Never changed a shower head before?
No worries! By the end of this guide you’ll be a pro at changing any shower head in your home.
Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand before you start the job:
In order to change a shower head, you will need a few supplies. These includes the following:
- Adjustable wrench
- Teflon tape (also known as plumber’s tape or thread seal tape)
- Microfiber or cleaning cloth
- Wire brush or toothbrush
- New shower head
Steps to change your shower head
Step 1. Turn Off the Tap
It may seem obvious, but make sure the shower faucet is off. You don’t need to shut off the water to your entire house – unless you are also changing the shower valve.
Step 2. Remove the Old Shower Head
In some cases, removing the old shower head can be done by manually turning it counterclockwise until the fixture loosens enough to come off of the shower arm pipe. If you find that the shower head won’t budge – don’t fret, you can wrap a towel around the base of the shower head for protection and then use the wrench to grip and screw it off the shower arm pipe.
Step 3. Clean the Shower Arm Threads
More than likely you may find some limescale or rust on the threads of the shower arm pipe, especially if you live in an area with hard water, and it is important to clean this off prior to installing the new shower head. By cleaning this off, you’ll ensure a watertight seal when applying the plumbing tape.
Step 4. Wrap the Threads with Plumbing Tape
With your plumbing tape, wrap it around the treads of the shower arm two or three times in a clockwise direction. It is important to go clockwise (rather than counterclockwise) as when you screw the new shower head on, it will tighten the tape and create a better seal rather than unraveling it.
For extra assurance, you can also press the thread seal tape into the screw thread of the shower arm before attaching the new shower head.
Step 5. Attach the New Shower Head
Take a look at the new shower head’s manual to see if it requires anything additional with its installation before continuing. Then you can screw on the new shower head by hand until it is tight. Now, wrap the shower head with the microfiber or washcloth and use the wrench to give the shower head a quarter turn to tighten and align the new appliance.
You don’t want to over or undertighten here as either may cause leaks.
Step 6. Check Your Work
Now turn on the shower to check for any leaks. If there are leaks, then either the plumbing tape wasn’t sufficiently applied or you may have over/under tightened the shower head. You’ll have to repeat steps 2-5 again to fix the leak.
Once you turn on the shower and there are no leaks, you can turn the water off and enjoy your new shower head!
Related: How Often to Replace a Shower Head?
There are many helpful videos available online that can show you how to change a shower head and explain the steps more in-depth. Here are a few we think do an excellent job of explaining the process:
Here are a few tips when selecting a new shower head and replacing your old shower head
- If you have any trouble getting the old shower head loose, try spraying it with WD-40 or another lubricant.
- If your new shower head has a slide-bar mount or a handheld attachment, make sure to follow the shower head’s installation manual as it may need additional steps.
- If you are concerned about chlorine or mineral contaminants in your water, now is a great time to add a shower filtration unit that fits between the shower arm and shower head.
- If you are concerned about water use, you may want to consider a low-flow shower head or add in a different restrictor valve to your shower head.
While changing a shower head is generally a simple and straightforward process, there are a few warnings that should be noted. These include the following:
- If you are not comfortable working with plumbing, you may want to hire a professional to change your shower head. This doesn’t always have to be a plumber, a handyman can also do the job.
- Do not tighten the shower head too much or it may move the shower arm pipe in the wall and damage it.
- Make sure to always check for water leaks as it could lead to costly repairs.
- If your new shower head requires additional plumbing or if it is more complex, like a shower panel, it may be best to hire a professional for the installation.
It can be quite stressful when deciding which shower head is best for you and your bathroom. Thankfully, the installation of the new shower head is typically easy and can be done fairly quickly most of the time. Make sure you follow the new shower head’s manual for any additional steps and safety practices. We hope that this guide walked you through the necessary steps for a successful job and help you along to an improved shower experience.