How to Fix a Leaky Showerhead

In this blog post, you’ll read:The rhythmic drip-drip of a leaking showerhead could lead you to awake. However, the issue is more than one of annoyance. A shower head drips loses approximately 700 gallons of water each year. This happens every three seconds, even though it may not appear to be a significant amount. If your community executes a fee for residential water usage, you waste your water bill. So, fixing the showerhead's leak will save time and cash while avoiding unnecessary tension.

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The rhythmic drip-drip of a leaking showerhead could lead you to awake. However, the issue is more than one of annoyance. A showerhead drips loses approximately 700 gallons of water each year. This happens every three seconds, even though it may not appear to be a significant amount.

If your community executes a fee for residential water usage, you waste your water bill. So, fixing the showerhead’s leak will save time and cash while avoiding unnecessary tension.

A wrong-way connection between the shower arm and the wall causes a leaking showerhead. However, it is frequent for the showerhead or the faucet valve that regulates the shower to be the source of the issue. We will explain the cause of the shower head leaking. Moreover, we will elaborate on how to fix a leaky shower head and how to avoid the dripping shower head.

Why Is the Shower Head Leaking?

Over time, mineral build-up or a damaged gasket may cause a leaking shower head. Minerals such as magnesium, calcium, lime, and silica are present in water. Water lines around faucets, bathtubs, or sinks appear white or off-white, causing mineral build-up.

When these build-ups get into the small holes in your shower head, they cause it to leak from an unexpected location. A leaking shower head results from a worn-out gasket, which cannot ensure the arm correctly.

Is It Possible to Fix a Leaky Showerhead?

Although a dripping showerhead is inconvenient, fixing it often does not need the help of a plumber. This article will show you how to fix a dripping showerhead in a few easy steps.

See also How to Fix a Bathtub Faucet

How to Stop a Leaking Shower Head?

Before You Begin

Materials and tools to fix a leaky shower head
materials and tools to fix a leaky showerhead

It could happen for a showerhead to “leak” in one of two ways. First, when you turn on the faucet, it is possible.

Shower head dripping is a trickle rather than a vigorous deluge. It results from calcium or sediment accumulation obstructing the shower head’s port hole.

It was so stopping the water’s ability to flow smoothly. Typically, if this is the cause of the issue, it develops for several weeks. The water stream diminishes regularly until it is a trickle rather than an overflow.

Moreover, the leaking shower head no longer functions. Here, the repair of the shower head knob is as easy as removing the showerhead and giving it an adequate clean. Otherwise, a simple remedy would be to replace the shower head.

Leaks can happen in showers, allowing a small amount of water to flow even when the faucet is off. Insert the cartridge into the faucet valve.

The part controlling water flow and temperature in the faucet can have problems when showerheads leak. Removing the faucet and replacing a damaged cartridge regulating water flow are necessary repairs.

Similarly, every shower will need this straightforward DIY project. If the showerhead isn’t the issue, check the cartridge and continue to the rest of the shower faucet.

See also How To a Fix Leaky Toilet from Base


Step 1. Turn Off the Water Supply to Your Shower

Turn off the water supply to your shower
Turn off the water supply to your shower

Turning off the main water supply is optional to repair most plumbing fixtures. You may not always be able to find the valve for the shower yourself. (Or, use the shut-off valve in an access panel.)

If the shut valve of the shower is not located, you should turn to the main water supply valve. Located on the same wall as the water meter, it is on the lowest level, often in a basement.

A ball valve with a lever handle or a fixture in a circular shape is the most common kind of knob. Rotate the lever 90 degrees clockwise until you can no longer turn the circular handle. To remove water from the pipes above, open the hot and cold faucets at a sink on the lower level.

Step 2. Remove the Shower Head

Remove the shower head
Remove the showerhead

Removal of a leaking shower head from the shower arm

Is it possible for water to drip from a showerhead? Before turning on the shower, ensure the handle is completely turned off. The showerhead mustn’t drip at all. Should this occur, proceed to the after remedy, “How to Replace the Shower Cartridge.”

Manually detach the showerhead from the threaded end of the shower arm by rotating it counterclockwise. Should you need aid, grasp the showerhead with a wet cloth. Sometimes, you might need pliers to remove a showerhead. This usually means the showerhead is old and damaged, and it’s better to replace it.

Pro Tip

If you remove the showerhead, you can bend or damage the angled shower arm. Disassembling the shower arm from the threaded drop-ear elbow affixed to the wall. It is the most practical way when the components are outdated. Later, when performing showerhead repair or replacement, change the shower arm for a new one.

Step 3. Inspect and Clean the Shower Head by Soaking in Vinegar

Inspect and clean the shower head by soaking in vinegar
Inspect and clean the shower head by soaking in vinegar

It is easier to understand why the shower head has been removed because the mist is not as effective as it once was. Hard water deposits may accumulate in the showerhead’s holes as time passes. It blocks the stream and compels accumulated water to flow through the faceplate or the shower head-arm junction.

Soak the bath shower head overnight in white vinegar to dissolve the mineral deposits. Remove residual build-up using an old toothbrush or soft-bristled brush to remove the hard water deposits.

 Step 4. Check for A Worn Seal and Install an O-Ring Replacement

Water escaping from the shower handle if the issue is with the seal connecting the shower arm and the shower head. Water can leak through washers and O-rings. It creates seals between connections on a shower head if they become rigid with time.

Particularly susceptible to this type of shower head leaking featuring swivel connections. A seal located behind the swivel assembly secures it. To replace the gasket or O-ring in the shower head, remove and disassemble it if you suspect a damaged seal.

Pro Tip:

We recommend bringing the old one to the hardware store to ensure an exact match when purchasing a new plumbing seal.

See also How to Fix a Sink Stopper.

Step 5: If Your Compressional Faucet Keeps Dripping, You Must Replace the Washer

A broken washer inside the faucet can cause a leaking shower head or faucet. Compression faucets have two knobs, one handle for hot water and one handle for cold water. The washer of a compression-style faucet can wear out with time. It results in breaches if not replaced.

To find the leak, check if the handle is warm or cold by feeling the temperature of the trickling water. To remove the broken faucet handle, find the screw under the handle or a cap, and take it off.

To access the faucet stem, detach the cover trim, which fastens with a hex nut. After removing the nut with a deep socket wrench, locate a rubber washer. After you substitute a new rubber washer, you should reassemble the faucet.

Sometimes, corrosion or damage can occur to the curved part of the washer, known as the “seat.” This can prevent even a new washer from fixing a leaking showerhead. In such a case, you will likely need a plumber to replace the assembly completely.

Step 6. If Everything Else Fails, Replace The Valve Body Shower Cartridge

Replace the valve body shower cartridge
Replace the valve body shower cartridge

Leaking showerhead; check for worn seal

How is a shower valve cartridge used? A single lever controls cold and hot water flow in many modern showers. The handle has a valve with a plastic cartridge that controls the water pressure for the shower head.

Water can percolate through a damaged cartridge, even with the handle in the “off” position. This may result in water trickling or dripping from the shower head.

Disconnecting the shower’s water supply is necessary to replace the worn shower valve cartridge. To access the cartridge, remove the shower handle. Set the shower valve and cap that cover the valve stem. A small screw secures the handle, and you can rotate or remove the trim and cap by unscrewing them. You can access the end of the plastic cartridge by removing the stem cover, which you need to detach.

The majority of cartridges have a fastener or a twist-on clamp. After removing the fastener or clamp, secure the shower stem of the shower valve cartridge with a pair of pliers and extract the cartridge. Put the faucets back together after getting a new cartridge from the store and taking the old one there.

If the showerhead keeps leaking after replacing the cartridge, the valve body is broken. Replacing a shower valve body requires expertise from a skilled plumber.

The operation of all shower plumbing is identical. However, the connection methods for faucets, shower heads, and valve body assemblies differ. Refer to the manufacturer’s manual when uncertain.

Step 7. Use Thread-Sealing Tape to Wrap the Shower Arm

Thread sealing tape to wrap the shower arm
Thread sealing tape to wrap the shower arm

 By using thread sealing or Teflon tape.

Over time, the Teflon plumber’s tape that wraps around the shower arm can wear down, thus raising the potential of leaking the shower head. Although no leak has been detected at the shower arm, it is recommended to replace the tape during the removal of the shower head.

Remove the existing Teflon tape from the stem of the pipe before starting. Typically, removing it away is more manageable due to the presence of an adhesive residue remaining on the surface. If residual residue remains, remove it using a worn-out toothbrush. Next, proceed by encircling the threaded point of the pipe stem with the new plumber’s tape.

Step 8. Change the Shower Head

If none of the above options work, or if you want to replace it with a more pleasing model, replace a shower head. It is a DIY task that the majority of homeowners can do. Having the shower head fit into the existing pipes further reduces the task.

Shower arm replacement is necessary if the shower arm malfunctions or if its finish does not complement that of the new shower head. Begin by unscrewing the old shower arm. After this, use the plumber’s tape to encircle the threads of the new arm several times. Proceed by inserting the corresponding shower flange into the plumber’s putty-sealed orifice after screwing the new shower arm into the wall fitting.

Wrap the base threads of the shower arm in the plumber’s tape before attaching the new shower head to the arm. While turning until secure, avoid overtightening.

My Shower Seems to Drip After I Use It Is That Normal?

A shower head dripping for a few minutes after use is straightforward. However, it should not be considered a cause for concern.

When you cut off the water supply to the shower at the valve, some water will still collect and need to drain. That’s why you notice a little dripping sound after each usage. After the initial few minutes, you should only be concerned if the trickle persists.

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