Shower fix

My Shower Is Leaking, What Do I Do?!

May-2020 / 5 min read

Reading Time: 5 minutes

A leaking shower head or shower faucet can induce a lot of emotions. That “drip, drip, drip” can make you feel annoyed, frustrated, and angry all at the same time. That sound can keep you up at night, costing you precious sleep. Worse, you can count those drops as literal money going down the drain.  

Moreover, leaks in your shower system could cost you more than just an expensive water bill, as leaks on the hot water side would also mean additional costs on your energy bill due to the power used up by your central heating system or water heater for producing hot water. 

Now, you wander onto this page, probably after searching for an easy shower fix, looking for ways to get rid of the leaks in your bathroom suite. And so, help you with your dilemma, we’ve come up with a guide that can help you get your shower in perfect order, quickly and easily!

Why Is My Shower Leaking?

Before I give you some DIY advice on how to fix your shower like, it would be best for you to have some idea on why shower leaks occur in the first place. 

A leaking shower head, for example, could be something as superficial as damage due to wear and tear or even mineral deposit accumulated over the years. However, in some instances, this could mean a much bigger problem behind your shower walls. The problem could also be in your shower valves, as a worn faucet washer, cartridge or diverter can allow water to leak through to the showerhead. 

What Happens When You Leave Shower Leaks Unchecked?

It is also important for you to realize just exactly why it is important for such leaks to be resolved. 

Generally, the area within shower enclosures is supposed to be less prone to water damage. However, when leaks within the area persist and continue to drip water onto your tiles, grout, etc., then it will cost more problems in the long run. Such problems are:

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Loose tiles 

Water will eventually penetrate the area behind your bathroom tiles. When this happens, the grout and adhesive behind each floor tile or wall tile will eventually lose its grip. This will result in loose and free falling tiles within your shower enclosure. While this in itself is easily repairable, broken tiles may cause injuries to you and your family.

Stains and Mould

Water stains can be very unsightly, especially on the walls, the flooring, and even your shower doors in your bathroom. Additionally, if your bathroom is on the second floor, such shower leaks may cause stains, or worse, mould on the ceiling below it. 

It is important to prevent such moulds from developing, as these could pose a lot of potential health risks for you and the people in your household. 

Metal Damage

Persistent water leaks may lead to the development of rust on metal. This could affect your shower arms, faucet handles, bath taps, and many more. This could also cause damage to the structural integrity of shower enclosures, which would obviously mean more damage in the long run. 

How To Fix A Shower Leak

Now that you’re familiar with the possible causes and consequences of a shower leak, you can begin attempting to fix the leaks in your shower yourself. This guide will be divided into two parts, the first on fixing a dripping showerhead, and the second, on fixing a dripping shower valve. 

For both parts, though, the first step you must take is shutting off your water supply. Doing so will not only help limit the mess that your project may cause but also make the job much easier for you. You may also want to clear out bathroom accessories and bathroom furniture to give you more room to move around and work. 

Pro Tip #1: While your water supply is already turned off, you may still encounter some water left in the pipes. Have a towel handy to clean off any excess water you may encounter. 

Fixing a Dripping Shower Head

  1. Remove or unscrew the showerhead from the shower wall or exposed shower pipe. This can usually be done with your hands, but if it is too tight for you to unscrew by hand, you may try using a wrench or pliers. 
  2. Inside the shower head, you will find the O-Ring or Rubber Washer. This piece of rubber is what contains water from dripping or leaking. If the O-Ring looks damaged or brittle, then you may want to replace it. 

Pro-tip #2: To make sure you get the same size replacement, you may want to take out the old o-ring before buying one to replace it. 

  1. Since you’ve already got the showerhead off, you may want to consider cleaning it as well. Take the opportunity to clear it of all kinds of debris. Be on the lookout for mineral deposit or sediments brought about by hard water. Such kinds of debris affect the pressure of the water released by the showerhead, and may very well cause leaks in your showerhead. 

To clean your shower head, bring water and three parts of white vinegar to a boil. Remove all loose parts attached to the showerhead and submerged the body in the solution for about 20-30 minutes. Scrub, wash and rinse.

  1. Whether you’ve replaced the O-Ring or kept the old one, the next thing you should do is wrap the threads at the tip of the pipe stem with tape. By sealing these, you will be preventing the threads from seizing. 
  2. Reattach the showerhead. Screw it back on by hand. Make sure you do not screw it on too tightly, or you might break the showerhead or the pipe. 
  3. Turn the water supply back on and turn on the shower. Let it run for a few seconds and then turn it off. After a few minutes, check for any leaks or drips. 

At this point, your showerhead should no longer be leaking. If the issue persists, you may want to check if the problem is with the shower valve. 

Fixing A Dripping Shower Valve

  1. Detach the shower valve or shower faucet handle using a screwdriver to have clear access to the internal components of your shower valve. Locate the shower stem. To do this, you may also have to remove metal plates called escutcheons. 
  2. Once you have access to the shower stem, make sure to locate all the washers within the component. Replace each of them regardless of their condition. Also, make sure to locate and replace the seat washer.
  3. Since you’ve already got the valve disassembled, you may want to clean it and its pipes as well. Use the same solution and method used for the showerhead.
  4. Reassemble and replace each component of the shower valve in reverse order. 
  5. Turn the water supply back on and turn on the shower. Let it run for a few seconds and then turn it off. After a few minutes, check for any leaks or drips. At this point, your showerhead should no longer be leaking. 

What Do I Do When My Shower Is Still Leaking?

If at this point you are still experiencing leaks in your shower, you may want to consider replacing your shower valve or calling on a professional plumber to figure out the problem and fix it for you. 

Meanwhile, if you are unsure about fixing the leaky shower yourself, you may also contact a local professional plumber to do it for you.

Pro Tip #3: If you’re calling a plumber, might as well ask them to check on your kitchen sink, water supply, bath taps, and drainage systems, among many others, as this will save you some time and some money on preventable plumbing repairs in the long run.

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