DIY: Installing a new shower head

We recently moved (yikes!)  I have all kinds of moving and packing tips to share but they will have to wait for another day.  Today I want to tell you about the very first “project” we completed in our new house.  It’s something we always wanted to do at the old house but never got up the nerve to do because we lacked the experience and thought it was going to be difficult.  Boy were we wrong…

What am I talking about you ask?  Why, changing a shower head of course!  (You read the title of the post right?)  The process was relatively simple.  If you have the right tools, you’re good to go!

You will need:

A new shower head

Two adjustable wrenches

A couple old rags

An old toothbrush

Teflon/plumber’s tape (see below)

original shower head

Here is the original shower head.  Doesn’t look half bad, does it?  Yeah, that’s what I thought too.  This thing was mean!  Being 19 years old, it had completely lost its ability to pivot so we weren’t able to adjust its spray direction…which meant it hit me directly in the face.  Awesome.  It also created so much water pressure that the water stung…not my idea of fun.  It lasted only a few days before we made a run to the hardware store to pick out a new one.

Step one:  Remove old shower head.  (All muscle for this project was provided by my handy Hubby.  Thanks honey!)

remove with wrenches

Begin by using two wrenches, one to hold the pipe going into the wall steady and one to grasp the shower head you are removing.  Use an old rag to protect the pipe (which will be staying) from getting all scratched up by the wrench.  No need for a rag on the old shower head unless you plan to use it again.  My only intention for this devilish shower head was to send it to its grave…muahaha.  Ahem.  Anyway, as I was saying, you’ll need to use the wrenches to loosen the shower head enough to be able to…

remove by hand

…unscrew it the rest of the way by hand.  Then throw that sucker away.  Next, you’ll want to make sure the old o-ring came out.  If not (ours stayed in the pipe) you’ll need to fish it out.  I used my pinky finger to pull it out (see, I helped too!)  Wipe the pipe clean of any remaining gunk. Ew.

remove o ring

Step two: Prep pipe for new shower head.  If your pipe has teflon tape on it from the old shower head, you’ll want to remove all of it before moving on.  I pulled as much off with my fingers as I could…(why does my thumb look 30x bigger than the rest of my fingers?!)

remove tape by hand

…but needed to go back with an old toothbrush to scrub the rest of it off.  It did not want to let go.  A little elbow grease did the trick in the end.

remove tape with toothbrush

At this point we were ready to apply our own fresh teflon tape.  Be sure to read installation instructions for your particular shower head carefully.  Some require using teflon tape, some say it is optional, and still others specifically state not to use tape.  Go with whatever your brand requires.  We needed tape so we wrapped it around the pipe twice and gently smoothed it into the threads of the pipe.

apply new tape to threads

See?  Nice and smooth…all ready for the new shower head!

threads prepped for new shower head

Step three:  Install new shower head!  Begin by screwing it on by hand until you are no longer able to tighten it any further.

new shower head by hand

At this point, bring back those rags from earlier to protect both the pipe and the shower head from getting too scratched up by the wrenches.  We still ended up with a couple scratches but they are hardly noticeable.  I can only imagine what it would have looked like without the rags.  Yikes!

new shower head with wrenches

Snug that puppy up nice and tight then remove wrenches and rags and fire it up!

finished product

Tada!  A fully functional, adjustable, needle-less shower head.  So much easier than I thought it was going to be thanks to my handy Hubby.  I’ll leave you today with a tip from Hubby…invest in a decent adjustable wrench.  If you don’t it will probably lock up on you mid-project and get stuck on the shower head for a good 10 minutes…in theory.  Another good reason to always use rags under your wrenches…a nice buffer if something like this happens to you.

wrench blooper

Conquered any home projects you’ve been putting off for fear they would be too tough to tackle?  I’d love to hear about it!

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5 thoughts on “DIY: Installing a new shower head

  1. Pingback: Best Shower Cleaning Discoveries EVER!! | Tonya Joyner Speaks

  2. Pingback: Why We Are Spoiled For Choice with Shower Heads

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