Trying To Fix A Leaky Shower Can Be An Absolute Pain! Read On So You Can Learn How To Avoid The Issue In The Future!
Shower leaks can be a huge hassle. Here are some tips to help repair your leak and get your shower back in order!
A leaking shower head or tap may seem like nothing more than a minor annoyance, but it can be a costly problem.
Even a slow drip can waste litres of water a day — which can add up to thousands of litres per year. If the tap leaks on the hot water side of the valve, your water heater will waste significant amounts of energy over time.
Shower leaks affecting the wall’s interior will become an even bigger problem. Mould, rotting drywall, and structural damage can occur.
A leaking shower head or tap isn’t a problem to ignore. Fixing the issue as soon as possible will save money and reduce the probability of water damage or plumbing emergencies.
What Causes A Shower To Leak?
There Are A Variety Of Reasons
A leaking shower is often the result of a worn-out, damaged, or dirty inner seal.
Rubber gaskets and O-rings provide a watertight seal between moving metallic parts. As they wear out with age and use, they become less effective.
A leaking single-handle shower tap may also be caused by a faulty cartridge insert — the element that regulates the flow of hot and cold water from the tap to the shower head.
A leak originating from the shower head is sometimes the result of a loosened connection between the shower arm and the head.
The waterproofing membrane can fail, leading to a water breach if not adequately repaired.
Can I Fix The Leaky Shower Myself?
It Depends Entirely On The Cause Of The Leak!
Replacing worn-out shower seals and tightening shower heads are relatively easy DIY repairs.
Unfortunately, the exact cause isn’t always so easy to diagnose. Some water leaks are caused by broken pipes, excessive water pressure, or other complicated issues. These repairs may be challenging to DIY. (See our blog article that determines why your hot water system is leaking)
If you’re uncomfortable trying the repair yourself, or you’ve replaced the inner seal, and the leak persists, it’s time to enlist the help of a professional.
If you’re in Sydney or the Eastern Suburbs, call Bayside Plumbing today for quick, reliable service.
How To Fix A Leaky Shower
What You’ll Need Before You Start!
You’ll need the following tools and materials to fix your leaky shower. All jobs won’t necessarily require all materials, so prepare your list based on your situation. It’s always helpful to prepare.
- Small Towel Or Washcloth
- Small Wire Brush
- Teflon Plumber’s Tape
- White Vinegar
- Channel-Lock Pliers (Only If Needed)
- Phillips-Head Screwdriver
- Hex Key (For Some Taps)
- Utility Knife
- Silicone Bath Caulk
- Replacement Cartridge Insert (If You Have A Single-Handle Tap)
- Cartridge Puller (Refer To The Manufacturer’s Instructions)
- Needle Nose Pliers
- Shower Valve Wrench
- Replacement Gasket
Before You Start
For all repairs, first shut off the water supply to your shower.
Some homes have shut-off valves for the shower located behind an access panel. Some taps have a built-in shut-off valve located directly on the tap body.
If you don’t have either, use your home’s main shut-off valve — usually in the basement near the water meter.
Cover the drain hole with a cloth to prevent falling debris from going down the drain.
How To Fix A Leaky Shower Head
Follow the steps below if the leak is from the shower head itself. If the leak is from the tap, skip these steps and proceed to the next section.
- Make sure the tap is in the off position. Remove the shower head by carefully turning it in a counterclockwise direction by hand. Use a rubber jar gripper or damp cloth to increase your grip if it doesn’t budge. In the worst cases, you may need to use channel-lock pliers.
- Once the shower head is off, remove and examine the rubber gasket and screen inside the shower head. If the rubber O-ring looks damaged or rotted, replace it. If the O-ring is intact, look for sediment on the screen or the O-ring itself. It can be cleaned gently with white vinegar. For stubborn buildup, soak the gasket in vinegar for a few hours and wipe clean. The entire shower head can also be soaked in vinegar to dissolve hard water deposits in the spray holes.
- Remove the old Teflon plumber’s tape from the pipe stem. Use a small wire brush to clean the threads of the shower arm and the threads inside the shower head. Wrap the threads of the shower arm with new Teflon tape in a clockwise direction.
- Reinsert the gasket and screw the shower head back onto the shower arm by hand.
- Turn the water supply back on and let the shower run for a few minutes. Turn off the water. If the leak persists, continue to the section below.
How To Fix A Leaky Single-Handle Shower Tap
- Use your hand to determine which of the shower valves is leaking. If the water is hot, the issue is likely with the hot water valve and vice versa. If the leak is directly from the shower head and you’ve completed the steps above, the issue is likely with the middle handle.
- Remove the affected tap handle by unscrewing the handle screw. The screw may be on the underside of the handle or directly on the face of the handle, sometimes under a snap-on cap.
- Remove the faceplate by removing the mounting screws and cutting away any caulk with a utility knife.
- Unscrew the stem sleeve and outer stem. Using a shower valve wrench, unscrew the stem.
- Examine the O-ring, washer, and stem assembly for signs of damage, wear, or rot. Replace as needed. It’s not a bad idea to replace the entire assembly since it’s inexpensive, and you already have the stem removed.
- Reinstall the stem assembly, outer stem, stem sleeve, faceplate, and handle in the reverse order in which they were removed. Reseal the faceplate with a bead of caulk if needed.
- Turn the water supply back on and let the shower run for a few minutes. Turn off the water. If the leak persists, contact a professional.
Make Sure To Call The Professionals When Things Get Too Out Of Hand For Your Shower Repair
Fixing a leaking shower can be a quick and easy DIY project or require the assistance of a professional plumber, depending on the cause of the leak. If you’re in Sydney or the Eastern Suburbs areas, contact Bayside Plumbing today for all emergency plumbing services, from replacing your shower screens and leaky taps to helping you diagnose and fix your leaky shower.