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How to Replace a Shower Head with Ease

replace shower head

A Simple DIY Challenge

Replacing a shower head is a simple, straightforward job that can be completed in a short time with minimal tools. You can do this one DIY without professional help saving yourself some money along the way.

Whether you’re modernising the bathroom or replacing a damaged shower head, our step-by-step guide has you covered. Existing water pipes and new shower heads feature universal sizing. So, the only rules are set by your desired style and budget.

Here’s what you need to know to replace your shower head with ease.

What you will need:

  • Teflon thread sealing tape
  • Wire brush
  • Soft jaw pliers/shifting spanner
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Towel/soft cloth
  • Scissors/knife
  • Stepladder (optional)

Some replacement shower heads include a small roll of Teflon thread tape. Alternatively, you can pick up a role from Bunnings. Also, you may not require a stepladder to reach the shower head, but it’s a good idea to have one on hand if required.

Timeframe: 45 minutes

Replacing a shower head is a relatively straightforward job. With the right tools, you could have the old shower head removed and a new one installed in about 15 minutes. Have you tried to change a shower head before? If not, it wouldn’t hurt to allow longer in case of complications or inexperience.

shower head tools

Remove Existing Shower Head

Note: These instructions suit a one-for-one shower head replacement. Extra steps and tools are required if installing a ceiling mounted shower head or one with an adjustable rail or new shower arm.

  1. Read the new product’s instructions to see if any assembly is required or if specific steps are accompanying your new shower head model.
  2. Make sure the taps are turned off tightly. The water supply does not need to be shut off at the meter unless dealing with a leaking shower head. Note: If a hand shower head is being replaced, you must unscrew the hose before removing the fitting from the wall.
  3. Unscrew the existing shower head or fitting by hand, rotating it counterclockwise. Depending on the tightness of the existing head, you may require soft jaw pliers to grip and turn it. This occurs when a head is tight or corroded from years of use.
  4. Lift the existing cover plate off the pipe, exposing the wall and discard or save it for reuse.
  5. Once removed, pull off any previous layer of Teflon tape and use the wire brush on the pipe to remove any dirt, grime and mineral deposits. An old toothbrush can suffice as a suitable alternative.
  6.  Use a cloth or towel to dry the surface and pipe completely, then you’re ready to fit the replacement shower head.

Fitting New Shower Heads

Here’s a simple seven-step guide to fitting a new shower head:

  1. Fit the new or existing cover plate over the water pipe. Align it so that no gaps can be viewed from behind.
  2. Apply the Teflon tape in a clockwise direction matching the thread of the pipe. Hold the end in place during the first rotation, then let go and wrap the tape around six or seven more times. This tape will help ensure no pressurised water escapes from behind the showerhead and drips down the wall or back into the wall cavity.
  3. Use scissors or a knife to remove any Teflon tape that may block the pipe’s opening and reduce the flow of water.
  4. Fit the new shower head or fixed mount over the pipe and thread it on hand tight, rotating clockwise until tight.
  5. Cover the connecting nut at the base of the new shower head or mount with a cloth and grip this with the pliers, rotating clockwise until the head is aligned correctly with a firm grasp of the wall pipe. If there’s no nut to grip, simply tighten the mount by hand. Note: Using a cloth reduces the likelihood of pliers scratching or damaging the shower head’s finish. Do not overtighten the shower head. This can damage it.
  6. If the new shower head has a hose attachment, now is the time to screw it onto the base.
  7. Finally, test the shower to make sure your new faucet doesn’t leak. If water leaks through the base, remove the shower head, replace the Teflon tape and repeat the steps.

Congratulations, you are now experienced in shower head installation.

Benefits of Fitting a Replacement Shower Head

There are plenty of reasons to consider upgrading to a new shower head beyond replacing a broken one. Here are a few of the most beneficial:

Saving Water

Upgrading to a water saving or low flow shower head could help save you money. Red Energy reports that you could save up to 20 litres of water per minute by installing a low flow shower head. If you were to shower for five minutes per day, that’s a savings of over 36,000 litres per person each year.

Even without a water saving model, modern shower heads will likely be more efficient than their decades-old counterparts.

Better Showers

Modern shower heads can provide a sense of higher water pressure without contributing to massive water usage. This is achieved through an internal compression chamber. This nifty feature increases the velocity of water, so the pressure feels high even if it is not. Many modern shower heads also feature multiple spray settings to suit the needs of every user.

Note: Low water pressure is not attributed to shower heads but the plumbing in use. Contact a professional plumber who can work towards improving water pressure throughout your home.

Improving Style

Like many fixtures and homewares, shower heads can become outdated. What was stylish in the 80s and 90s is likely considered unfashionable today – so equipping a shower head in black, white or with a stainless-steel finish gives the bathroom that desirable, contemporary aesthetic.

Health Benefits

Equipping a shower head with a flexible hose is beneficial for washing those hard-to-reach places. They’re also ideal for helping kids and adults with mobility issues maintain hygiene. Plus, if your home has a shower and no bath, the flexible shower hose can be useful for washing pets.

What to do With an Old Shower Head

Before throwing the old shower head in the trash, consider recycling it or exchanging it for a new one. For example, your local recycling centre may accept taps and fixtures and put the materials to good use. Or, depending on your location, there may be an exchange program in place.

Did you ever think you could change a shower head? Now that you’ve done it, you can pat yourself on the back. Most shower heads aren’t too difficult to change, but a top mount shower head is different from a standard shower head, so you may need some help with that.

Melbourne’s Greater Western Water runs a shower head program where you take in an old one and they will give you a new water saving shower head for free. This is something to consider before purchasing a new shower head, or maybe there’s an ensuite or guest bathroom shower head that could be replaced? Either way, there’s potentially a free shower head waiting for you.

If you’re unsure about making this a DIY project, don’t hesitate to call an experienced local plumber from Mr Emergency. We’re available 24/7, every day of the year.

Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.

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