, but it’s more than just an annoyance hearing the tap of water drops as they hit your bathroom tub. It creates waste, and a lot of it.

You may discover corrosion or damage around the valve to such a degree that it doesn’t seal properly. At that time, you will need to contact a plumber to replace the valve assembly to prevent further leaks. In addition, there are many ways to address it and find the underlying cause on your own. You don’t need any special tools or skills.

Here is how to fix a leaking shower head and where to put your attention.

Turn off the water supply

As you start troubleshooting your shower head, the first thing you want to do is turn off your water. A shower will typically have its shut-off valve; if so, you won’t need to shut off water for the entire house.

If you have to look for the main water supply shutoff, you’ll find it on the lowest floor. It’s usually a circular spigot or a ball valve with a lever handle. Turn it clockwise.

Remove the shower head

To do a full inspection of what’s going on, you will have to remove the shower head. Cover the drain hole in the bathtub to prevent any pieces from accidentally going down the plumbing.

Next, remove the shower head by loosening the nut and securing it to the shower arm. You may need a cloth and pliers to release it, especially for shower heads that haven’t been removed in some time.

Clean your shower head

A shower head can build up with residue and minerals over time. This could clog the shower head. Although it won’t be the cause of your leak, it could cause a restriction in the spray of water and force backed-up water out at the faceplate or the junction. Clean your shower head with water and vinegar by soaking it overnight. You can also do this with an all-natural cleaner and a toothbrush. Do not use chemical shower cleaners, however, as this can damage the finish.

Check the seal and o-ring

You may have a worn seal between the shower arm and shower head. To form tight seals, washers and o-rings are used. These can damage over time from use, but all you have to do is replace what’s there. Seal leaks are common with swivel connections. The seal can be found behind the assembly.

You can buy a replacement for the seal at the hardware store. It’s recommended to take your old seal so that you can buy a replica that you know will fit. If you need help with the installation, call a plumber Mississauga for help.

Try the shower head again

Reassemble everything and turn on the water. See if that’s done the trick. If not, move on to the valve.

Replace the seal at the valve

Look to your shower taps. If you have two, either one could be leaking. Feel where the dripping water is coming from. You’ll need the water supply to do this check. Once you know where the leak is coming from, turn off the water. Unscrew the handle of the tap.

Replace the rubber washer and o-ring. To access it, you may need to use a deep socket wrench to remove the nut. Just like you replaced the seal at the shower head/arm connection, you’re doing the same thing here. Reassemble. Turn on the water. Hopefully, that does the trick.

Replace the shower cartridge

You may only have a single shower tap. In that case, in the wall behind the handle is a valve containing a cyclical cartridge made from hard plastic to regulate water flow. If the cartridge is worn or cracked, that could cause water to leak even when it’s in an ‘off’ position.

To replace your shower cartridge, remove the handle. Take off the shower valve trim and cap. Slip off the stem cover to reveal the cartridge. It may be secured with a twist-on nut or clip. Use pliers to carefully remove it and bring it to the hardware store with you to buy a new piece.

Apply plumber’s tape to seal thread

Sometimes, threads on the pipe can be worn down. If there’s an existing plumber’s tape on the stem, remove it. Apply new plumber’s tape. This will help create an excellent seal that will hold long-term.

Buy a new shower head

If all else fails or you aren’t interested in troubleshooting due to the dated design of an existing shower head, buying a new one and switching it out can easily fix a leaking shower head. Some may also wish to replace the shower arm by unscrewing it, wrapping plumber’s tape around the stem, and screwing the new shower arm onto the fitting.

You Might Also Like