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How To Replace Shower Head: Step By Step Guide

Apart from just being out-rightly annoying, a leaky or broken shower head will waste so much water. Before you know it, you could be paying double what you have been paying for your water bill.

That’s why it is usually advisable that you replace a damaged showerhead almost immediately. And while this is easy said than done, the truth remains that shower head replacement is not rocket science.

With a little help, almost everyone who has a damaged shower can easily arrest the situation before it gets out of hand. In this post, I have decided to give every home owner a step by step guide on how to replace shower heads.

This guide applies to broken shower heads, leaky showerheads, and shower heads that are blocked with gunk.

Let’s dig in!

Step One: Get Tools and Parts Together

Put everything that you need in one spot. From the shower head replacement parts to tools and equipment that you will need, you should gather everything in one spot. This will make your work easy.

Here are the basic things that you will need.

  • A new shower head and arm
  • Channel lock pliers
  • Monkey Wrench
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Teflon tape
  • CLR cleaning solution
  • Old fabric, towel or rag

NOTE: Some showerheads will come with customized parts. You need to look for these parts when replacing the head. A good example is the delta shower head replacement parts that are designed to only work with the Delta brand heads.

Step Two: Removal of Old Showerhead

Remove the old, rusty, or leaky shower head. Use the channel lock pliers or basically the monkey wrench to loosen the old shower head before removing it. To loosen the old head, turn the pliers in an anti-clockwise direction.

Tips: Right turn on the wrench tightens the head while a left turn loosens the head. This applies all-round shower head parts.

Step Three: Removal of the Old Shower Arm

New shower systems will come complete in a pack with a new arm. To ensure efficiency you need to replace the shower arm too. Nonetheless, if it still functions well you could decide to leave it – but that won’t be my take.

Remove the old shower arm. Turn the wrench in an anti-clockwise direction. This should loosen the arm and allows you to remove it easily.

Step Four: Inspect the Fixtures Points

Your next step is to replace the arm. However, before doing a shower head arm replacement it is important to inspect the fixture points.

Check the quality of the putty around the old joint or the Teflon tape around the old shower arm joint. If there is no uniformity on the threading you need to lay out a new preparation. Apply putty or roll out the Teflon tape to your new arm before proceeding to the next step.

NOTE: Most people consider the use of a Teflon tape less messy compared to the application of putty.

Step Five: Prepare the New Parts

Prepare the shower head and the shower arm. This will facilitate the best shower head arm replacement procedure.

Apply Teflon tape to the arm’s main threading. This should be done on both sides of the arm where there is threading.

You can wrap the tape around the threads all the way around 3 or 4 times. This will depend more on the quality of the Teflon tape that you are using.

 Step Six: Install the Shower Arm

Start reinstalling the shower arm. Turn it on a clockwise direction using your bare hand until it is very tight.

After that apply the rag around it and use the wrench to tighten it further. The reason you should use the rag is to prevent the wrench’s teeth from biting into the chrome finish.

You can also use the painter’s tape around the arm. It also prevents the pliers from making scratches on your new shower arm.

Step Seven: Install the Shower Head

There are two ways to install your showerhead. We are going to look into both ways so you can have various options.

A: Place your shower head into the arm before you fix the arm.  Then fix this setup onto the main arm fixture. This will save time and allow you to ensure that the shower head threads are straight up before installing the shower arm.

B: You can place Teflon tape around the arm’s threads of the shower head before placing the shower head onto an already fixed shower arm.

Step Eight: Check Your Head for Leaks

Run your shower head once you have fixed it to find out if there are any leaks. This applies all through even when looking at how to install a shower head with handheld. If there are no leaks your shower will be ready for use.

However, in case of leaks, you will have to either tighten the place or loosen it and prepare it afresh for installation.

NOTE: When replacing this system, it is important to ensure that you clean the shower arm threads to remove any calcium buildup. This is where the rag and the CLR cleaning solution will apply.

How to Determine if Your Shower Head Needs Replacement

Like I mentioned above there are quite a number of telltale signs that you can always watch out for to know if your showerhead is ready for a replacement. They include the following.

  • Leaks
  • Rust
  • Blockages
  • Dribbling

NOTE: It is important to inspect your showerhead first before opting to replace. This is because the leak might not be necessarily coming from the head. It could be a loose shower arm causing it too.


Are shower heads Universal?

Not all shower heads come with a universal design. When learning you will realize that we have half and three-quarter fixtures. However, choosing the best head depends on your preferences.

How do You Get an Old Shower Head Off?

By holding it with a wrench and carefully turning it on the counter clockwise direction. You should be careful in order to avoid the twisting or bending of the shower arm. Refer to Step Two above.

How Long Do Shower Heads Last?

Shower heads will last as long as you can take care of them. Additionally, different mechanisms such as self-cleaning technology and anti-clogging technology will also lengthen the lifespan of your shower heads.

What Does Fixed Shower Head Mean?

These are showerheads that don’t have the flexibility or freedom of movement. You cannot tilt them to face a different direction once they have been fixed. Their use is limited to the direction that they are facing once fixed.

How do You Remove Shower Head with Plumbers Tape?

If you plan on removing the shower head with plumber’s tape then just remove the head using a wrench. But you must check the arm for any plastic seal that could be left over before fixing a new head and us a flat head screwdriver to remove the seal.

Do Shower Heads Have Bacteria?

Shower heads alone don’t have bacteria. However, because of poor bathroom hygiene and anti-bacterium technology on the shower, bacteria could find their way around the showerhead with time.


Now that all is done and working, you have finished the process of installing your new shower system: you can now use your brand new shower system without any worries and enjoy the best pressure without leaks. Congrats!

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John Roussel

John Roussel is an interior décor designer. He has worked with so many clients around the world and has had some of the best ratings. John’s passion on designing and decorating homes began when he was still very young. Since then, he has always sought to understand how to fix homes and make them look better, operate and more efficiently. Today John Roussel focuses more on how to make the bathrooms better for every home. Experience has taught him that the bathroom is the most neglected side of the home and one that tells so much about our lifestyles. You can catch John anytime here or by following his other home décor and maintenance blogs.

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