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How to change a shower head

There will come a time when you will need to change your shower head, whether that’s through renovation or to fix a leaky shower. The task does not need to be complicated; it is reasonably easy to do as long as you know what you are doing.

This step by step guide will lead you through this easy process of installing a replacement shower head, including how to remove your old shower head, so you can get back to enjoying your shower.

What tools will I need to change a shower head?

  • Blanket or tarp
  • Adjustable wrench
  • A pair of slip-joint pliers
  • Cloth
  • Teflon tape
  • Your new shower head

Plumber Fixing Broken Shower Head

How to change a shower head: A Step by Step Guide

Changing your shower head doesn’t need to be complicated. The job should take no more than an hour to do, and it could save you hundreds of pounds as you won’t need to call out a plumber to do the work for you.

Step 1: Ensure the shower is turned off

First, you need to ensure your shower is turned completely off so no water comes out. There isn’t a need to turn off the water at the main stopcock, but making sure the knobs are turned completely and securely is all you should need to do.

Step 2: Prepare the work area

Lay down the blanket or tarp in the bath or on the shower floor to protect the tub or shower from damage and dirt. It will also prevent you from losing any small parts down the drain.

Step 3: Remove the old shower head

Once your area is prepared, you need to start by removing the existing shower head. There are two ways you can do this. If your shower head is not screwed on tightly, you can remove it with your hands by twisting the head counterclockwise and gently pulling it towards you until it comes off.

The second method of removing the existing shower head needs you to wrap the cloth around the base of the shower arm and secure it with the slip-joint pliers. This will allow you to safely remove the shower head without pulling the whole shower off the wall. Using an adjustable wrench, turn the head counterclockwise to unscrew it from the shower arm completely.

Detatching Shower Head

Step 4: Cleaning the shower arm

Next, you need to clean up the threads of the shower arm to ensure they will take the new shower head securely. You want your new head to create a new watertight seal with the shower arm to prevent leaks. You could always use an old toothbrush to get in between the threads and clean out any built-up grime and rust to make it extra clean.

Step 5: Apply new Teflon tape

Taking the Teflon tape, wrap it around the shower arm threads two to three times, wrap the tape tightly in a clockwise direction, and make sure that it is embedded in the threads properly.

Step 6: Installing the new shower head

Finally, it’s time to install the new shower head. Twist the head clockwise by hand to secure it into place, and then use the cloths, pliers, and adjustable wrench to tighten the shower head onto the pipework.

For a standard wall-mounted showerhead, these steps should make it very easy for you to change a shower head. If you have opted for a fancier model, you’ll need to follow these extra steps depending on the shower head model to ensure you attach your new shower head correctly.

  • Handheld shower head : Relatively easy to install, handheld shower heads are simply connected to the end of the shower arm clockwise, then the shower hose is connected to the mount.
  • Sliding bar shower head: These shower heads usually have a handheld sprayer that connects to a flexible hose on a vertical bar mounted to the wall. Following manufacturer instructions, attach the shower head to the water supply and mount the bar to the wall.
  • Shower panels or technology enable shower heads: These are the most complicated shower heads to install and may require a plumber to come out and install them for you if you are not confident with DIY, and the manufacturer instructions are too difficult to follow.

Once your new shower head is installed, you can turn the shower back on, running water through the system to check it has been connected correctly and there are no leaks. If you find any leaks, turn the water off, reapply the Teflon taping, and try tightening it a little more.

FAQs About Shower Head Installation

How often should you change your shower head?

You should change your shower head every 6 to 8 months to prevent the build-up of bacteria, black mould and sediment, especially if you live in a hard water area. If this dirt and grime does build up, it can have a severe impact on your health.

Do all shower heads fit the same?

Yes, all shower heads should fit the same as the UK; we classify the ‘thread size’ of pipes used in showers as 1/2 Inch BSP.

Do you need a wrench to change the shower

If your shower head was fitted loosely, you may not need a wrench to change a shower head because you should be able to turn it clockwise with your hands. However, some shower heads may have been tightly secured to the pipework, so having a wrench on hand to loosen it would be a good idea.

Are you looking for other DIY help to get jobs done in your home? Check out our expert guides below!