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Jul 08 2023

How to Fix a Leaking Shower Head

Has your peaceful morning routine been disrupted by the irritating drip-drip sound from your shower head? Even more frustrating is the water wastage and the potential increase in your utility bill due to a seemingly insignificant leak. At Rooter Hero Plumbing & Air, we understand this problem all too well. Read below to find out how to diagnose and fix your leaking shower head.

Why Is My Shower Head Leaking?

Firstly, let's understand why shower heads leak. There could be several culprits like clogged holes in the shower head, worn-out washers, a faulty diverter valve, or a problematic cartridge valve. Identifying the cause is the first step toward fixing the problem. With a little patience and some basic tools, most of these issues can be solved without calling in a plumber.

The Art of Unclogging the Shower Head

One of the most common causes of a leaking shower head is clogging. Mineral deposits and sediment from hard water can build up over time, causing the water to leak out even when the shower is off. Here is an effective way to unclog your shower head:

  • Removal: Unscrew the shower head from the hose or wall. You might need to use a wrench, but be sure to protect the finish of your shower head with a cloth.
  • Cleaning: Soak the shower head in a bowl of white vinegar for a few hours. The vinegar will break down the mineral deposits and clear the clogs.
  • Rinsing: After soaking, use an old toothbrush to scrub away any remaining debris, then rinse thoroughly with water.
  • Reinstallation: Once clean, screw the shower head back onto the hose or wall. Remember to ensure it's securely fastened.

Check if the leak has stopped. If it continues, the issue may lie elsewhere.

The Role of Worn Washers: Time for a Replacement

If unclogging the shower head didn't stop the leak, the problem might be a worn-out washer. Washers are small rubber components that seal the connection points in your shower's plumbing, preventing water from leaking out. Over time, these can become worn and no longer provide a water-tight seal. Here is how you can replace the worn washers:

  • Locating the Washer: You will usually find the washer within the joint that connects the shower head to the hose or wall. Unscrew the shower head to locate it.
  • Removal and Replacement: Use a screwdriver or a similar tool to carefully remove the worn washer. Replace it with a new washer of the same size.
  • Reinstallation: Screw the shower head back onto the hose or wall.

After replacing the washer, check if the shower head still leaks. If it does, the issue may be more complex, like a problem with the diverter valve or cartridge valve.

Fixing the Flow: Replacing the Diverter Valve

The diverter valve is a crucial component that directs the water flow from the faucet to the shower head. When it's faulty, it can cause a leak. Here's how to replace the diverter valve:

  • Removal: Begin by unscrewing and removing your faucet handle. You might need a screwdriver for this. Beneath the handle, you will see the diverter valve.
  • Replacement: Remove the faulty diverter valve and replace it with a new one of the same type and size.
  • Reassembly: Once the new diverter is in place, reassemble the faucet handle.

If the shower head continues to leak after replacing the diverter valve, the last likely culprit is the cartridge valve.

Solving the Drip: Replacing a Problem Cartridge Valve

The cartridge valve regulates the water pressure and temperature in your shower. If it's faulty, it could cause your shower head to leak. Here's how to replace it:

  • Removal: Start by removing the shower handle, just like when replacing the diverter valve. The cartridge valve is typically located right behind the diverter valve.
  • Replacement: Remove the problematic cartridge valve and replace it with a new one. Ensure the replacement is an exact match to the old one.
  • Reassembly: Put the shower handle back together and check to see if the leak has stopped.

Do You Need a Professional Plumbing Service for Your Leak?

Plumbing leaks can be more than just an annoyance. They waste water, lead to higher utility bills, and can even cause property damage if left ignored. If you have a leaking fixture and are looking for a qualified plumber who can help get the problem fixed quickly, call the team at Rooter Hero Plumbing. Our friendly staff can answer your questions and help schedule a convenient appointment for your next plumbing service.

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