How to Change Shower Heads

bathroom shower headShower heads are an interesting topic, and not surprisingly. Can you imagine how much water we use in the United States each day just through our shower heads? Actually, according to studies, it is estimated that three billion gallons of water flow through showerheads every day in this country and half of its usage is unnecessary.

Most showerheads use twice the water needed for a thorough, enjoyable shower. You can spend the same time under the water, at the same temperature for much less money. Or, conversely, you can spend a shorter time and save on your energy bill. A lot of this is dependent on what you are currently paying for kilowatt hours.

High Efficiency

Shower heads are like anything else in today’s marketing world, every day different concepts are cropping up. One of the main themes today is using less water to save energy. At first these showerheads simply blocked some of the water flow. This approach was acceptable for conserving water but took the pleasure out of showering beneath a brisk blast of water.

Newer heads are different. Manufacturers have met the challenge to both conserve and offer a satisfying shower by engineering the movement of water, sending it through special orifices that control droplet size, focus the stream, and--in some cases-- increase the blast by mixing in air, creating turbulence or pulsing.

Tools Needed

Anyhow, back to the topic of changing shower heads. When you get ready to change your shower head you will need tools and materials – which are quite simple; this is a minor plumbing task. You will need two pairs of Channel Locks pliers, a roll of Teflon tape, and two rags or old wash cloths.

To remove the old showerhead, adjust one Channel Lock pliers to easily grasp the shower nipple (pipe) extending out of the wall. Grasp the nipple securely with the Channel locks with one of the rags between the pliers teeth and the surface of the nipple.

Grip the existing showerhead near the threads with the other pair of Channel Locks using the other rag and turn it counter-clockwise to remove the old showerhead. The purpose of using the rags is to protect the metal surfaces and prevent marring.

Installing the New One

Now it is time to do the installation portion of changing the shower head. Prepare the shower pipe nipple threads by wrapping them with Teflon tape. Remember that the threads go in a clockwise fashion so the tape should be wrapped that way as well. Only two layers are needed.

Now take your new shower head and carefully thread it clockwise onto the shower nipple. Make sure you are not cross-threading it; if you encounter resistance, back off and look at it. Keep screwing it on using the rag and Channel Lock until you encounter some resistance. Mind, you do not want to over tighten.

Now, turn on the shower and check the head/nipple intersection. Is there a bead of water emerging? If so, just tighten the head up a hair. If not, climb in and shower!

photo by Brian Snelson - CreativeCommons Attribution