Do you ever awaken in the dead of night to the sound of the dreaded drip?
There’s nothing worse for a homeowner than realizing that some part of your house is having a malfunction. And worse than just being irritating—and it is extremely irritating—a leaking showerhead can be wasteful. Believe it or not, a very leaky showerhead that releases—say, 120 drips per minute—can actually waste up to 330 gallons of water per month! Granted, that’s only $6 per month added to your water bill, but why let that extra $72 a year run quite literally down the drain?
Why Does My Showerhead Leak?
There can be a wide variety of reasons that may cause your showerhead to leak. In most cases, though, a dripping faucet can be fixed with a simple DIY and materials that you may already have lying around the house.
There’s no reason to let a leaky faucet run amok in your home. Fortunately, a leaky showerhead is a relatively simple fix. Today, let’s talk about how you can identify the issue plaguing your shower and how you can fix it.
Diagnosing Showerhead Problems
To identify the issue, the best place to start is the most obvious one: the showerhead itself. Problems that stem from the showerhead are usually the easiest to fix. You may need to tighten, clean, or replace the showerhead.
Begin by shutting off the water source to the shower. Then, remove the head from the shower arm by twisting it counterclockwise. It should be as simple as unscrewing the head as you would remove a lid from a jar. If you need an additional grip on the head, use a dampened towel, not a wrench.
Inside the head, you should see rubber o-rings and a screen. Make sure that they’re in good shape and that the screen isn’t clogged with debris. This debris can come in the form of hard water scale buildup or even small, degraded chunks of rubber gasket from the showerhead connector. Whatever the case may be, this little bit of debris can cause a big problem for your showerhead.
Here’s an easy at-home remedy for cleaning your showerhead: submerge it in a bowl of white vinegar for an hour or two, then rinse with cold water. To help prevent future leakage, wrap the shower thread – the grooves at the end of the shower arm – with Teflon tape to give it a nice, tight seal. Then screw the showerhead back onto the arm.
The other issue that can arise is that your single-handle faucet may need its cartridge replaced. That’s right; cartridges aren’t just for printers. Your faucet’s cartridge is responsible for regulating water flow, and if it can’t seal properly, water will push through the faucet and up to the showerhead, causing a loathsome drip. The issue here isn’t with the showerhead itself but what’s behind it; to fix it, you’ll have to go straight to the source.
Start by shutting off the water source to the shower stall and turning the handle to get the last of the water out of the showerhead. You’ll first need to remove the handle before you can take the plate cover off. Some handles will have a cap that you can pry off with a blunt knife or even the tip of a screwdriver. Once the cap is off, you should be able to unscrew the handle itself with a Phillips head screwdriver or an Allen key and then remove the faceplate—also called the ‘escutcheon.’
Once inside the faucet mechanism, remove the retaining clip, a thin, u-shaped piece of metal that looks a bit like a large bobby pin. Many handles will also have a washer and a hex nut that you’ll have to remove. There’s a chance that the existing cartridge will be wedged in tightly, and you may not be able to remove it with an adjustable wrench or pliers. In this case, you may need a special cartridge removal tool, as seen in this video.
After that, you should be able to simply slide in the new cartridge, reverse all the steps from before to put the faceplate, handle, and cap back on, and your showerhead should be leak-free!
No matter what issue you may be having with your showerhead, a little bit of patience, savvy, and elbow grease can help you get it working good as new. For any household fix-its and updates, J.T. McDermott Remodeling can help. So get in touch today and let us show you what we can do.