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How to Fix Your Leaking Showerhead in Five Easy Steps

Your showerhead is leaking. No matter how tightly you turn off the tap, it’s still just dripping…dripping…dripping.

This is a pretty common occurrence with showerheads, but that doesn’t mean you should just put up with the problem. A dripping showerhead can slowly but substantially add to your water bill, not to mention creating a ripe environment for mould and mildew to sprout. It’s also a gigantic waste of water and the dripping noise will eventually drive you around the bend (why does it always seem louder at night?!). To save your sanity and your wallet, you’ll need to fix the leak. Don’t panic. It may be easier than you think.

What causes a showerhead to leak?

Most showerhead issues are caused by either a problem in the showerhead itself, a degraded ‘O’ ring or a problem with the cartridge valve. If your showerhead leak seems to stem from a problem with the flow (water doesn’t come out evenly or dribbles from the base) then your showerhead might just need a clean to get rid of calcium build-up inside.

How do I fix a leaking showerhead?

  1. Start by turning off the water at the mains (this is always the first and most important step!). Then, use an adjustable wrench to loosen the showerhead and remove the cover plate. If you want to clean the showerhead, try soaking it in white vinegar for at least 8 hours, then rinsing it with clean water to remove loosened build-up. You can also just buy a replacement showerhead if you’d prefer.
  2. To reattach the showerhead, start by removing any loose materials from the end of the pipe, then wrap the thread of the pipe with Teflon tape (to help prevent leaks). Attach the showerhead and then use an adjustable wrench to tighten.
  3. Test the showerhead for leaks, and if necessary, add an additional layer of Teflon tape or try tightening the showerhead further. If this hasn’t fixed the problem, it could be that a degraded rubber washer is the culprit.
  4. Rubber washers are located behind the taps in your shower. These rubber washers help to prevent leaks by creating a watertight seal when you turn off the tap. However, over time (and particularly when taps are turned off very tightly) these washers will start to degrade, allowing the showerhead to leak. After making sure the mains water is off, unscrew the taps and remove the cover plate, the sleeve (the part that covers the stem sticking out of the wall) and any nuts.
  5. Remove the degraded rubber washer and replace with a new one. These are available to buy at most hardware or plumbing supply stores, just make sure you’ve got the same size as the existing to avoid problems. Once you’ve replaced the washer, reassemble the tap, turn on the water and test for leaks.

Can’t be bothered doing it yourself? Call Hilton Plumbing, your mate in the trade. We can fix any kind of plumbing issue, and we won’t even charge you a call-out fee.

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