A leaky showerhead can be both annoying and costly. After a few hours, the constant dripping noise is as brutal on the eardrums as nails on a chalkboard. And, even though a singular drip is only a few milliliters of water, it doesn’t take long before that leaky showerhead wastes hundreds of gallons – adding an extra zero to the end of the water bill.
Most homeowners don’t realize that a leaking showerhead is pretty simple to fix. There’s no need to buy a new one or, worse yet, hire a plumber. You can finish the job yourself in just a few short minutes with nothing more than a screwdriver, an adjustable wrench, and a washer that you can buy for a nickel at any hardware store.
Now that you’ve decided to take on the job yourself, you need to understand the two most common things that go wrong with showerheads. Either they start leaking at the point where the pipe screws into the actual showerhead, or the holes in the showerhead become clogged, causing water backups and creating a leak.
First, you’ll need to unscrew the showerhead from the outlet pipe. To protect the showerhead from damage, wrap a towel around the point where the head screws onto the outlet piping. Take the pliers and remove the head from the outlet. You’ll see the washer. Pull it off and replace it with the new one. If you think you need a tighter seal, use plumbers tape across the threads before screwing the showerhead back in.
Also, if you have a rotating or swiveling showerhead, you might as well take an extra step while you have it taken apart. To increase the swivel range and flexibility, take some lubricant, preferably silicone, and lube up the interior swivel ball before you screw the head back in.
If the holes in the showerhead are clogged, take off the faceplate by removing the screws attaching it to the head. If you can’t remove the faceplate, that’s okay, just keep the entire unit unscrewed. The reason showerheads get clogged is the lime deposits that are formed and get stuck in the holes over time. To get rid of the lime deposits, take either the faceplate or the whole showerhead, and soak it in a bowl of white vinegar for at least eight hours. This will dissolve the deposits, and make them easy to remove by sticking a toothpick or small nail through the holes in the showerhead. After that, scrub the faceplate with a stiff plastic brush and screw the unit back into the wall.