How to Change a Showerhead

Replacing a showerhead is easy and saves money

Shower head being installed on shower arm with thread-sealing tape

The Spruce / Kevin Norris

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner

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)


Materials and tools to replace a shower head

The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  1. 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.

    Water turned off with shower faucet handle

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  2. 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.

    Old shower head unscrewed with wrench and towel wrapped around shower arm

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  3. 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.

    Old toothbrush scrubbing gunk off shower arm threads

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  4. 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.

    Thread-sealing tape wrapped around threads on shower arm

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris


    Watch Now: How to Use Plumber's Tape

  5. 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.

    New shower head threaded on shower arm with new thread-sealing tape

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  6. 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.

    Shower head checked for leaks

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

  7. 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.

    Thread-sealing checked on shower arm for adjustment

    The Spruce / Kevin Norris

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  1. Best Management Practice #7: Faucets and Showerheads. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.