How to Fix Dripping Shower Head

A dripping shower head can be annoying, not to mention that it is costly. Now, this problem happens due to various reasons, but this does not mean that you have to call on a professional to solve it for you, as you can do it DIY style. Yes, this task may be easier than you think, so before spending more money for a plumbing service, you can first try the following methods to fix your dripping shower head.

Replacing a Damaged Cartridge Valve

If you got a one-handle shower faucet, then the problem can be caused by a malfunctioning cartridge valve, which you have to replace.

1. Shut off the water supply to your bathroom or the main water supply to your home.

2. Remove the faucet handle by loosening and removing the faucet handle screw, which may be covered by a cap on the handle or already exposed. Once you remove the screw, you can pull off the handle with a puller. Then, remove the stop tube, unscrew the retaining clip of the cartridge with a small screwdriver and remove the handle washer. By this time, you should be able to see the cartridge stem.

3. Based on the recommended method by the manufacturer, remove and replace the cartridge. However, most types of cartridge will require you to first unscrew the hex nut covering the cartridge stem, untwist the stem and then remove it with pliers. If it is difficult to do with pliers, then you can use a cartridge puller to untwist the stem. Once the old cartridge is removed, then insert the new one in place and screw it in.

4. Re-assemble the faucet handle by reversing the steps you used to disassemble it. Once everything is replaced, turn the water supply back on to check if your shower head is no longer dripping.

Cleaning or Replacing a Damaged Diverter Valve

A diverter valve lets water to switch from the tub’s faucet to the shower head, and over time, this component can weaken and become clogged by sediment build-up. If it malfunctions, it can cause shower leaks even when water should be flowing through the tub’s faucet. Now, you can fix the problem by cleaning or replacing it.

1. Shut off the water supply to your bathroom or the one that supplies you entire home.

2. Locate the screw that secures the faucet handle, which may be hidden under a cap or already exposed, to gain access to the diverter valve. You will be able to remove the cap with a pocket knife.

3. Remove the diverter valve by separating the valve assembly from the hex nut on the stem of your faucet and unscrewing it.

4. With the diverter valve removed, you will be able to determine if it needs cleaning or replacing. If it is the former, you can use a small stiff wire brush and white vinegar to remove sediment build-up. If you see some cracks on it, then you need to replace the valve assembly.

5. Re-assemble the faucet handle in a reverse manner you have disassembled it. But before screwing it back on, turn the water supply back on first to see if the leak is already fixed.

Replacing a Worn Rubber Washer

A dripping shower head can also be caused by a worn out O-ring or rubber washer, which starts to crack over time. To replace it, follow these steps:

1. Shut off the water supply to your bathroom or the one that supplies water to your entire home.

2. Take note that you can either replace the rubber washer in your shower faucet or in your shower head, which means that you have to determine the type of shower faucet you are having. For a compression or 2-handle faucet, you need to replace the rubber washer inside the faucet. For a single-handle faucet, then the rubber washer is likely located inside the shower head.

3. To replace the rubber washer in the shower head, begin by taking the head apart. While various brands are built differently, there is usually a collar nut that is fitted to the shower arm, so loosen it with a wrench to separate the head from the arm. Once you removed it, check beneath the swivel ball to find the rubber washer. Pull the washer off and then replace it with the new one.

4. To replace the rubber washer in the faucet, disassemble first the faucet handle by unscrewing it. Depending on the type of your faucet, the screw may be hidden under a cap or may already be in plain sight. Once you have removed the screw, pull the handle off of the faucet body. If you have difficulty doing it by hand, then you might need to use a faucet puller. Once you have taken off the handle, remove the trim and sleeve covering the faucet stem. Then, unscrew the stem with a deep socket, as it is most likely held down by a hex nut. By this time, you will be able to replace the rubber washer. You can also replace the seals and the flat washer at the end of the stem if you bought the faucet’s washer kit.

5. Connect the shower head back onto the shower arm or put your faucet back together and then turn your water supply back on. Confirm is the leak has been fixed or not.

More Useful Tips

Before you start disassembling things, make sure you have completely shut off to avoid an unnecessary mess. Also, line the floor of your bath tub or shower and then cover the drain to protect your tub and shower from damage and prevent yourself from losing necessary materials and pieces down the drain. When purchasing components to replace in your shower faucet or head, you should make sure that it will work on the brand of your faucet. Moreover, do not over-tighten the faucet handle, as it can cause damage to the valve and work carefully when you remove the shower head to prevent scratches or damage.

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