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What are the Best Tips for Shower Head Replacement?

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  • Written By: J.M. Densing
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 31 October 2016
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Shower head replacement is a relatively simple do-it-yourself project that can make a big difference in your bathroom. One of the best tips for this project is to select the new shower head carefully and buy the best quality that will fit the budget. Another tip is to handle the pipe that the shower head attaches to very carefully since leaks in this area can cause a lot of damage. Other important tips for minimizing leaks from a shower head replacement include using a pipe thread sealant on all connections and avoiding overtightening the new shower head which could damage it.

Completing a shower head replacement can improve the look of your bathroom and make showering a more pleasant experience. If the replacement is a low-flow model, it can also provide significant energy savings. It's important to select the new shower head carefully; select one that has the features you need or want, such as hand-held convenience, massage or rainfall settings, and oversized water patterns. New shower heads are available at a wide variety of price points; some high-end luxury models can actually increase the value of your home. Another vital factor to consider when making your selection is compatibility with existing plumbing; this is especially important if you have an older home.

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Once the selection is made, be careful in handling existing pipes when removing the old shower head to avoid causing a leak. Even a small leak can cause a great deal of damage, particularly if it is inside the wall. With that mind, it's a good idea to avoid any abrupt shocks or jerking motions that can loosen connections. If in doubt about condition of the connections, it's advisable to replace the pipe that attaches the shower head to the wall, usually known as a goose neck pipe. The old shower head and the goose neck pipe can both be unscrewed with a pair of vise grips or an adjustable wrench.

Another vital tip to remember during a shower head replacement is to use pipe thread sealant on all connections to prevent leaks. The most common choices of pipe thread sealant are Teflon tape and brush-on sealant also known as "pipe dope." The tape gets wrapped around the male end of the pipe in a clockwise direction or pipe dope is applied in an even coating. Then the connection is screwed together until it is hand tight plus one more turn; avoid overtightening which could damage the connection or the finish. If replacing the goose neck pipe, run the water briefly to flush it out before attaching the shower head so no clogs occur from debris trapped inside the new fixture.

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