Fixing leaky shower head and faucet

Like many other people, you surely get very disturbed and upset after discovering  a leaky shower head in your bathroom, because it usually means headaches to find a good plummer & extra bills for his work and spare parts. If you decide to leave everything as it is, then you are risking to pay much higher water bills and spoil you bath or shower with water stains very hard to remove afterwards. However, you can also fix a leaky showerhead by yourself.

How to fix a leaky shower head

As a matter of fact, it is not so difficult to repair the showerhead that started to leak. First, you must identify the reason why the showerhead starts dripping. The easiest one to deal with is caused by mineral deposits that block the holes of a dripping showerhead. If this is the real reason, you are really lucky since fixing the showerhead won’t take you much time or money.

All you need is to take your showerhead off and clean out the Showerhead The first step will be to switch off the water supply, locally in your bathroom or, if that is not possible, in your house/apartment before taking off showerhead.

Usually, it is not very complicated to remove the showerhead, it depends on the producer and the model. In any case, look out for a screw close to a showerhead, this screw can be also located next to the pipe that connects to the showerhead. However, be careful not to break the showerhead.

The easiest way to clean the Showerhead is to dismantle it and to soak it for 8 hours in vinegar.

Find a container big enough for this operation. In the container, put the showerhead and pour enough white vinegar to cover it completely. Leave it for eight hours. After that, use a toothpick or a thin nail to clean the holes in the shower one by one, afterwards rinse it well.

After having fixed the showerhead back, switch on the water supply again with the facet closed and check whether your shower is still leaking. If not, you may congratulate yourself on the easy solution of the problem. Otherwise, you should continue your investigations, excluding possible reasons one by one. 

The next possible reason of your problems could be a plastic washer or o-ring. Plastic or rubber rings get worned out and crack, hence the water seeps through the cracks. It sounds simple but also in this case some variants are possible. First of all, you must determine the location of the damaged rubber O-ring or rubber washer. It can be either in the showerhead or in the facet. Usually, if you have a single handle faucet, there is a greater possibility that you have to substitute a damaged washer in the showerhead. This is the second easiest solution, as far as time and money is concerned.

To start the procedure,  switch off the water supply, locally in your bathroom or, if that is not possible, in your house or apartment before taking off showerhead. After that, disassemble it and take out the old rubber washer and substitute it with a new one.

Attention: make sure that the new o-ring is absolutely identical in shape and thickness to the old destroyed one, otherwise very soon the same problem comes back.

In this case, the most reliable solution would be to go to the plummer shop and buy exactly the same rubber washer. Of course, you can also order it on the internet but only if you are absolutely sure of the sizes. The first variant is still preferable. If you have a two handle shower faucet, that is, one for hot water and one for cold, then you have to substitute a damaged rubber washer in one of them, unless you are that unlucky that both o-rings are damaged, which would be very rare according to the probability theory. To determine which handle needs to be repaired, open and close first hot water and then cold one. Or vice versa. We will not consider here this procedure of a washer substitution in details, since it will be described later on in the article in the section about a leaky two handle shower faucet.

How to fix a leaky, dripping shower faucet

Many people know, that unfortunately, a shower head is not the only thing that can leak in your shower. Another candidate to act on your nerves as effectively as the previous protagonist could be a dripping shower faucet. As a matter of fact, to fix a leaky, dripping shower faucet is  more effort and time consuming procedure than the two previous ones described above but still, with some patience and insistence, you can do it with your own hands, too.

How to replace single handle shower faucet

After you tried to repair your shower by cleaning it and changing a rubber washer, it is time to focus your efforts on a shower faucet. Let us start with a single – handle one. Do not be discouraged, since usually you can replace single handle shower faucet cartridge-style  in two hours or even less.

Moreover, the instruments to do the job are normally available in every household. The goal of this operation is to change the worn out old shower cartridge, thus also solving a problem when a shower faucet won’t turn off or in case shower faucet won’t turn on. As in the previous cases, start from switching off the water supply either locally in your bathroom, or in your entire household.

Your next step is to remove the handle, to do this, replace a handle cap using a small pocket knife, in this way you’ll get access to a handle screw, unscrew it and remove it altogether. Now you can  remove the handle. However, due to metal diffusion, corrosion, calcification, etc., you can encount some difficulties. Then, in case the handle sticks, either try to apply heat or physical force to it. In the former case, you can heat it with a hairdryer, using hot air. If that is not sufficient, use the latter variant and apply a handle puller, easily available  from any plumbing shop.

To get access to cartridge, you have to pull the stop tube. Then, you must locate the cartridge retaining clip and release it. Take away  the handle washer, twist the cartridge stem loose, finally, remove it using the pliers. However, for the same reasons stated above, it can be difficult to remove an old cartridge. As it was the case with a handle, also now you might need a  puller to remove the cartridge, usually it is referred to as the cartridge puller. As a matter of fact, recently some producers supply a special cartridge kit with a special handle or a cap for its removal.

After having removed the old cartridge, it is necessary to obtain an absolutely identical one. The easiest way would be to buy it from the plumbing shop. Sometimes, an experienced person there can identify the right cartridge you need from its photo. After obtaining the right type of cartridge, install it into the faucet body, repeating the same operations in the reverse order.

How to fix a leaky two handle shower faucet

Usually, in order to fix a leaky two handle shower faucet, it is sufficient to substitute the rubber washer in it. Unless you want to substitute o-rings in both taps, you first should identify whether it is a hot or cold water tap that causes the problem. This procedure is described earlier in the article.

To remove the handle, you must get access to a handle screw, which can be either visible or hidden under a cap. Remove a cap with a pen knife and a handle screw–with a screw driver, then remove the handle. As it was described above, it can be difficult to remove a handle but you may use either a hairdryer or a handle puller. Then remove the trim and the sleeve, and only now you can unscrew the faucet stem, using a deep socket. As this stage, it is possible to substitute the old rubber washer for a new one. Hopefully, this operation will solve the problem of a dripping shower faucet.

Otherwise, you might need replacing of shower faucet. As a matter of fact, in order to replace stem valves in shower faucets correctly, it is important to pay attention to the producer and the trade mark, also it makes the task of ordering the spare parts online much easier. For example, in case of delta shower faucet leak, you should look for Delta spare parts. If you are dealing with dripping moen shower faucet, you can also order online from moen directly or somewhere else, using the producer’s codes.

How to fix a  leaky bathtub faucet

Due to a dripping tap in your bath you can waste a lot of water and pay high water bills, to say nothing about the disgusting yellowish stains it leaves in your bath. However, you can try to solve the problem by yourself. Here is some advice about how to fix a  leak bathtub faucet. There are two different strategies, which depend on the tap type you have: a single handle or a double handle one.

How to fix a leaky single handle bathtub faucet

After switching offthe water supply, remove the handle and the escutcheon plate, then unscrew the bonnet nut holding the faucet stem in the housing. Now you can extract the valve stem out of the faucet housing. Locate a rubber washer on the outside of the valve stem and replace it with a new one, greasing it well before sliding it back on the valve stem. Repeat all the previous procedures in the reverse order. Normally, changing an o-ring helps to fix a leaky single handle bathtub faucet.

How to fix a leaky bathtub faucet double handle

Earlier in the article we already described the first steps similar for all faucets, that is, to switch off the water supply in the bathroom or in the entire household. Then, you should remove a faucet handle, see the instructions above. Now, to fix a leaky bathtub faucet double handle, unscrew the escutcheon plate and  remove a stem assembly, which regulates the volume and the water  temperature.

Remember, that leaks in a drippy bathtub faucet normally occur for mainly two reasons: the seat washer looses its elasticity, so that water seeps through it and destroys a brass rim of the seat.

To stop a leaky you must substitute a seat washer and if necessary, also a seat, removing it with a seat wrench.

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