How to Fix a Leaky Hand-held Showerhead

Although a leaky showerhead doesn't waste much water or diminish the pleasure of taking a shower or washing your hair, a leak can be annoying. Two primary conditions cause a hand-held shower to leak: a faulty head gasket or ineffective connection between the showerhead and the flexible hose. Fortunately, the location of the leak usually points to the cause, and repairs only take a few minutes.

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Inspect the fittings in a leaky showerhead.

Step 1

Undo the compression fittings on both ends of the flexible hose, using the adjustable wrench. Grasp the showerhead in one hand and unscrew the flexible hose fitting by turning it counterclockwise with the wrench. If the nut won't budge, wrap a rag around the shower handle and grip it with channel pliers while undoing the fitting.

Step 2

Clean off all traces of hardened plumber's tape and inspect the threads on the showerhead and hose ends for damage. On some heads, the flexible hose is connected on both ends with compression fittings containing rubber washers. If this is the case, you won't find plumber's tape adhering to the threads, but the rubber compression fitting washers may be cracked and worn.

Step 3

Unscrew the showerhead from the handle by undoing the knurled threaded flange surrounding the perforated showerhead disk. If the thread is frozen, wrap a rag around the knurled section and loosen it with the channel pliers. Remove the knurled nut and inspect the large rubber gasket fitted into the cavity under the flange. If it's cracked or hardened, you'll need to replace it.

Step 4

Soak all components in a dish of white vinegar for 30 minutes to soften any hard water deposits clinging to the metal. Scrub the parts with a stiff-bristle nail brush, paying special attention to threaded sections. Rinse well under running water.

Step 5

Stretch Teflon tape around the male thread on the shower handle, wrapping clockwise around the fitting. Pull the tape until it snaps and smooth the ragged ends into the threads.

Step 6

Screw the flexible hose fitting onto the handle and tighten the nut securely with the adjustable wrench. Connect the other end end of the flexible hose to the faucet the same way. If the unit is equipped with compression fittings, skip the Teflon tape and go to the next step.

Step 7

Insert new rubber washers into the compression fittings on both ends of the flexible hose. Thread the fittings onto both the faucet and showerhead. Tighten both fitting with the adjustable wrench, but don't damage the rubber washers by over-tightening.

Step 8

Slip a new rubber gasket into the slot under the knurled threaded flange on the showerhead. Thread the flange onto the shower disk and tighten the knurled nut firmly by hand.

Step 9

Turn on the faucet and check all connections for leaks. If the showerhead is equipped with compression fittings and you detect a leak, tighten the fittings another quarter turn with the adjustable wrench. If you spot a leak from under the knurled nut on the showerhead, wrap a rag around the fitting and tighten the nut another quarter turn with the channel pliers.