A comprehensive guide to fixing a leaky showerhead

September 17, 2014

A leaky showerhead is one of those annoying, inevitable problems that everyone has to deal with. Here are some tips on how to fix a leaky showerhead yourself.

A comprehensive guide to fixing a leaky showerhead

Why is the showerhead leaking?

The exact cause of the shower leak is often difficult to determine simply by looking at the showerhead. All showerheads are made of a number of components, which work in unison to permit free flow of water. Before fixing a dripping showerhead, detach or remove any screws from it and always look for signs of loose or broken parts.

All showerheads have a rubber washer that is critical to regulate the flow of water. However, rubber is not a permanent structure and is subject to wear and tear. Most rubber washers last seven to 10 years. When they get damaged, water can leak. The only way to tell if the rubber washer is not working, is to open the showerhead and examine the structure. If the rubber washer is worn out, it needs to be replaced. Rubber washers are readily available from most hardware stores and are relatively inexpensive. Inserting a rubber washer does not require a consultation with a plumber and can easily be done by a homeowner, provided he/she knows how to open the showerhead.

Is it a bigger problem?

If the rubber washer is intact and working, the next step is to check the inner water supply valves. These valves play a role in regulating the flow of water into the showerhead. Sometimes the valves can become loosened or rusty. One needs to make sure the valves are not damaged.

How to fix a leaky showerhead

In some cases, the leakage of water may be due to an accumulation of minerals and other debris in the showerhead. To remove the minerals and debris, the showerhead must be detached and disassembled. To remove the calcium deposits and lime, soak the showerhead in commercial cleaning products available for that purpose. Another option is to soak the showerhead in white vinegar for two to four hours to remove the calcium

Sometimes the leak may be due to holes around the shower head caused by rust. This may require replacing the metal face plate, putty or plumber tape to seal the hole.

Sometimes over-tightening of the shower head can lead to the damage of the internal components, causing leaks .

Maintaining your showerhead

Maintenance of a showerhead is necessary to prevent leaks. It is important to clean it regularly to prevent the buildup of calcium, rust and other debris. Always replace faulty parts before they can cause further damage.

Homeowners should be aware that most causes of a dripping showerhead can be fixed without the aid of a plumber, provided one has the right tools. This includes having an adjustable wrench, screwdriver and a rubber washer. However, if one is unsure how a showerhead works, a consultation with a plumber can be educational.

After seeing one leaky shower head repaired, next time, you'll know how to fix the dripping yourself.

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