Putting in a new shower head

July 12, 2016

After a long day at work or to kick-start your morning, a good, hot shower is the way to go. So when your shower is less than satisfying, why not change the shower head? Here's what you need to know about putting in a new one.

Putting in a new shower head

Time: 45 minutes
Frequency: As required
Difficulty: Easy
Tools: Adjustable wrench or pliers, rag, old toothbrush, pipe thread tape, new shower head

Looking to change up your shower head? Whether the old one is clogged or you'd prefer a new one with a different finish or a better variety of spray options, installing a shower head is one of the easiest repairs or upgrades you can make to your home. Here are the five steps needed to putting in a new shower head.

Step 1: Remove the old shower head

Before you install your new model, take out your old one by turning it in a counter-clockwise direction.

  • The shower head can usually be unscrewed from the shower arm by hand, but if it's been on there for a while, it might be stubborn.
  •  In that case, it's helpful to have an adjustable wrench or pliers to first loosen the shower head.
  •  Once loosened, turn it by hand until it comes off.

Good to know!
If you end up using a wrench or pliers, it may be a good idea to first wrap a rag around the shower head to avoid scratching the finish.

Step 2: Prepare the pipe thread

Before you attach your new shower head, you need to prepare the pipe thread.

  • If there is any residue left on the pipe thread from your old shower head, use an old toothbrush to scrub it off.
  •  Wrap the pipe thread with two or three turns of pipe thread tape, or however much you need to create a watertight seal between it and your new shower head.

Good to know!
Wrapping the tape around the pipe thread in a clockwise direction will keep it from unwrapping when you attach the new shower head.

Step 3: Attach the new shower head

Screw the new shower head onto the shower arm by hand in a clockwise direction. Once you have tightened it as much as you can, you might want wrap a rag around the shower head and give it a quarter turn with an adjustable wrench or pliers.

If your new shower head is a handheld model:

  • Screw the bracket onto the pipe threads.
  •  Wrap two or three turns of thread tape around the bracket.

If your new shower head comes with rubber washers:

  • Place a washer in each end of the hose to help prevent leakage.
  •  Twist one end of the hose onto the bracket.
  •  Wrap two or three turns of thread tape around your new shower head and screw it into the other side of the hose.

Good to know!
Hand-tightened should be fine in most instances, but you can also carefully tighten parts with a wrench or pliers as needed.

Step 4: Check for leaks

Before you start packing up your equipment, it's important to check for leaks.

  •  Turn on your shower.
  •  Inspect the shower arm and your new shower head to make sure that no water is leaking out of the connections.

Step 5: Make any necessary adjustments

If you do notice a leak, carefully tighten by hand the connections affected by it.

  •  If that does not work, apply additional thread tape to the pipe thread until you have a watertight seal.

Just thinking about attempting to install a shower head might be enough to make you want to call your plumber, but why spend money when you don’t have to? By following these five simple steps, you’ll be enjoying your new shower head in no time.

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