How to Fix a Leaky Shower: 6 Easy Steps


leaky shower

A leaky showerhead can be a pain to listen to while you’re trying to get to sleep. But it’s more than just an annoyance; left unfixed, it can waste more than 500 gallons per year (assuming it’s dripping 10 times per minute).

Not only is this incredibly wasteful, but it can also crank up your bills. Naturally, you’ll want to fix this so you can get some peace and quiet, be eco-friendly, and save on your utilities.

If you’re wondering how to fix a leaky shower on your own, then keep reading! We’ll give you 7 easy steps to do so.

1. Prepare Your Work Area

Before you start any work, you need to get the area prepped. Make sure you have a spare cartridge on hand, as you’ll be replacing it once you dismantle the shower faucet.

First, shut off the water supply to your shower. You may have to shut off all the water for your home in some cases.

Also, either plug or cover the drain so no small parts accidentally get lost in the abyss. You’ll also want to protect the surfaces so scratches and dents don’t occur either.

2. Uncap and Unscrew the Handle

To get to the cartridge, you’ll have to get to the bare bones of your shower handle.

The first thing you need to do is pry off the handle cap. You can usually do this easily by wedging your finger underneath it and popping it off. If you’re having some trouble, use a pocketknife to do this.

By doing this, you’ll expose the handle screw. Use a screwdriver to loosen and remove it.

After getting the screw out, you should be able to pull off the entire handle. At this point, double-check the water’s off by trying to turn on a faucet in the bathroom.

3. Get Rid of the Old Cartridge

Now that you’ve exposed the inside of the shower faucet, you should see a tube-like structure; this is the stop tube. Pull it out and then look for the cartridge’s retaining clip. Pull that upwards with your screwdriver.

Then, look for the handle washer; this should be in the small circular tube in the middle. Remove it, and then you’ll be able to twist the cartridge stem loose. This is the circular tube that the washer was on.

Here, you should be able to remove the old cartridge by using a pair of sturdy pliers and pulling outwards. But if you’re not able to, then you may need to use a special cartridge puller.

4. Use a Cartridge Puller If Necessary

This tool is a little more complicated to use than just pulling out a cartridge with pliers. However, it shouldn’t be too hard to do on your own. Newer models of cartridges will come with a removable cap on it so you can use it to pull out the old one.

To use the removal cap, just line it up with the old cartridge’s ears and twist it loose with the cap. Once it’s loose enough, you can then dislodge it with your pliers.

If your new cartridge doesn’t have a removal cap, then you’ll have to purchase a cartridge puller. Do note that they’re often brand and faucet specific, so double-check that the one you buy is compatible with your shower’s cartridge.

To use it, you’ll have to remove the hex screw and nut from the cartridge. Then, you’ll have to align the cartridge puller with the cartridge notches after you slide it over the stem. You might have to look for a clip or spring; once you find it, remove it.

You should be able to remove the cartridge at this point.

Now, keep turning the hex screw until it’s at the back. Pull the cartridge puller’s handle and take the cartridge out.

If you’re not able to remove the old cartridge, then tighten the hex nut. This should enable you to pull out the cartridge.

5. Put the New Cartridge In

If you haven’t already bought a new cartridge, bring the old one to a home improvement store to purchase a replacement.

Once you’re home, align the new cartridge with the shower faucet. Then, take all the parts that were disassembled and reaffix them to the faucet.

This means you need to put the retaining clip back into place, reaffix the handle washer, replace the handle screw and tighten it, and replace the shower handle knob as well.

6. Get Professional Shower Tile Sealing Done

Leaks can come from the showerhead, but if you don’t have your tiles done correctly, they’ll leak as well. This can result in water damage below the tiles and will require expensive repairs.

A way to prevent this from happening is to get professional shower tile sealing. Because they’re experts, they can ensure your shower is sealed properly and will last for years to come.

Plus, professional shower tile sealing comes with a myriad of benefits. They include fewer cleanings, easier cleanings, and resistance from staining. The biggest benefit is it’ll prevent mold growth, which can keep you and your family a lot healthier.

Know How to Fix a Leaky Shower

Now that you know how to fix a leaky shower, you’ll have a better time conserving water the next time you hear that “drip drop” sound coming from your bathroom.

But just remember that you want to leave the big fixes for the pros! There are other reasons for leaks, after all. Make sure that you use professional plumbers for those issues; otherwise, you risk having a larger and more problematic issue on your hands.

For more home improvement articles, please take a look at our other blog posts.

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