Leaking shower | Signs, possible causes, and how to fix it

25 June 2022

General

Is there anything more inconvenient than a dripping shower? A dripping shower can waste up to 5,500 litres of water each year, which is bad for both the environment and your budget. Furthermore, if the leak is coming from your shower valve, it may be seeping behind your bathroom’s walls. 

Over time, this can lead to dry rot, mould, and structural difficulties, which can be dangerous and expensive to repair. This article examines the causes of leaking showers and shares advice on how to resolve this plumbing issue. 

 

Why is my shower leaking?

When a shower leaks, it is usually due to sediment build-up clogging the holes in the shower head, or an issue with the faucet valve. It’s also possible that the O-ring that seals your shower head needs to be changed.

For the former problem, silt or lime build-up can block the perforations in the shower head and prevent water from flowing freely. If this is the case, the situation will very certainly deteriorate. Over time, the water stream diminishes, becoming more of a trickle than a spray. When a small amount of water drips, even when the faucet is turned off, the shower leaks. The cartridge insert in the faucet valve is to blame for leaking showers. 

The flow of hot and cold water, via the faucet body, to the shower head is controlled by this component. Disassembling the faucet and replacing the faulty cartridge that controls the water flow will remedy the problem. If you are unable to locate the issue, it is recommended that you consult a professional plumber.

Other common reasons why showers leak

Here are some more reasons why your shower may be leaking:

  • Worn shower hose: Shower hoses go through a lot of wear and tear and can degrade over time.
  • Faulty mixer tap: The shower mixer tap leaks most of the time due to a deteriorated rubber seal. You’ll discover it between the mixer’s neck and spout, and you’ll need to replace the damaged seal ring to stop the leak.
  • Cracked shower tiled surface: Even watertight surfaces can be the source of a leak from time to time. Water gets between the tiles as your tile grout cracks, eventually soaking into the surface behind or beneath them.

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Why is it important to get shower leaks fixed?

Apart from being inconvenient, shower leaks can also lead to different plumbing problems down the road if not addressed. Ignoring a water leak in your shower can lead to many complications. Water from the leak can accumulate behind the bathroom tiles, causing them to loosen. 

The water can also lead to a build-up of rust, which, in turn, can affect the water fittings, and mould, which is a health hazard. It is, therefore, important to check for leaks if you suspect water damage.

 

How do I find out where my shower is leaking from?

These tests will help you locate the source of your shower leak.

Splash leak test

When water leaks past a shower door or curtain, it is known as a splash leak. Pour water around the door frame if you have a shower door. Check to see if water leaks out after at least five minutes. In the event of water leaking, look for holes between the rubber door sweeps or gaskets. Also, if the shower door is caulked to the wall or floor, search for holes there as well.

Fixture leak test

Leaks could be coming from your shower head or faucets. Make sure the spray holes in your shower head are clear of obstructions. Remove the shower head if possible and inspect the O-ring seal for wear. Also, look at the escutcheons, which are the flat metal elements that surround the shower head or faucet pipes. These should be securely fastened to the shower wall.

Tile leak test

Water can accumulate behind walls due to damaged grout and tile. Examine the grout from floor to ceiling with care. Look for any tiles that are loose or cracked. If your search reveals no issues, go one step further by soaking each wall individually. Look for any signs of water seepage.

Drain leak test

If a drain is worn out or not properly sealed, water can seep around the edges. If the drain can be seen via basement joists or an access panel, plug it, run some water, then release the plug and look for water. Plug the drain, run some water, and mark the edge of the puddle if you don’t have easy access to it. Check the size of the shower floor puddles after roughly an hour, and if it’s smaller, you have a drain leak.

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Floor leak test

Allow the shower floor to dry completely before determining if it is cracked. The drain should be tightly covered or plugged. Fill the shower with several buckets of water, filling the base to the threshold, and wait. In the event of a significant leak, water marks on the ceiling of a multi-story home or on the basement floor joists can develop after 15 minutes. However, obvious evidence of a floor leak could take up to eight hours to develop.

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How much does it cost to fix a leaking shower?

In Canada, the cost of repairing leaking pipes ranges from $ 55 to $ 7,160. This type of work costs an average of $ 559. Depending on where you are in Canada, the cost may differ. In areas where there is a lot of competition, plumbers may charge cheaper fees. 

Plumbers may also be required to charge extra for repairs that require them to travel large distances, or in places where the cost of living is higher. Most plumbers in Canada charge an hourly rate for repairing leaky water supply pipes, with lower rates for minor repairs and higher rates for more difficult repairs like a leaking sewer pipe.

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How to fix a leaking shower

Whenever you have a plumbing problem, you should hire an experienced plumber. If you don’t, you risk causing more problems or damage to your bathroom. Once you’ve identified an issue, you should figure out which part of your shower is leaking. It will most likely be the valve or the shower head.

Fixing the shower head

Step 1: Make sure that the shower head is clean

After turning off the water, clean out any dirt and filth that may be clogging the unit and causing poor water flows and obstructions, which can lead to leaks. Take care not to bend or damage the angled shower arm when removing the shower head. When servicing or changing the shower head, it may be easier to simply separate the entire shower arm from the threaded drop-ear elbow fitting within the wall and replace it with a new one.

Step 2: Secure the washer

Examine the O-ring, also known as a washer, which prevents water from flowing out. It’s time to replace the washer if it appears to be worn or damaged. Apply thread seal tape to the threads on the pipe stem’s tip if everything appears to be in order. This will help build a protective seal and keep the threads from seizing.

Step 3: Reattach the parts

Tighten the shower head by hand until it is secure, then tighten it even further with pliers. Finally, turn on the water and double-check that everything is in working order. After turning off the shower, look for any signs of leakage. 

Valve repair

Step 1: Take everything apart

First, turn off the water and remove the handle from the valve. By releasing the centre screw with a screwdriver, this portion can be easily removed. After that, the escutcheon plate (metal cover) must be removed to gain access to the inside components. This should be a simple job because it employs screws as well. You don’t want any screws to fall down the drain, so make sure they’re carefully stored.

The gasket behind the escutcheon plate will need to be replaced with plumber’s putty, which aids in the waterproofing of joints and makes them more durable. Simply remove the gasket and replace it. Then you’ll need to locate the shower stem. This will be kept in a detachable sleeve to which you will have access.

Step 2: Swap out the washers

Remove and replace all of the washers associated with the shower stem at this time to maximise efficiency and minimize backtracking if the wrong washer is replaced. Make sure to check the valve stem seat at this point since if it is damaged, the shower will continue to leak.

Step 3: Put everything back together

Before reassembling the valve, clean the pipes using the same solution you used to clean the shower head. Then, working backwards, reinstall each valve component until the valve is completely rebuilt. At this point, your shower should be leak-free.

 

Plumbing services

The plumbers at Plomberie Pro-Drain provide you with the highest quality and value for your money. Our licensed plumbers will ensure that your home or business plumbing systems are up-to-date and in compliance with all current laws. 

Bathroom plumbing, shower redesign, or repair can all be handled by Plomberie Pro-Drain. If you need substantial plumbing work for a building or restoration project, our team of professionals has the resources, equipment, and knowledge to ensure that all of your installations are stable, clean, and meet all standards. 

Throughout the greater Montreal area and its environs, our plumbers deliver prompt and personalised service. Whatever your plumbing problem or shower type, we have the expertise to meet your needs.

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