Is your shower head looking old and gunky? Maybe you want to update the hardware or add a hose to your shower head? Whatever the reason, changing a shower head is just a quick fix away!
Before you can replace a shower head, you’ll need to buy a new one. You can shop online for the style you want. Be sure to look for one of the new energy-efficient, low-flow models (“low-flow” doesn’t mean low-pressure), as these can also help lower your monthly water bill.
While you may not want to go into your local hardware store if you are sheltering at home, these types of businesses are considered essential, so you can still call the store to consult with a local expert on the shower head you’re thinking about purchasing. Your local hardware store specialist likely has good advice to share about this type of project as well.
When you have purchased a new shower head and you’re ready to get started, gather these items together:
- Rag or old towel
- Adjustable wrench or pliers
- Teflon tape (if not included with the new shower head*)
Place the old towel or a protective cloth on the bottom of the tub or shower stall to prevent scratches to the surface while you work.
Follow these 6 steps to install a new shower head quickly and easily.
1. Remove the old shower head
Using an adjustable wrench, remove the old shower head. You may want to wrap the jaws of the wrench with tape or place a rag between the pliers and the shower head to protect the shower arm from damage. (The shower arm is the typically short length of the pipe that comes out of the wall and connects to the shower head.) Use a rag (and, if necessary, some paint thinner) to remove any old Teflon tape or plumber's putty that’s left on the threads of the shower arm.
2. Apply Teflon tape
Apply new Teflon tape to the threads of the shower arm to help prevent water leaks. Make sure to wrap it in the direction that the fixture will be tightened or it may tear when you install the shower head.
NOTE: Some shower heads, such as fixed or handheld types, do not require Teflon tape. The manufacturer will typically provide instructions if the sealant to use is not Teflon tape.
3. If your shower head has a diverter
You can skip this step if your shower head does not have a diverter.
With the Teflon tape applied, attach the diverter to the shower arm and hand-tighten it. Then, if necessary, carefully tighten the connection with a wrench, but avoid over-tightening.
Install any washer(s) included with new shower head and attach the shower head to the neck of the diverter and tighten it down.
4. Test the new shower head
Turn on the water to check if there are water leaks. If the new shower head leaks, unscrew it from shower arm and apply additional Teflon tape. Test again.
Maintenance for your new shower head
To ensure your new shower head keeps working properly, with the water flowing freely, clean your shower head at the first sign of a clog, when you can see some scaly buildup, or if you experience lower water pressure.
Use either a cleaner or you can simply unscrew the shower head (now that you know how) and put it in the dishwasher. Regularly maintaining your shower head will help keep it clean and you’ll have a refreshing shower for years to come.
*You can also purchase the tape and pliers you’ll need for this project online and ship them to your home.