How to Fix a Shower

Issues with showerheads are among the 10 Common Bathroom Problems you need to fix—ASAP! Leaky showerheads, for instance, will increase your water bills and may even cause mold issues if left unfixed for an extended period. Low water pressure in the shower, on the other hand, can be a cause of inconvenience, making washing uncomfortable and more time-consuming.

But while shower problems are fairly common, you don’t necessarily have to call your plumber straight away. That’s because some issues are more prevalent than others, and they are mostly easy to spot and troubleshoot. Four of these common problems are listed below, along with possible remedies.

How to Fix a Shower

Low Water Pressure Due to Clogged Showerhead

Low water pressure can be caused by a variety of things, with the most common being sediment build-up in the showerhead. This is particularly true if you’ve had the same showerhead for quite some time and haven’t cleaned it yet. And oftentimes, low water pressure is a sign that it needs some cleaning. To do so, just follow these steps outlined in HomeServe’s guide to fixing low water pressure:

  1. Unscrew the showerhead from the hose.
  2. Immerse it in a bowl of vinegar for at least 8 hours, or for a full 24 hours if possible. Rule of thumb: The longer the better.
  3. Rinse and manually remove remaining debris. Use a toothpick to push limescale out of the holes.
  4. Give the showerhead a final rinse.
  5. Re-attach the showerhead.

Low Water Pressure Due to Clogged Showerhead

Low Water Pressure Due to Flow Restrictors

Fixture manufacturers are mandated to install flow restrictors on showerheads and faucets to conserve water. But as explained in an SF Gate article on troubleshooting plumbing and shower pressure, some of these flow restrictors have flow regulators that you can adjust to either increase or decrease your shower’s water pressure. The best way to know is to get in touch with your showerhead’s manufacturer and ask.

If yours has an adjustable flow restrictor, the manufacturer’s representatives will give you a step-by-step guide on how to adjust the regulator on your own. Follow the guide to the letter and you’ll be showering with better water pressure!

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Dripping Shower

In the case of a dripping shower, the problem isn’t actually in the showerhead, but in the shower faucet. That said, it’s an issue you can remedy yourself, particularly if you have a cartridge-style faucet. Family Handyman’s guide to fixing a dripping shower outlined the steps to take:

  1. Turn off the water supply to the shower.
  2. Remove the handle screw, then the entire shower handle.
  3. Pull out the cartridge (Use a cartridge puller, if available).
  4. Buy a cartridge similar to the one in your shower faucet.
  5. Install the new cartridge, then replace the shower handle and handle screw.
  6. Turn on the water supply.

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Leaking Shower Arm

Shower arm leaks can occur if the shower arm isn’t tightened fully, or if its threads aren’t sealed properly. And while the leaks are sometimes imperceptible, they can cause a higher than usual water bill. So, if upon closer inspection you see leaks, worry not because you can easily repair it yourself. You’ll first need to take off the escutcheon — the circular metal plate that encircles the shower arm (you must unscrew the showerhead if the escutcheon is solid).

Next, unscrew the shower arm, brush the joint compound with a wire brush, and clean and pat dry the threads. Wrap them with Teflon plumbing tape before reassembling the shower arm and putting everything back in place.

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Noisy Shower

A noisy shower can be annoying, especially if it sounds as if your shower is about to collapse. It is also a sign that something’s amiss with your shower, the showerhead, or even the underlying pipework. That said, a common cause of the noise is a dirty showerhead with sediment buildup. In this case, the solution is to clean the showerhead by following the showerhead cleaning steps outlined above.

Other times, though, the pipes that supply water to your shower aren’t secured properly to the bathroom wall, and this problem can cause noise, too. If that is the case, secure the pipes with an adequate number of U-clamps. In other cases, the pipes are loose within the U-clamps and might move and bang against the wall. To fix this, fill in the gaps with cutout rubber or a patch of garden hose. Alternatively, you can replace the U-clamps with tighter ones to ensure a snug, secure fit.

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Some other causes of shower noises are worn-out washers in the shower valve, which can become so thin that they vibrate once water flows past them. The vibrations, in turn, can create a high-pitched, almost screeching sound. When this happens, you’ll need to disassemble the shower valve and replace the washers (the worn-out rubber parts in the cartridge or valve stem).

Clean the entire system as well, as mineral deposits can be a source of noise, too, and can restrict water pressure. In particular, immerse the shower valve in vinegar overnight, or for at least eight hours to give it a thorough clean. Give it a good rinse afterwards and reassemble the faucet. Then, you can enjoy a peaceful shower!

Of course, just because you don’t see a problem doesn’t mean there isn’t one. Sometimes, as in the case of noisy showers, loose pipes can be beneath bathroom walls, making it hard to check and repair them. Similarly, leaks can occur behind bathroom walls, and it is a problem that can be very difficult to spot, let alone remedy, especially if you have little to no knowledge about plumbing. As a result, this problem can go unchecked, and it can ultimately result in structural damage or even pest infestation.

It is for this reason that water damage is one of seven ‘Costly Repairs You Can Prevent’ through a thorough home inspection, along with plumbing issues that might be affecting your shower, too. You can carry out these home inspections yourself, although you ought to be open to the idea of calling in some professional help. This way, problems will be addressed before they cause costly damages to your home.

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Lisa J. Thompson

Hello, my name is Lisa Thompson and I’m the Founder of Daily Home Insider, your go-to resource for all things home security and home improvement. In this day and age, security should be your top priority, and that’s exactly why my dedicated team of writers and I offer reliable information pertaining to gun storage, home safes, and so much more. When I’m not running the blog, I enjoy gardening and homesteading. As an avid nature lover, I also love going on camping trips. Currently, I happily reside in the heart of Los Angeles.
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