For me, there’s nothing better than a relaxing hot shower. But when the shower head has a leak that shoots everywhere, it ruins the experience. Plus, the high utility bills also kill relaxation!
If your shower head is leaking, you’ll want to fix the problem immediately. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to call a plumber. The solution might be much simpler than you think. Before spending lots of money on a repair, you can learn how to fix a leaking shower head by considering the following helpful tips.
Shower head leaking from ball joint could be due to a loose shower head screw. It can also be caused by a buildup of lime and mineral deposits. The problem may also be fixed by replacing the cartridge. If all else fails, replacing the entire shower head will fix the problem.
Start by Unclogging Your Shower Head Holes
Before you unclog the shower head, you must turn off the water supply line. The leak may be due to clogged shower holes. This happens from the buildup of lime and other mineral deposits (https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/how-to-clean-a-shower-head). It is something that happens gradually over time.
When you are not sure what is causing the leak, this is a good place to start. If this is the problem, you’re in luck! It is a simple and inexpensive solution. The repair doesn’t require you to take apart the whole shower fixture.
Let’s review the steps to follow:
Step 1: Shut Off the Water Supply Line
This can be done in two ways. You can either turn off the water supply to your entire home or turn off the water supply to the shower.
It is probably easier to turn off the water supply line to your bathroom only instead of the entire home. This is the best choice if you have an active household. Not all homes have a shutoff valve to the bathroom. If you have one, you’ll probably find it near the shower or in your basement.
Step 2: Remove the Shower Head Faceplate or the Entire Shower Head
Remove the shower head fixture to remove the buildup of lime and minerals from the shower head. You’ll have to soak and scrub all the parts of the shower head where you see buildup. If you can, try to only unscrew the shower’s faceplate.
If you cannot only remove the shower’s faceplate, then you’ll have to remove the entire shower head from the fixture. Check the owner’s manual from the manufacturer for instructions on how to do this. Each make and model has particular instructions you can follow.
In a common disassembly, you will see screws surrounding the shower head faceplate. You may also see screws on the shower head. Once you remove all the screws, gently twist the faceplate or shower head counterclockwise. The piece should easily come off without force.
Step 3: Soak and Demineralize
Next, take the piece you remove (faceplate or shower head) and immerse it in vinegar. Let the piece soak for at least eight hours. You will need a container or bucket that is large enough to hold the piece submerged.
This can also be done in the bathroom sink. This is easier if you have another bathroom in the house you can use.
Step 4: Manually Remove Buildup
Soaking is not enough, you’ll have to manually remove the lime and mineral deposits. Vinegar is very powerful, it will dissolve lime and mineral buildup in eight hours. After this is done, the buildup will be loose but will have to be manually removed.
You can do this with a nail or toothpick. It must be thin enough to fit into the shower head holes. Remove the debris hole by hole until the whole faceplate or shower head is complete. After completing that step, finish removing the buildup with a stiff plastic brush.
A great hack to try instead is to use an air compressor to blow out debris. This machine is gentle enough to be effective without causing damage. Just be sure to follow these safety guidelines (https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/safety_haz/compressed_air.html) when using an air compressor.
Step 5: Test the Shower Head for Leaks
Now, it is time to see if unclogging the shower head holes has fixed the leak. Reattach the faceplate or shower head by putting the screws back on. Turn back on the water supply line making sure the faucet is turned off.
If the shower is not leaking from the ball joint or anywhere else, then the problem is fixed! However, if you still detect a leak, you’ll have to investigate further.
Check the Shower Head Screw at the Ball Joint
The ball joint has a screw that is designed to keep the shower head in place. It prevents the shower head from twisting off the nipple. Otherwise, it would fall off and potentially hit your head.
A leak can form when the threaded connection between the shower head and the nipple is compromised. This is the most common type of leak that can occur at the ball joint. The solution could be as simple as applying thread sealant.
Other solutions include replacing the gasket. To do this, loosen the shower head screw so that you can remove or tighten the shower head. Then, you can tighten the screw again and see if that fixes the leak.
If you still experience a leak, you may have a defective shower head. You may have to replace the plastic bushing that creates a watertight seal at the swiveling joint.
Remove Debris or Dirt From the Ball Joint
Sometimes the shower head leaks from accumulated dirt or debris at the joint. Attempt to tighten the shower head with a wrench to see if that stops the leak. If it doesn’t, loosen it and remove it from the arm.
Inspect all parts to see if there’s an accumulation of lime and mineral deposits. Find a bucket large enough to accommodate the parts and soak them in vinegar for eight hours. After the soaking is complete, manually remove any debris with a scraper.
Put the parts back together making sure the shower head is tightened all the way. Now, you’ll be ready to test your shower.
Inspect the Valve at the Ball Joint
Some leaks occur from faulty valves. The simplicity of this repair will depend on the age of your shower head. Working on this task could be challenging. With the help of video tutorials, you should be able to do it yourself. Otherwise, a plumber will be able to do a quick repair.
If you have a valve that is on the higher end of models on the market, it will have a seat. You can change the seat together with the call and other hardware components. This could make the leak stop. If not, you may have to replace the entire valve assembly.
Examine the Shower Cartridge
Another possible cause of a leak at the ball joint is the shower cartridge. Consider replacing it if you have tried other solutions that haven’t worked. The valve body has a plastic cartridge that regulates hot and cold water.
This piece is what allows you to calibrate the temperature of the water. See if the cartridge is damaged with visible cracks. Replacing the cartridge is simple as long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Change Shower Head
Finally, if all else fails, you may need to change the shower head. Perhaps you have an outdated shower head. It would be a great opportunity to upgrade your shower.
It is an easy project that could be a lot of fun. There are many shower head models with new features you may want to enjoy.
When purchasing a new shower head, be sure it matches the current pipe. This will make your life much easier.
So, there you have it! As you can see, a shower head leaking from ball joint is a simple DIY project. With a little patience, you’ll be able to detect the problem.
The solutions are easy to perform without the need to call a plumber. Besides, who doesn’t like a little challenge?