Of all the home remodeling projects you can do, upgrading the bathroom shower head is one that you'll enjoy the results of every day. Whether you go with the gentle rain-fall pattern of a large European design or the multiple-setting massager shower head, you'll be done with this project before your next shower. With some household tools and a few minutes of your time, create a spa experience in your own bathroom.
DIY or a Plumber?
While this is an easy project for you to do, there is one situation that will require a plumber. Look at where the shower head you wish to replace connects to the short pipe coming out of the wall. If it screws onto the pipe, this is definitely a DIY project. If it appears to be welded onto the pipe, you'll need a plumber to come out to do the work.
Older homes used this design, and the plumber needs to replace the short pipe with a threaded one. They have to make sure the pipe going into the wall is sealed properly to the copper pipe that brings the water up to the shower head. Otherwise, you could have a water leak in the wall. Once the threaded pipe is installed, you can continue your shower spa upgrade.
Shopping for a Shower Head
All of the shower heads you'll find at the home improvement store will fit on your standard plumbing. They tend to fall into these categories:
- Low-pressure - For use in homes with low water pressure. They make it feel like the water is coming out faster.
- Variable spray patterns - These have different settings from a simple spray to a pulsing massage.
- Rainfall patterns - These are large shower heads with many openings that let the water fall gently down on you.
- Water-saving - These will save you the most water possible while still providing a satisfying shower.
Shower Head Replacement
The only tools you need are pliers or a small pipe wrench and a few rags.
- Turn the water off to the shower. If this is in a bathtub, open the diverter on the water spout in the tub to force any water to drain out of the pipe going up to the shower.
- Hold onto the back of the shower head where it connects to the short pipe coming out of the wall, and unscrew it from the pipe. If it resists turning by hand, use the pliers or wrench.
- With the old shower head off, clean any plumbing tape or putty from the threads on the short pipe coming out of the wall.
- Open the new shower head and remove the short strip of plumbing tape included.
- Wrap the tape around the threads of the short pipe while pulling gently on the tape.
- Screw the new shower head onto the threaded pipe and stop when it is hand tight. Don't tighten the shower head with the pliers or wrench.
- Turn on the water and look for any leaks where the shower head connects with the threaded pipe. If it does leak, unscrew the shower head and remove the plumbing tape. Wrap the tape around the threads once again, taking care that all of the threads are covered. Screw the head on until hand-tight and try it again.
In just a few minutes, you've converted your shower from a boring experience into a spa. Store the old shower head where you can find it. When you move, you may want to take the new head with you and replace it with the old one.