Knowing what kind of shower head you have can come in handy when it's time to fix or replace it. You want to use a shower head that will operate with the plumbing fixtures in your bathroom correctly. You don't want to buy a shower head that looks good when it won't fit into the fixture designed to hold it properly.
Identifying What You Have
Look for the markings on the side or at the center of the shower head. It can also be stamped on the round plate behind the handle. Most brands can be identified through these markings. You can then look up the brand and part number on the manufacturer's website. You can also identify carriers of your brand of shower head if you want to fix or replace it with a similar part. The worst-case scenario is that the brand name is stamped into the valve behind the shower wall.
If you are replacing one shower head with an identical new one, then go to the manufacturer website, find your shower part and examine the exploded parts view that accompanies the shower head description.
One thing to remember if you are looking for replacement parts is that most brands make their own parts.
Taking Your Shower Head Apart
First, turn off the water source to the shower or, if this is difficult, shut off the main water source to your home. Once your water source is off, use a set of pliers to remove the old shower head. Do not force it off. The threads inside the shower head will contain a small plastic washer or rubber O-ring. This often leaks and can be replaced easily. If you are replacing the washer or O-ring, clean the shower head while you have it off. Hard water often leaves deposits, which can be removed by boiling three cups of vinegar mixed with some water. Let the shower head sit in the vinegar mixture for 20 to 30 minutes. Scrub the inside and outside jets with an old toothpaste until the residue is gone. This will help improve the flow in your old shower head.
Replacing Your Shower Head
If you're changing shower heads, know the brand and model of your unit before you go shopping. There are universal shower heads so you can go to a big box store or plumbing supply store and find something you like better. If you have a traditionally fixed shower head, you may just want to stay with that type of product. But these come in a wide range of spray patterns and streams that vary from strong to mist, potentially giving you an improved shower experience over your current shower head. Once you have the brand and part number of your present shower head, you can discuss the replacement with the store or company representative, who will help you decide what type of replacement will fit.