Given the increase in surface area, rain shower heads will hold significantly more water than standard shower heads. When you combine this with the fact that they are often mounted from the ceiling, when you turn off the water, gravity will eventually cause the surface tension of the water to break.
Some models may produce a slow, gradual drip, while others may produce a sudden gush of water.
This is normal, and the water will eventually stop dripping after a few minutes. However, if the water doesn’t stop dripping, then this is an indication that there is an underlying problem.
Here are six reasons why your rain shower head is leaking and how to fix it.
1. The shower cartridge may be worn out
If the water is still dripping for minutes or hours after being turned off, then the problem will be with your shower cartridge. Located behind the handle, the shower cartridge controls the flow of water.
Shower cartridges need to be regularly replaced as mineral buildup and normal wear and tear will result in the rubber seals and springs becoming worn out. T
Fortunately, changing a shower cartridge is rather easy. We discuss the process in further detail in this post.
If you aren’t comfortable with the process, you can hire a plumber to do this for you. Expect to pay roughly $100 to $500 for parts and labor.
2. If the leak is between the shower head and the shower arm
If water drips between the shower head and the shower arm while the shower is on, this indicates that the plumber’s tape or the O-ring is worn out.
To fix this, you’ll need to do the following:
- Unscrew the rain shower head and clean the threading of the shower arm pipe of any residue, mineral buildup, or debris.
- Inspect to see if the rubber washer is still in good condition – you’ll want to look for cracks or tears. If worn, replace it with a new one.
- Thoroughly clean the threads of the shower arm and the shower head with a rag or toothbrush using a cleaning solution such as white vinegar or baking soda.
- Apply two or three layers of plumber’s tape to the threads of the shower arm in a clockwise direction and then screw the shower head back on. Hand tighten at first, and then with a wrench, give it a small turn to straighten and further tighten the fixture.
- Turn on the water and check for leaks.
3. Is there a crack in the shower head?
If water is leaking at any area outside of the nozzles when fully turned on, then there is likely a hairline fracture in the shower head. This commonly occurs with plastic shower heads. Consider upgrading to one of the recent shower heads we’ve reviewed.
4. Diverter valves can wear out
If you have a rain and handheld shower head combo and are noticing that water is leaking through the rain shower head when the handheld shower head is on, then the diverter valve may be clogged with mineral deposits that are preventing it from fully switching between the two shower heads.
Depending on the unit, you may or may not be able to disassemble and clean the valve. If not, we recommend contacting the manufacturer to see if this is covered under warranty.
5. Sudden changes in household water pressure
If some water drips every time you flush the toilet or use the faucet, this often is an indication that water pressure within the home is too high – exceeding 80 psi. As you flush the toilet, the fluctuation in water pressure forces its way through the shower valve and out the shower head.
Fixing this requires you to install a pressure-reducing valve on the main water supply. If you’re comfortable with plumbing, you can install this yourself. If not, hire a plumber to do it for you.
6. Do you live in a building with shared water lines?
If you live in a building with several units, water lines are often shared. A nearby neighbor that is using a water appliance will result in a change in water pressure that may cause your shower head to leak randomly without you doing anything.
There isn’t much you can do about this other than notifying your landlord or property manager.