Having a shower that constantly drips can be annoying. If the leak occurs even when the water is turned off, it could also potentially end up costing you more money due to all the wasted water. The good news is that most shower leaks are something that can easily be fixed on your own. Here is everything you need to know to do so.

Leaky Showerhead vs. Obstructed Flow

Before getting into how to fix your leaky showerhead, it is first important to note the difference between an actual leak and a showerhead that simply will not allow water to flow properly. When we say leak, we mean water dripping out of the faucet or shower handle even when it is turned off. This issue is usually related to a problem with the shower faucet not being able to fully close.

There are also many times when people complain about water leaking out of where the showerhead screws onto the shower arm. This issue usually indicates that either the showerhead is clogged or not screwed on tightly. Typically, this issue will only occur when the shower is on, as otherwise there should be no water inside the pipe.

How to Fix a Leaky Shower Arm or Clogged Showerhead

If you are dealing with an issue where water will not flow out of the showerhead properly or drips out from where the head connects to the pipe coming from the wall, this either indicates that the head is blocked or not tightly attached. Luckily, these issues are both simple to fix.

Start by unscrewing the showerhead from the pipe. It should come off fairly easily, but you might need a towel to get a better grip on it. If it does not turn at all, this indicates that the showerhead is corroded and needs to be replaced. In this situation, you may need channel-lock pliers to help remove it.

Once the showerhead is off, remove and inspect the rubber O-rings and screen from inside the head to make sure they are not damaged and not clogged. If the O-rings are cracked or damaged in any way, they will need to be replaced. Next, soak the screen and the showerhead in vinegar for one to two hours to loosen up any mineral deposits. Finally, rinse everything with warm water and, if necessary, use a soft-bristled brush to remove any deposits that are still stuck on the head or clogging the holes.

Once the showerhead is fully clean, reassemble it by carefully placing the screen and O-rings back inside. Before screwing the head back on, scrub the threads on the pipe to make sure they are clean, and then wipe the pipe so that it is dry. You should then tightly wind pipe-thread tape around the threads to ensure that the showerhead has a good seal, and then screw the head back onto the pipe by hand as tightly as you can.

How to Fix a Shower That Drips When the Water Is Not On

If your shower is leaking when the water is not on, you will need to take apart the faucet handle and replace the faucet cartridge valve. This is usually a fairly easy problem to fix on your own. However, if you are not comfortable, then it is best to enlist the help of a professional plumber to make sure the job is done correctly.

In most cases, shower leaks result because the faucet cartridge is worn out and no longer seals properly. The cartridge valve is responsible for maintaining proper water flow and mixing the hot and cold water to maintain a consistent temperature and prevent scalding. Over time, the cartridge valve will eventually become worn-out and need to be replaced to prevent leaking.

Before getting started, you will need to purchase a replacement valve either online or at a home improvement or plumbing supply store. These cartridges vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so it is important to find one that is designed for your specific type or brand of shower. Most manufacturers use the same standard cartridge valve, which means it should be easy to find a replacement as long as you know the brand of shower you have. If not, you may want to remove the old cartridge first and take it to the store with you to make it easier to find the replacement part you need. Most stores will have guides or books that allow employees to identify the brand and type of cartridge valve you need.

Steps for Replacing the Faucet Cartridge

The exact process for accessing the faucet cartridge can vary slightly depending on the type and brand of showerhead. Still, most showers have a small cap at the end of the handle that can be pried off with a screwdriver. After popping the cap off, you should see a small Phillips or hex-head screw. Use a screwdriver or Allen wrench to loosen this screw and take the handle off.

Once the handle is off, you should see several screws that hold the faucet faceplate or escutcheon to the wall. After removing these screws, you may also need to cut through the caulking around the faceplate to take it off the wall.

Before going any further, you will now need to make sure to shut off the water to the shower, or else it will leak everywhere as soon as you remove the cartridge. Some types of shower faucets have shutoff valves inside of them that allow you to turn off the water directly at the faucet. If this is the case, you should see two small shutoff valves where the hot and cold supply lines come into the faucet. In this situation, all you need to do is use a screwdriver and turn each one as far as it will go. If you do not see a shutoff valve, then you will likely need to find your house’s main shutoff valve and turn the water off there instead.

Once you are sure that the water is off, it is time to take out the old cartridge and put the new one in. On most showers, there will be a small U-shaped metal retaining clip holding the cartridge in place. Use a flat-head screwdriver to carefully pry off the clip. If there are any washers on the clip, remove them also. Depending on the brand of shower, the cartridge can either be simply pulled out or you may need to loosen a hex nut holding it in place.

Once the old cartridge is out, simply put the new cartridge in and replace the retaining clip. Finally, screw the faceplate back to the wall, and then reassemble the faucet. After the faucet is back together, turn the water back on and check to make sure it no longer leaks. If the leak is fixed, the last step is to use caulk or silicone sealant to reseal around the faceplate to make sure no water can get inside.

Professional Plumbing Repairs and Services

If you are dealing with a leak or any other plumbing issue, the experienced plumbers at Green Energy Mechanical Inc are ready to help. We specialize in leak detection and repairs, and we also work on all types of water heaters and sump pumps. Our team consists of certified HVAC technicians who can repair, maintain, and install any type of heating or cooling equipment from any brand. We work on both residential and commercial HVAC systems, and our team can also help with duct sealing, duct cleaning, and indoor air quality. Our company is located in Canton, and we serve customers throughout Norfolk County and the greater Boston metro area. If you have any questions or need to schedule plumbing or HVAC service, give us a call today.

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