How to Fix a Leaky Shower Head? Ultimate Guide From A Plumber
What if you shut the showerhead after your afternoon shower and it doesn’t turn off? Instead, it keeps dripping water on the bathroom floor. It would be pretty annoying, right? At first glance, few drops of water might not seem “That Much of a Deal” for many. But if you convert those water drops into bills, you’ll see quite the increase in a year or so.
Also, a showerhead that’s leaking water can be a nuisance for both bathroom’s wall and floor. Over time, the wall can get water-damaged, or the floor can become super slippery. My advice? Fix the Leaky Showerhead before it’s too late. But first, you need to know what’s causing the leak.
What Are the Common Causes of a Leaky Showerhead?
More often than not, the showerhead (whether fixed or handheld) is clogged. Minerals, dirt, and mold find their way in the holes of these things. No matter how high you turn the dial, water will fall slowly onto your body once mold, dirt or minerals are in the showerhead. Once you turn it off, the extra water inside the pipes will continue dripping slowly.
Another cause of a leaky showerhead is the faulty diverter. When you are using a separate diverter panel for a handheld shower, fixed overhead shower and bathtub, it is natural for the screws and nuts to get worn out. With sediment buildup inside the diverter, water cannot pass through and can leak within the walls or through shower holes.
The third cause of a leaky shower head is the fact that it has a faulty rubber washer. There are two rubber washers in place. One for the faucet and other for the showerhead. Over time, these washers get worn out or simply crack. Water seeps through, and no matter how tightly you turn the lever, it continues to leak through the crack.
How to Fix a Leaky Showerhead Caused by These Issues?
Now that we know what things cause a showerhead to leak water, we can proceed to fix these problems. A leaky showerhead can be treated using as many as four different methods. Let us go through each of them briefly in the next segment.
By Cleaning the Clogged Showerhead
For that, you need to shut the water supply to your house or just the bathroom line. Then you should remove the faceplate of the shower. You can even remove the whole showerhead if you choose.
After removing the showerhead or the faceplate, you need to immerse it into vinegar. The impurities will dissolve in vinegar to make the showerhead clean again. After the whole process is complete, turn the water supply of your house on. Turn the showerhead on just so that the vinegar inside the holes doesn’t stay there.
See my article on How to Clean a Showerhead for a detailed look into the process.
By Replacing a Diverter
For this, turn off the water supply of your bathroom. Then uncover the faucet and the adapter nuts to get to the valve behind. You can unscrew the hex nut in place to take the diverter valve out.
After that, make sure to clean the valve with a wire brush that is stiff. Soak it in vinegar and make sure you clean it efficiently. If cleaning doesn’t solve the problem, probably replacing the diverter will. You’ll have to take out the valve assembly and replace it with an identical one.
See my article on How to Fix Shower Diverter so that you can follow the process efficiently.
You Can Even Replace the Rubber Washer
Replacing the rubber washer can fix the showerhead leak, but there’s a problem. With a shower faucet and a showerhead in play, you need to figure out which washer to replace. We can determine that with a simple rule. If you have a compression faucet or in other words, “Two-handle” faucet, you need to remove the washer in the faucet. For single-handle faucets, the rubber washer covering the showerhead should be replaced.
Now that we’ve established that let us go through the process. First, let us replace the washer inside the faucet.
- Unscrew the screw located in plain sight or use a knife first to undo the cover cap then undo the screw inside.
- The next thing to do is to pull the handle hard. It might refuse to come out. Just use a faucet puller.
- Next, remove the faucet sleeve and faucet trim to expose faucet stem. This time, use a wrench to unscrew the hex nut there.
- Once that is done, all that is left to replace the rubber washer.
But what if we need to replace the one inside the showerhead? Don’t worry. Just follow the next few steps.
- Find the collar out of your showerhead (it is a regular nut with extended length). Then remove it with a wrench.
- Once you remove a collar nut, look past the swivel ball, and you’ll find the washer you are looking for.
- All that is left now is to take the thing out and replace it with a new washer.
Stopping the Shower Leak by Replacing the Cartridge Valve
To replace the cartridge, you’ll have to open up the faucet first. Look at the earlier part of the article, and I’ve discussed how to remove the handle cap of the faucet, unscrew the screw and remove the handle by hand or by faucet pullers.
Once you remove the handle, you’ll find a stop tube since it is a single-handle faucet. Do away with the top tube and the cartridge retaining clip. Also, remove the handle washer to expose the cartridge stem.
Then you have to remove the stem. How you do it depends on what company you purchased it from. But the most common thing to do here is to unscrew the hex nut and then pull the thing out.
After you have the cartridge out, replace it with a new and identical one.
Repairing a Leaky Showerhead might seem a job for a plumber, but even you can do it. I’ve already laid out all the plans and ways you can go about the job. All that is left for you is to follow these steps to the letter. But be sure to be meticulous in choosing the repairing tools and accessories you need. Some of the accessories won’t work unless they are from the same manufacturer and model number. Be sure to read the instruction manual before you proceed as well.