In Australia, studies have shown that about 90% of women and 80% of men shower every day. With showers being such a critical part of most people's schedules, it's important to know how to keep your shower in great condition.
There are many components to showers - a shower valve, a shower head, shower screens and shower arm are all parts that work together to keep a shower operating efficiently. But how do you handle diagnosing the issue of a leaking shower? Is it easy to fix leaking showers, or is this a job best left to the professionals?
If you're curious about how to handle your leaking or dripping shower head, we're here to help guide you. Read on for a quick overview of how to fix a leaking shower and perform basic repairs. We'll also highlight when it's best to leave the work to professional plumbers.
Generally speaking, unless you're certain in your abilities, it's best to hire professionals when dealing with a leaky showerhead. However, that doesn't mean you should only hire professionals if you don't know the best leaking showers fix.
Professionals come with their own tools, which are typically more varied and useful than tools the average DIY enthusiast can have. As such, you can usually save money by hiring professionals.
Many DIY enthusiasts are surprised by this, as part of the draw of a do-it-yourself fix is the lower cost. But if you need to buy multiple tools and all your supplies, you'll spend significantly more than if you hired professionals.
Professionals can also do a more thorough and aesthetically pleasing job. DIY fixes sometimes lead to ineffective fixes that need to be redone shortly after. In some cases, a DIY fix may lead to worsening the shower leak.
Finally, you also will enjoy having more time on your hands. DIY fixes can sometimes take days or weeks. In extreme cases, you may spend upwards of a month handling a complex fix.
Professionals have the knowledge and tools needed to complete even complex fixes as quickly as possible. You also have no need to supervise them, freeing you up for other projects in the interim.
In most cases, hiring a professional is simply the better option. You'll save time, money, and effort by doing so. The quality of work also may be better.
While shower head fixes are more for maintenance plumbers, our team at Tunnel Vision can locate the issue if it is caused by a leak in the wall or underground.
Finding the Leak
If you're set on doing a DIY fix, your first job is to find the leak. While this sounds simple, it isn't always the easiest task.
Some leaks may occur within the pipe behind your wall. The water may leak out from the shower head or the faucet, but the true leak is somewhere within the pipe.
Another example could be that you have a leaking shower head. Is the leak coming from a faulty o-ring, failing threading, or another issue?
Diagnose this issue before you move on. If you can't find the leak, you can't fix the problem. Randomly throwing general fixes like replacing components can increase the cost of the repair without fixing anything.
Handling a Leaking Shower Head
Do you have a shower head drip? Read on for all the steps necessary to handle this shower leaking fix.
Turn Off the Water Main
Your first step is to shut off the water main. The water main is what supplies water to your house. Be aware that shutting the water main off will turn off all of your home's water, so plan ahead!
In some living situations, such as flats, condos, or shared living spaces, this may not be possible. You may feel more comfortable hiring professionals in this situation.
The reason to turn off the water main is to stop water from gushing in. If the water main stays on, your leak may turn into a surge of water. Not only can this cause an immense mess and water damage, but it can also make fixing the leak impossible.
Remove the Shower Head
Afterwards, you should remove the entire shower head. The way to do so changes depending on what type of shower head you have, though it's generally a similar process.
If your shower head is leaking, begin by unscrewing it from the pipe. Turn the shower head left until it comes off of the pipe.
Some shower heads may come off in several pieces. Keep all pieces organised so that you can put your shower head back together properly.
Quick Internal Check
While you have the shower head off, you can check to see what condition it's in. While doing so, you may discover the reason for your leaky shower.
For example, most shower heads will have a plastic washer inside the threads. It also may be a rubber O-ring.
If this piece is missing, it can cause water to leak out when it transfers from the pipe to the shower head. If it's broken, the same issue can happen.
If this isn't the problem, it may be in the future, so replace it either way. These are inexpensive parts available at most hardware stores.
Cleaning the Shower Head
One reason for a leak may be stopped up or clogged holes in your shower head. If the holes are clogged, water can gather in the shower head and burst out of the sides out of having nowhere to go. Unclogging the holes can therefore fix your leak.
With the shower head removed, mix 700 mL of water and white vinegar. Let it boil and cut the heat off.
Place the shower head in this mixture for about half an hour. Scrub and rinse the shower head afterwards. Doing this process can help you remove most mineral build-up that can clog holes.
We strongly suggest removing the o-ring or washer before doing this process. Primarily, this is to avoid damaging components.
The rubber can change sizes in water this hot, which will cause an imperfect seal. Plastic can become brittle and break.
Quick Pipe Repair
Another point of failure for the average shower head is where it connects to the pipe coming out of the wall. The pipe in question is responsible for delivering water to the shower head, making their connection an important place to check.
Most often, this leak occurs because the shower head is incorrectly screwed in. Unscrew it, check the threading, and reattach it.
In other cases, the threading may be warped or broken. You can perform a quick repair by putting plumber's tape on the threading of the pipe. When you screw in the shower head, the tape will fill in the gaps that the broken threading has left.
Repairing a Leaky Faucet
While a shower leaking is often due to the shower head, shower faucets are also liable to leak. Here are the steps to fix your leaky shower faucet body.
Remove the Handle
Your first step is to remove the handle entirely. It's unlikely that the leak is due to the handle component itself being incorrectly installed. More likely, the leak is within the cartridge, plate, or another internal component, all of which require the handle to be removed.
The most common type of shower faucet is the cartridge-style faucet, which has a single handle. The handle turns left or right and changes temperatures and water pressure by doing so. These are simple enough to repair, but you should hire professionals for more complex double-handled types.
Pop the cap off of the centre of the handle. Using the appropriate screwdriver (most likely a flathead), unscrew the screw that is beneath the cap. We suggest covering the shower drain to stop screws from falling into the drain.
Replace the Cartridge
With the handle removed, you can more easily remove the cartridge. Look for a retaining clip, often at the top of the cartridge. Remove this with a pair of pliers or your screwdriver.
With the clip removed, slide the cartridge out. It's best to use pliers to pull it out, as there can be quite a bit of resistance in doing so.
If you already have a cartridge, you can proceed with replacing it. If not, wash this used cartridge off and take it to the hardware store. That way, you can more easily find a matching replacement.
Replace the Plate
If replacing the cartridge didn't stop the leak, you may have an issue with your faucet plate. Unscrew the screws keeping the plate held against the wall. Pry it off gently with a screwdriver, preferably a flathead.
Check the gasket, which is a rubber seal that runs along the edge of the plate. If it's missing or broken, replace it to fix the leak. You can also use putty to form a watertight seal.
Finding the Right Shower Leaking Fix with Tunnel Vision
Handling shower leaks can feel intimidating, but most DIY fixes are relatively simple. Make sure you accurately diagnose the cause and source of the leak so you don't waste time, money, and effort on the incorrect fix. In most cases, hiring professionals is a quicker and easier way to handle the problem.
Looking for the best professionals to handle your water leak needs? Tunnel Vision to see how we can help you fix a wide range of water leak issues. We're happy to help in Perth, Mandurah, and everywhere in between.
To learn about all things related to showers, sinks, and more, contact us today!