How to fix a dripping shower head?

16 December 2021


Is there anything more aggravating than a leaking shower head that drips? If the noise isn’t enough to drive you insane, the fact that so much water is being wasted might. A leaky shower head can waste up to 5,500 litres of water per year, which is terrible for the environment as well as your wallet. 

Furthermore, if the leak is coming from your shower valve, it could also be leaking behind the walls of your bathroom. This can develop into dry rot, mould, and structural issues over time, which can be unsafe and costly to fix. This article looks at the reasons behind a leaking shower head and provides you with step-by-step instructions on how to fix it.


Why is my shower head leaking?

When a shower head is leaking it is usually because sediment build-up has clogged the holes of your shower head, or they may be a problem with your faucet valve. Alternatively, the O-ring that seals your shower head might need to be replaced.

For the prior issue, sediment or lime build-up has clogged the holes in the shower head, preventing water from flowing freely through the multiple port apertures. If this is the case, the problem will likely worsen. The water stream decreases over time, becoming more of a drip than a spray. This isn’t a leaking shower head, but rather one that isn’t flowing properly. The repair is straightforward, requiring only the removal and cleaning of the shower head.

Showers are leaking when a little amount of water flows even when the faucet is turned off. Leaking shower heads are caused by the cartridge insert in the faucet valve. This component controls the flow of hot and cold water through the faucet body and to the shower head. The problem can be solved by disassembling the faucet and replacing the faulty cartridge that controls the water flow.

The most common cause of a leaky shower head is worn or damaged inner seals. Your shower’s rubber washers or O-rings operate as a seal between the shower head and the shower hose, keeping water from leaking out. These deteriorate over time, and when they do, water begins to flow out. Finding out why your shower is leaking is frequently a process of elimination. If you cannot find the problem, however, it is best to contact a professional plumber.

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Why does my shower head drip hours after I turn it off?

A single handle regulates both hot and cold-water flow in many contemporary showers. A valve body with a cylindrical hard plastic cartridge is hidden behind the handle in the wall. Even when the handle is in the “off” position, water might seep through if the cartridge becomes worn or cracked. Water may drip or trickle from the shower head as a result of this.

In this case, changing the worn cartridge necessitates cutting off the shower’s water supply. Remove the shower handle (which is kept in place with a little screw) and the decorative faceplate, as well as the cap that covers the valve body stem to gain access to the cartridge (by twisting or by removing a screw, depending on the model).

Remove the stem cover, which should come off easily, to reveal the plastic cartridge’s end. A twist-on nut or a clip are used to secure most cartridges. Remove the nut or clip, then hold the stem of the cartridge with pliers and pull the cartridge out. Install the replacement cartridge and reinstall the faucet after taking the worn cartridge to the hardware store for an exact match. If changing the cartridge doesn’t fix your leaking shower head, the valve body is probably broken. Regrettably, replacing a valve body is a plumber’s job!


Tips to fix a dripping shower head

When you turn off a shower faucet and water continues to drip from the shower head, it’s natural to instinctively close the handle as firmly as you can. Unfortunately, this is likely to aggravate the situation so it’s best to make sure the faucet handle is completely turned off, but not too tight. Furthermore, place rags in the tub or shower floor beneath the faucets and over the drain to protect the surfaces and prevent small parts from falling down the drain when working on shower faucets.

Once done, follow these steps to fix your shower head:

Step 1: Turn Off the Water

Turn off the water supply to the shower by finding it at your boiler and turning it off. You will be able to avoid any unpleasant surprises in the future as a result of this. It’s a good idea to keep a towel nearby in case there’s any trapped water that will seep out.

Step 2: Clean the Shower Head

After turning off the water, the next step is to remove any debris and grime that may be impacting the unit, resulting in poor water flow and obstructions that can lead to leaks. When uninstalling the shower head, take care not to bend or damage the angled shower arm. If the parts are old, it may be easier to simply detach the entire shower arm from the threaded drop-ear elbow fitting within the wall and replace it with a new one while servicing or replacing the shower head.

There are special cleaning products on the market that are effective, but a more cost-efficient option is to heat distilled white vinegar in a pot of water. As a result, you’ll have a cleaning solution that’s free of harsh chemicals that could harm your shower. Remove your shower head and submerge it in the solution for a few minutes before agitating with a toothbrush to remove any remaining filth. This should clear any dirt that has accumulated and improve your showering experience.

Step 3: Secure

Examine the O-ring or washer, which is the component that keeps water from leaking out. If it appears to be worn or damaged, it’s time to replace it. If everything appears to be in order, simply apply thread seal tape to the threads on the pipe stem’s tip. This will aid in the formation of a protective seal and the prevention of any threads seizing.

Step 4: Reattach

Tighten the shower head by hand until it is secure before using pliers to tighten it even further. Finally, restart the water supply and double-check that everything is working properly. Check for any evidence of leakage after turning off the shower. The measures you took should have resolved your problem.


How to Fix a Dripping Shower Valve

Step 1: Switch of Water

Before you begin, identify your main water supply and make sure it is shut off, just as you did with the shower head.

Step 2: Disassemble

Remove the handle from the valve first. This part can be readily removed by loosening the centre screw with a screwdriver. In order to gain access to the interior components, the escutcheon plate (metal cover) must be removed after this. Because it also uses screws, this should be a straightforward job. Make sure any screws are stored safely, as you don’t want them to fall down the drain.

Plumber’s putty will need to be used to replace the gasket behind the escutcheon plate. This putty is specifically developed to assist in the waterproofing of joints, making them more dependable as a result. Simply remove and replace the gasket. After that, you’ll need to find the shower stem. This will be contained in a detachable sleeve that will provide you access.

Step 3: Replace Washers

To optimise efficiency and avoid backtracking if you replace the wrong washer, remove and replace all of the washers associated with the shower stem at this time. At this point, make sure to inspect the valve stem seat because if it is damaged the shower will continue to leak. You should be able to find the seat by looking inside the valve’s body.

The designs of cartridges differ from one manufacturer to the next, as do the methods for removing them. Special cartridge-puller tools are made by some manufacturers to make it easier to remove their cartridges. For this procedure, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. You can find the printed instructions for your faucet online if you no longer have them. Shower valves that are thermostatic or pressure-balancing may have unique techniques for replacing cartridges and modifying temperature settings that are exclusive to the manufacturer.

Step 4: Reassemble

Clean the pipes using the same solution you used to clean the shower head before reassembling the valve. Then, working backwards, reinstall each component of the valve until it is fully rebuilt. Your shower should be leak-free at this point.


Plumbing Services Near You

Plomberie Pro-Drain’s team of experts will give you the best quality and value for your money. Our licensed plumbers will guarantee that the plumbing systems in your home or business are up to date and comply with all applicable legislation.

Plomberie Pro-Drain can assist you with bathroom plumbing, air conditioning, heating, plumbing steel pipes, or a shower redesign or repair. Our team of professionals has the resources, equipment, and experience to ensure that all your installations are stable, clean, and comply with all standards if you need extensive plumbing work for a building or restoration project. Our plumbers provide timely, friendly, and personalised service throughout the greater Montreal area and its environs.


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