How to Troubleshoot and Repair a Shower Faucet

A broken shower faucet can be frustrating for more reasons than one. Repairing a shower faucet or shower head can be expensive, and if it's leaking, you're wasting tons of gallons of water throughout the week. Besides wasting water, if the leak is coming from the hot water side of the shower, then your water heater is wasting energy. Fear not, because repairing a shower faucet or shower head is quite easy if you know what you're doing.

Fresh shower behind wet glass window with water drops splashing.
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How to Troubleshoot and Repair a Shower Faucet

What Causes a Leaky Shower Faucet or Shower Head Drip?

If water is dripping or drizzling from your shower head, that means there's a problem with the shower faucet or valve. The inner seals can be worn, or parts can be corroded or clogged with hard water deposits. The rubber O-rings and gaskets that seal the connections within the metal parts of your faucet naturally wear down with time and usage.

Advice for Fixing Leaky Shower Faucets

The first thing you may think to do after you see water coming out of your shower head is to tighten the handle as hard as you can. This is your one-time ultimate warning. Do not tighten the handle. Cranking the handle can make things worse because if you tighten the handle too much, it could damage the valve.

When fixing shower faucets, you need to place a rag in the tub or on the shower floor, underneath the faucets. This helps to protect the surfaces and prevent small parts from dropping down the drain. Before you attempt to fix the shower valve, it's essential to turn off the water supply in your house. The shower valve is located in your bathroom, near the shower. If it's not in your bathroom, check in the basement of your house. If you can't find the shut-off valve for the bathroom, turn off the water supply in your house.

How to Fix a Leaky Two-Handle Shower Faucet

A shower with two faucet handles – one for hot and one for cold – is a compression faucet. If you have a leak in a compression faucet, that means your rubber seal or washer wore out. You need to disassemble the unit and replace the defective washers and seals.

How To Fix Loose Faucet Handles

If you have a loose valve handle, all you have to do is tighten the screw that holds the handle in place. With certain types of faucets, you'll have to take off the metal button at the center of the handle. With other types of faucets, there's a set screw that's near the base of the handle. All you have to do is tighten the screw with a wrench. If tightening the screw doesn't work, that means your handles are worn, and you need to replace the handle.