Leaky shower faucets can be incredibly frustrating and expensive. There's nothing more annoying than trying to sleep, only to hear sporadic dripping. This can not only affect your sanity, but also your water bill! If you have a problem, these tips may help.
Turn Off the Water
When you're battling a leaky facet, it's not just water you're losing, it's heat. If your shower valve is turned to hot, your water heater must constantly operate in order to keep the wasted water warm. Before you scald yourself by tampering with the shower head, make sure the valve is set to cold. Then turn off the water supply and place a towel on the base of the bathtub or floor, covering the plug. This will protect the shower head components if they drop and prevent small parts from going down the drain. Remember to exercise caution. Make sure the floor is dry before you start in order to prevent slips and falls.
Clean Off Mineral Deposits
When lime and mineral deposits accumulate around the seals, they can create spaces for water to pass through. Remove the shower head or faceplate – most shower heads will simply unscrew. Immerse the faceplate and/or shower head in white vinegar for a few hours. This will dissolve any mineral deposits. Prod the faceplate holes with a toothpick to remove any excess debris, and then scrub with a plastic brush. Re-attach the shower head/faceplate and turn on the water.
Replace the Rubber Washer
Rubber washers (O rings) will naturally degrade with time. When they crack, water can seep through the gaps. To solve washer problems, you'll need a replacement. Take off the shower head and unscrew the collar nut – this is usually attached to the shower arm. The rubber washer should be located underneath the shower head. Simply pull it out and replace it with a new one.
Reassemble the Shower Head
When you've cleaned the shower head and replaced the O ring, screw the shower head, faceplate and shower arm back together. Be careful not to force the fixtures or tighten them too much. This could cause cracks. Turn the water back on, wait for a few seconds, and then turn it off again. Check back in a few minutes to see if there's still a leak.
If this method doesn't work, call a professional. Leaking shower repairs can be tricky, and if you don't have the tools and know-how, you could end up causing even bigger problems.