Never Done a Shower Faucet Repair Before?
If you own your own home it is essential that you learn basic tasks such as these since it will save you a good deal of money in the long run. Not only that but ladies, you don’t have to wait for your man to do this, shower faucet repair is easy and you don’t have to worry about chipping your nails. The thought of fixing a shower faucet might have you running for the phone to call a plumber but truthfully with the right tools and instructions that chronically leaking faucet can be sorted in less than an hour.
Before You Start Repairing a Shower Faucet
There are several steps to take when fixing the shower faucet depending on what type of faucet you have. The problem may not even be in the faucet so it is important to do some research before you attempt this yourself, and if in doubt you can always call a professional later, though you may be paying handsomely for that pleasure.
The first step on your journey to a working shower is to determine what problem you are having. Is the problem located at the faucet or at the shower head? You will have to do a little detective work unless the problem is obvious. These are the most common problems shower owners will experience and some suggestions how to fix them.
The Most Common Causes of Leaking Shower Faucets
Probably the most common shower faucet repair problem is leaking. We have all experienced that tell tale drip drip noise in the middle of the night even though the shower hasn’t been on for hours and the handle is as far off as we can make it go. Look at your shower and decide what type of faucet you need, is it a single faucet, double, or even triple. Once you know what you are fixing you can take appropriate steps but, whatever type of faucet you have ALWAYS turn off the water before beginning any form of repairs.
Repairs To Cartridge Style Faucets
If you have a cartridge style faucet you probably have the easiest job. Pop the top of the handle off to reveal a screw. Use an appropriate screwdriver to remove the screw and the handle assembly should come out easily. If it seems stuck many hardware stores will have special removal tools depending on your make and the age of it. Remove the retaining clip and pry out the cartridge, you may need pliers for this and some elbow grease if it’s stuck in tight. Replace the cartridge and put the assembly back together. This should stop a leaking cartridge faucet and will take you very little time and money.
Repairing Two or Three Handle Faucets
If you have a two handle or three handle faucet on your shower the problem can be a little tougher to tackle. You may want to check the hose connection to see if it is screwed in tightly as this is where most 3 tap faucets will leak first over time. If the hose is still firmly attached you can proceed further. As always start by turning off the water to the shower so as to avoid any huge floods. If the hose was not the problem you will probably have to replace the gaskets inside. Block the drain opening with cloth and place an old towel under the faucet, there will be some leakage and it can be messy. As with a single faucet remove the handle cap and unscrew the assembly. Remove the bonnet nut with a shower stem socket. If you don’t have one of these you will need to buy one beforehand. Unscrew the stem and remove with water pump pliers. Do not use regular pliers as this is probably made of soft brass and they will damage it. Look at the threads on the stem and see if they need replacing, remove the screw and old washer and clean out any mineral deposits with a soft brush. Replace the washer and add silicone grease. Replace the bib screw is necessary and put everything back together.
Dripping Shower Heads
If your shower head is dripping then you may simply need to clean it out. Often deposits and other minerals will build up inside the head leaving it clogged or semi clogged, this can mean the water isn’t coming out with such great pressure or that it is getting stuck in the head and draining slowly. Water usually takes the easiest route and if the head is clogged it will simply run back down and drip out of your faucet appearing as a leak. Unscrew the shower head and let it soak for about 30 minutes in some CLR or other descaling chemical. Rinse the head and replace on the shower. The head should not only look new it should also function like new with much better pressure and no leak. If you’re still having pressure issues you can also unscrew the shower hose and do the same thing. You may also want to add Teflon tape to the threads when replacing the shower head and hose to insure there are no leaks from either of those points.
Newer Type Shower Faucet Repair
Some newer shower faucets connect directly to the water source which means that the leaking problem is usually caused by the rubber washers simply wearing out over time. As with all previous methods insure the water is off and then remove the handle assembly via the screws holding them in. This is also similar to the cartridge repair method above, only instead of replacing the cartridge you will replace the rubber washers at the base usually held on by a small screw. It must be the same size so if in doubt take the old one to the hardware store and show it to them. Reinstall the plate and handle as instructed before.
Testing for Leaks
Once you have tried each repair turn the water back on and test for leaks. Remember to turn the water off again if you need to continue working and trying an alternative solution. If none of these solutions have worked for you, you may have to simply go out and buy a new shower faucet. Shower faucet replacement isn’t quite as simple as troubleshooting a leak. If you end up having to replace the entire faucet make sure you measure thoroughly where all the holes and pipes are as well as being certain you have the right tools. As mentioned before many shower parts are made of soft brass and this can be damaged by using harder steel pliers incorrectly. If you do not install the new faucet properly you will find that you still have trouble with leaks only these may actually be much worse.
Points to Remember When Doing a Shower Faucet Repair
Repairing a shower faucet is something that can be done quickly and easily and does not necessarily require professional help. If your shower is leaking it is imperative to turn off the water supply before performing any repairs to avoid flooding. Once you have determined what type of shower faucet you have you can choose a suitable repair option to perform. Most take only a few minutes and require little more than a regular screwdriver. If you have tried all the above shower faucet repair options and still failed you may either have to consider calling in a professional or replacing the entire faucet.