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Why is your shower head leaking and how to make it stop

Serving Glendale, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Peoria, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, and more of AZ with professional plumbing services since 2001

A leaking shower head is not only an inconvenience, but it can also be annoying and lead to paying more in wasted water. If you’re wondering what could be causing this nuisance and how to make it stop, then you have come to the right place. Here at Instant Plumbing and Rooter, not only do we enjoy solving our customers plumbing problems, but we also like to keep you informed and help educate homeowners on how to properly care for their plumbing. Read on to learn what could be causing your shower head to leak and how to make it stop. 

There are a few different causes that can lead to a leaky shower head. Your shower head could be clogged with buildup, or maybe there’s a faulty part allowing water through after the water has been turned off. High water pressure or even an issue elsewhere in the plumbing line could all be possible culprits of that annoying drip. But not to worry, we are here to help determine the issue, and come up with a solution. 

The first (and most common) cause of a leaking shower head is that there is mineral buildup clogging the shower head holes and not allowing water to come through evenly. Luckily, this is an easy fix! First, you will need a gentle all purpose cleaner (we recommend white vinegar), a kitchen storage bag, and a rubber band. Fill the bag partially full with the vinegar. Place the bag over the shower head and secure it with the rubber band. Allow the shower head to soak for a few minutes to help loosen up the buildup. Once you remove the bag, clean the shower head with a clean, wet rag or sponge to remove the loosened mineral deposits. Rinse well and turn your shower head on to see if the water is now coming through the holes evenly. Turn the water off to see if the leak has stopped. If not, proceed on to the next possible solution.

Another typical cause for a shower head leak is that the o-ring or rubber washer inside the shower head has deteriorated or torn and is not creating the necessary seal to prevent water from leaking. If you feel comfortable and confident, you can replace this o-ring yourself. Please be sure you are installing the new o-ring in the same fashion the original manufacturer provided one was installed, and be sure to correctly use pipe thread tape when reattaching the shower head. Failure to use the tape can actually be another cause of a leaking shower head. 

If neither of these solutions has proven to be the solution, a faulty or worn out shower cartridge or valve may be the problem. A cartridge replacement is typically a pretty quick repair for our expert plumbers and can be done without disrupting the water usage in the rest of your home. Again, if you feel comfortable and confident, you can attempt to replace the shower cartridge on your own. However, we do recommend calling a licensed Plumber as a special tool may be required to remove the cartridge and incorrect removal can cause damage to the shower valve and lead to more costly repairs. In addition to the shower cartridge or valve, a faulty diverter can also cause water to leak from your shower head. The diverter is the control that directs water from one fixture to another. For example, if you have a tub and shower combination, you have a diverter (typically on top of or above the tub spout) that directs water from the tub spout to the shower head. If you notice the diverter has become difficult to engage, or that not all of the water is going to the shower head when the diverter is engaged, you may need a new tub/ shower diverter. Again, this is typically a fairly simple repair, but we do recommend calling a professional if you are unfamiliar with the steps to make the repair. 

If you suspect the issue is caused by water pressure being too high, please give us a call as soon as possible. High water pressure can cause pipes to leak or even burst. Our expert plumbing technicians can check your water pressure and ensure that it is in a safe range that will meet your home’s needs. To schedule an appointment to have your leaking shower head fixed, give our office a call today at 480-353-7267. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the common reasons for a shower head to leak?
A: There could be a few culprits behind a leaky shower head. Common issues include mineral buildup in the shower head holes, a deteriorated o-ring or rubber washer, or even high water pressure. Sometimes, it might be due to a faulty shower cartridge, valve, or diverter.

Q: Can I fix a leak caused by mineral buildup myself?
A: Absolutely, this is generally an easy fix. You can use a kitchen storage bag filled with white vinegar to soak the shower head. Secure it with a rubber band and let it sit for a few minutes to dissolve the buildup. After that, just clean it with a wet rag or sponge, and you should be good to go!

Q: How do I know if the o-ring or rubber washer needs replacing?
A: If your shower head is still leaking after cleaning it, the next thing to check would be the o-ring or rubber washer inside the shower head. If it’s deteriorated or torn, it won’t seal properly and that can cause leaks. You can replace this yourself if you’re comfortable doing so, but remember to reinstall it the way the original was placed and use pipe thread tape.

Q: What if neither cleaning the shower head nor replacing the o-ring works?
A: If you’ve tried these solutions and the leak persists, then it could be due to a faulty shower cartridge, valve or diverter. These are more complex issues and might require a special tool for removal. While you can attempt this yourself, we recommend calling a professional to avoid causing further damage.

Q: How do I know if high water pressure is the issue?
A: If you’ve ruled out all the other possible causes, high water pressure might be the culprit. This is a serious issue as it can cause leaks or even burst pipes. Give us a call so we can check the water pressure and adjust it to a safe range for your home.

About Us

Instant Plumbing and Rooter LLC is a family-owned and operated plumbing business in Phoenix, AZ. We’re a family of reliable professionals that use the latest techniques for dependable plumbing services. Since 2001, we have been taking care of our community’s plumbing needs promptly and professionally.

Through our work, we aim to change the perception of plumbers in our community. Our goal is to make homeowners like you more informed, as well as show others that being a plumber is not just about unclogging toilets.

A plumber brings hygiene, sanitation, and comfort to everyone, and that’s what we’re here to help you with.

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