Have you taken too many low water pressure showers over the past few months or weeks due to a leaky shower head? Showerheads leak for a variety of reasons, including lime buildup in the showerhead, a deteriorated O-ring and worn out Teflon tape. The good news is that you don’t need a plumber to fix a leaky shower head. You can most often do it yourself with a few tools and an inexpensive trip to your local hardware store.
What you need
– A large bowl or bucket
– A gallon jug of white vinegar
– A pipe wrench
– Rubber O-rings for your specific shower head
– Teflon plumbing tape
Steps to repair your leaking shower head
It’s a good idea to start this project on the weekend or the night prior to your day off if you work weekends. This is because you’ll need to remove your shower head and soak it in vinegar for an extended period of time, which means if you only have one bathroom, you’ll need to make sure you’ve either showered or don’t need a shower anytime soon.
1. Remove the shower head
In order to fix the leak, you’ll have to remove your shower head. If you’re lucky, the showerhead will simply unscrew from the plumbing pipe. However, showerheads can get cemented into place by lime and mineral deposits, which can make removing them extremely difficult. If you can’t unscrew it by hand, you’ll need to use your plumbing wrench. Just place it around where the showerhead screws onto the pipe, tighten the wrench and carefully twist it. It should break free of the pipe.
2. Clean out the lime
Next, pour your jug of vinegar into your large bowl or bucket and place your shower head inside. The vinegar will dissolve all the sediment inside your shower head. You’ll need to leave the showerhead in the 100 percent vinegar for at least two hours. We recommend starting this project before you go to bed and leaving the showerhead in the vinegar overnight.
3. Install the O-rings and teflon tape
Once you’ve de-limed your shower head, check the O-ring. If it looks worn or dry-rotted, replace the O-ring with a new O-ring. Even if the O-ring looks fine, you may choose to replace it anyway. Next, wrap the Teflon tape over the screw threads on your shower head pipe. Make sure all the rings are covered. Three or four wraps should be plenty.
4. Put your showerhead back onto the pipe
Lastly, you’ll screw the showerhead back onto the pipe. You don’t need to use your plumbing wrench for this. Hand-tight is tight enough. Once you have your shower head on the pipe, turn on the water. Your showerhead leak should be fixed. If it still leaks, you can unscrew your shower head and add more Teflon tape to the screw threads.