Is the fixture in your shower leaky? Are the shower spray nozzles dirty or clogged? Replacing a shower head is a simple DIY task that most homeowners can do with just a few tools and supplies. Whether you are upgrading to a handheld shower head or installing a dual shower head, here is how to install a shower head. With these seven steps, you can replace the shower fixture in as little as an hour.
How Do You Install a New Shower Head?
Gather Tools and Supplies
In order to install a shower head, you will need a few tools and supplies. This includes a replacement shower fixture, an adjustable wrench, plumber’s or Teflon tape, and a rag or towel.
You should always use an adjustable wrench instead of slip-joint pliers. The adjustable wrench, also called a plumber’s wrench has a smooth surface. Most pliers have a textured surface that can damage the connection hose or bolt on the replacement head.
You will also need a bucket, soap, and a rag to clean the shower arm pipe threads. In some cases, you may need a wire brush to clean the old plumber’s tape out of the pipe threads. You can also use an old toothbrush.
Shut Off the Water
Once you have the necessary supplies, you need to turn off the water supply to the shower. There is usually a shutoff valve in the wall behind the shower, but other times it is located in the utility closet. Once the valve is off, open the faucet to drain the fixture completely.
Remove the Existing Shower Head
With the water off, use the adjustable wrench to remove the existing shower head. Loosen the bolt with the wrench, turning it in a counterclockwise direction.
Once it is loose enough, you can use your fingers to remove the fixture completely. Although you shut off the water and drain the pipes, expect some water to leak out as you remove the head.
Clean or Replace the Shower Arm
Now clean the shower arm. This is the short pipe that comes out of the wall where the shower fixture attaches. Start by removing the existing Teflon plumber’s tape.
It is important to clean the threads thoroughly. Otherwise, the new shower fixture can leak. If necessary, use a wire brush or even an old toothbrush to scrub out the shower arm threads.
Then clean the shower arm with warm, soapy water.
Cover the Threads With Teflon Tape
Carefully wrap the shower arm pipe threads with Teflon tape. This is a special plumber’s tape that seals the threads and prevents water leaks.
Unroll several inches of tape, then hold the end parallel to the water flow. Then slowly wrap the tape around the pipe in a counterclockwise direction.
After the tape is secure, fold the parallel end back over the threads and wrap around it one or two more times. This will help lock the tape down and prevent it from slipping while you install the replacement head.
Install the New Shower Head
With the plumber’s tape in place, start threading the new shower head onto the pipe with your hand. Turn the head in a clockwise direction to tread it onto the pipe. Then use the adjustable wrench to tighten it down. It should be tool-tight, but you do not need to use excessive force. Give it a quarter to a half rotation after it feels tight.
Turn On the Water and Check for Leaks
With the new shower fixture installed, carefully turn on the water a half turn. Check the faucet for leaks around the shower arm. Tighten the shower head with an adjustable wrench if necessary. If it does not leak, slowly open the water shutoff valve until it is completely open. Finally, turn on the shower faucet. If it leaks at any step, tighten the head down until it stops. If it does not stop leaking, remove the head, replace the Teflon tape, and then reattach and test it.
Know When To Get Professional Help
As long as you have the right tools, most homeowners can install a shower head on their own. But you should always know your limits. If you do not have the right tools or you are concerned about leaks or repair issues, you should always call in the pros.
Frequently Asked Questions About Replacement Shower Head Installation
Here are the more commonly asked questions about shower fixture installation and replacement.
Can You Install a Replacement Shower Head On Your Own?
Yes, most handy homeowners can replace a shower head on their own. Aside from cleaning supplies, you only need an adjustable wrench and plumber’s tape. In most cases, you can replace the shower head in one to two hours.
How Much Does It Cost To Install a Shower Head?
On average, replacing a shower head costs $30 to $200 dollars. The bulk of the cost is the new shower head, which ranges from $25 to $150 or more. An adjustable wrench will cost $10 to $20, and Teflon tape is another $5. A wire brush is about $5 as well.
When Should You Replace Your Shower Head?
The most common reason to replace your shower head is to upgrade for comfort, style, or looks. This includes installing a wand, waterfall, or rain-style fixture to make your life more comfortable or because you want to upgrade the look of your shower.
Other reasons to replace the fixture are if it leaks or is extremely dirty. Mineral deposits can also clog the spray head, causing the shower spray to be weaker than it once was.
If you need to install a shower head, you should call a local plumber. They can inspect your bathroom plumbing and properly install the new shower fixture quickly and affordably.
A plumber can also install a new shower arm, replacement shower faucets, and other plumbing fixtures.
They may even sell new fixtures, especially if you are already having other plumbing work done. Their selection may include economy options, but they usually use name brands.
Alternatively, you can call a local handyperson. They have the necessary general plumbing knowledge to replace your shower head. However, you normally need to purchase the faucet first.