Replacing a Shower Head with the Toolbelt Diva

What You'll Need
Replacement showerhead
Tongue-and-groove pliers (a second pair of pliers may be necessary)
Scouring pad
Thread seal/plumber's tape
Penetrating oil (If applicable)

Our new home came with the most inept showerheads. Now, how is a boring little showerhead supposed to satisfy a gal who wants shower time to be an energizing romp through a waterfall, when all it gives her is a dull dance with drizzle? There are so many exciting showerheads available today. From downpour rain heads to fiveway massaging sprayers to low-flow water savers— the hardest thing about changing a showerhead is choosing one.

Consider This

It’s very important that you don’t loosen the shower arm from its connection behind the wall—this could cause a leak! To ensure that you don’t disrupt this connection, practice holding back the arm, which means holding it with your hand or pliers to prevent it from moving back as you remove or attach the showerhead.

unscrew old showerhead

Prep Work

Before removing the old showerhead, wrap the plier jaws with masking tape to avoid marring the finish.

Holding back the shower arm with your hand (or second set of pliers if it’s really tight), use your tongue-and-groove pliers to unscrew the showerhead at the nut (a). Unscrew it counterclockwise. Use penetrating oil if the showerhead won’t budge.

remove teflon tape

Remove any old thread seal/plumber's tape or buildup that may be around the threads of the shower arm (b). Use a scouring pad to clean the threads.

The Project

1) Wrap new thread seal tape around the threads of the shower arm, clockwise, making two tight spins.

re-tape and install new head

2) By hand, screw on the new showerhead and then snug it tight with the pliers.

3) Turn on the water and check for leaks. Snug the showerhead on tighter if there’s a leak. It may be necessary to hold back the shower arm to prevent it from spinning as you tighten the showerhead.

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© 2009 by Norma Vally. Reprinted with permission of John Wiley & Sons, Inc.