How to Replace a Shower Head

Two Parts:Protecting The Work SpaceReplacing The Showerhead

Replacing a showerhead is a simple task that people can do to improve the aesthetics of their bathroom, or merely solve their leaky showerhead problem. By using a few tools and following a few simple steps, you can change your showerhead in just a few minutes.

Part 1
Protecting The Work Space

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    Turn off the water supply. Make sure the shower knobs are completely turned off and are secured tightly. Search around the bathroom to find the shutoff valve to the shower.[1] Shutoff valves are usually silver in color (normally chrome coated), and have an oval shaped valve handle.[2] Turn off the shutoff valve so there’s no water flow to the shower.
    • Sometimes the shower shutoff valve is under the sink, but sometimes they are in a wall and aren’t accessible to turn off. In these cases, it may be beneficial to turn off the water to the entire residence for a short amount of time.
    • If need be, find the master water cutoff valve near the water meter or hot water heater.[3] The master water cutoff valve is usually found in the basement or a utility closet of a residence.
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    Lay down a blanket. Lay a blanket down in the tub or on the shower floor to prevent any showerhead bits from possibly falling down the shower drain, and to protect the tub or shower floor surface from falling tools or materials.[4]

Part 2
Replacing The Showerhead

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    Remove the existing showerhead. Wrap a cloth around the base of the shower arm.[5] Open up a pair of pliers, and grip them onto the cloth and shower arm, to hold the shower arm secure when you screw off the showerhead. Then wrap a cloth around the showerhead, and use an adjustable wrench to clamp down onto the base of the showerhead. Turn the showerhead counter clockwise to completely unscrew the showerhead from the shower arm.
    • Some showerheads are screwed on rather loosely, and can be easily removed by turning it counter clockwise with your hands. You can try removing with showerhead with your hands initially, but if you can’t loosen it, use the tools and cloths to remove the showerhead.[6]
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    Clean the threads of the shower arm. Use a clean rag to wipe off the screw threads of the shower arm. You could also use an old toothbrush to get in between the threads, and clean out any built up grime and rust.[7]
    • Remove any old Teflon tape from the shower arm’s threads.
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    Tape the threads of the shower arm. Apply about 2-3 turns of Teflon tape to the threads of the shower arm, wrapping the tape tightly in a clockwise direction.[8] Wrap the tape in a clockwise direction so when you screw on the new showerhead, the sealing Teflon tape doesn’t come undone.
    • Be sure to press the taping into the grooves of the threads.[9]
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    Attach the new showerhead. Place the new showerhead onto the shower arm, and twist it clockwise by hand to secure it into place. Once the showerhead is secure, use the cloths, pliers, and adjustable wrench to tighten the showerhead. Wrap the base of the showerhead with a cloth, and wrap the base of the shower arm with cloth. Use the pliers to grip onto the cloth and hold the shower arm base in place. Use the adjustable wrench to clamp onto the cloth, and turn the showerhead clockwise as much as it will go.
    • This same procedure is used to attach any kind of new showerhead, fixed mount showerheads and hand-held showerheads alike.[10] The only difference is that a hand-held shower head will have a diverter attached between the actual showerhead and the shower arm.[11] Further instillation directions will likely be included when you purchase the hand-held showerhead.
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    Turn on the water. Turn the water supply back on, turn on the shower, and check for any leaks coming from the showerhead. If you find any leaks, turn the water off and reapply the Teflon taping.[12]


  • Be careful not to break the seal where the pipe connected to the shower arm attaches to the piping system. This will cause a water leak, which may damage the house and cause mold to grow.

Things You'll Need

  • Showerhead
  • Pliers
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Wire brush or old toothbrush
  • Teflon tape
  • A couple cloths

Article Info

Categories: Plumbing Drains Waste and Vents