How to Change a Showerhead
Replacing a showerhead is easy and saves money
A small upgrade that can make a big difference in the bathroom is replacing the showerhead. Installing a new one is simple and relatively inexpensive to do on your own. You can spend anywhere from $25 to $500 for a regular flow or a high-pressure flow head with popular brands like Kohler, Moen, Delta, Grohe, and American Standard. To prevent water waste, federal regulations state the maximum water flow is 2.5 gallons per minute (GPM) at 80 pounds per square inch (PSI). In addition to this guide, read the instructions that come with your showerhead. Some showerheads might need assembly or have additional parts, such as an extension arm.
What You'll Need
Equipment / Tools
- Soft-jaw pliers or a soft cloth
- Wire brush, old toothbrush, or damp paper towel
- Stepstool or ladder
- Adjustable wrench with channel locks
- Showerhead replacement
- Thread-sealing tape (also called plumber's tape or Teflon tape)
Turn off the Faucet
Do not remove the existing showerhead with the faucet turned on; water will shoot everywhere. Make sure the water faucet is off, but it's not necessary to turn off the water to the house.
Unscrew the Existing Showerhead
If the showerhead is decades old, it could be corroded, and you will need to use a wrench to get it off. Turn the neck of the showerhead counter-clockwise to remove it. Be careful not to turn the pipe in the wall. If necessary, turn the showerhead by hand while holding the connecting pipe with soft-jaw pliers or a soft cloth.
Remove Excess Dirt
Once you remove the old showerhead, you may find gunk around the threaded end of the extension pipe coming through the wall. Use a wire brush, old toothbrush, or damp paper towel to wipe the threads clean. Dry the threads before applying the thread tape.
Apply the Thread-Sealing Tape
Wrap the thread-sealing tape around the threads. Each layer should cover half of the previous layer as you wrap up the threads. Start at the base and wrap clockwise. Continue going around until you reach the end of the threads. If you wrap counter-clockwise, the tape will unravel when you screw on the new showerhead. If you run short, remove the tape and start over with a longer piece. Squeeze the tape and threads between your thumb and forefinger to smooth it into the threads.1:45
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Attach the Replacement Showerhead
Before you attach the replacement showerhead, read the product's instructions. Your showerhead may not require a wrench to fasten it to the pipe in the wall securely. Hand-screw it clockwise onto the threads. When it is secure, hand tighten it a quarter-turn. The showerhead should feel a little more than snug. Any more than that and you risk breaking the plastic connecting nut.
Check the Fit and Look for Leaks
To check the fit, angle the showerhead toward a wall away from you. Turn on the cold and hot water. If you spot a leak, the showerhead may need tightening. Also, make sure that there is sufficient tape on the threads, and that the tape is firmly secured on the threads. You can also check if the rubber seal is lining up correctly or if it appears damaged.
Fix or Make Adjustments
Turn off the faucet, check the seal, re-tape the showerhead, and retighten. If you still have leaks from the showerhead connecting nut, one of the components may have been damaged. If the water flow or pressure seems low or only trickling, remove the showerhead, inspect the showerhead closely for parts that seem out of place or unaligned, and start over.
Best Management Practice #7: Faucets and Showerheads. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.