How To Change A Shower Head


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Your shower is a place you visit on a daily basis, so it’s important that it is both functional and comfortable. One of the best upgrades you can make to the shower is changing the shower head. That’s why we want to walk you through your options for doing so and teach you how to change a shower head.

blue shower head with water dripping

What Is a Shower Head?

The shower head is the place in the shower or bath rub area where the water sprays out from. The nozzle mounts directly to the water source on the shower wall or attaches to a hose. If your shower head has a hose, you have more flexibility. You can take it off the bracket on the wall and use it to distribute the water flow onto different areas of your body. There is no one-size-fits-all shower head. When you’re shopping for a new shower fixture, it’s important to consider your options. Understanding the different types of models available on the market today can help give you a better idea of what will and won’t work for you.

Before we cover how to change a shower head, let’s look at some different types that are available.

1. Fixed Shower Head.

The most common and traditional type of shower heads are the fixed wall-mounted ones. If you’re interested in learning how to change a shower head, chances are you’ll be dealing with a fixed shower head. These are easiest to install because they don’t need extra hardware. These shower heads are straightforward and don’t have a lot of bells and whistles. They usually offer decent water pressure. Some come with multiple functions and settings. With these, you can turn the nozzle for different spray patterns.

2. Ceiling Mounted

These shower heads are also known as “rain-drop shower heads,” as they resemble rain when turned on. They attach to the ceiling of your shower. They can be square, rectangular or round. Sometimes, they come in the form of an L-shaped panel. Though they are like fixed shower heads, they tend to be a lot bigger. Rain shower heads are typically directly above you in the shower.

3. Adjustable Shower Heads and Handsets.

These are the best option if you are looking into how to change a shower head to make it more flexible and custom. They are popular because of the many settings they come with. You can adjust the faucet to your preference. Some even have pulsating shower heads for massage purposes. Handsets attach to a hose, which can either connect to a fixed shower head or detachable bracket.

The shower head you choose will depend on what the reason is for you changing it is. For example, if you are looking to modernize the appearance of your bathroom, consider a ceiling-mounted fixture. If you are more concerned with water pressure, fixed-mounted designs might be more practical.

blue shower head with water dripping

Factors to Consider

woman in a shower

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There are some things to consider when choosing the right shower head. One thing you won’t have to worry about is whether the new shower head you pick out will fit. The reason for this is that, in the U.S., the National Pipe Thread is a standardized size of ½ inch. So, the elbow of the shower system will generally always be the same.

You also want to consider the type of spray settings you prefer or want in a new shower head. Do you like a wide spray or a more targeted one? Shower heads that feature multiple spray setting options are great for families. Perhaps not every person in your family enjoys the same level of water pressure or spray pattern. Different settings can be used for different people and for various purposes. Having the option to change the water settings as necessary is convenient.

When considering which shower head you want, keep in mind that the wider the shower head, the less pressure you’ll get. So while you may like the look of a large shower head, it’s important to consider that it will have a weaker pressure than smaller fixtures.

When considering which shower head you want, keep in mind that the wider the shower head, the less pressure you’ll get. So while you may like the look of a large shower head, it’s important to consider that it will have a weaker pressure than smaller fixtures. Make a list of everything you do and do not like about your current shower head. What do you wish you could improve? Making a list of your priorities and necessities can help make your search go much smoother. Talk to the specialists selling the fixtures to see if there are certain products they recommend based on your specific needs.

Another thing to consider is water pressure and energy efficiency, which often go hand in hand. The more water pressure your shower head has, the more energy it uses. If you want to improve the energy efficiency of your bathroom, look for shower heads that have a WaterSense label. EPA sponsors these labels and ensures that the fixtures don’t use over 2.0 GPM (gallons per minute). The standard, federally mandated flow rate of new shower heads is 2.5 GPM, meaning 2.5 gallons is the maximum amount of water that should flow from a shower head per minute.

Once you have decided on the type of shower head you want to install, make sure to read reviews on the items before purchasing it. This helps ensure you choose a quality fixture. But, the online reviews may also inform you of the experiences other customers had while installing it. They may be able to offer some specific directions and advice when it comes to changing that specific shower head.

blue shower head with water dripping

Is It Necessary to Change Your

Shower Head?

chrome shower head

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If you’re happy with your current shower head, you may find no need to change it. If you think it could be better, though, it’s easy to learn how to change a shower head. Many people don’t even realize that they may be overpaying on water bills due to a faulty shower head.

Shower heads don’t just influence your comfort in bathing. They also affect your home’s water usage. After toilets and washing machines, showers are typically the largest source of water usage in the home. Although they generally use less water than baths, there may be ways to improve the efficiency of water usage in your home and lower your utility bills.

Chances are that if you have never changed your shower head, it’s time for an upgrade. Here are some signs it’s time to learn how to change a shower head.

Low Water Pressure

If you wish you had a stronger flow of water or the current pressure is weak, changing out the shower head may just do the trick. Your showers can become a lot quicker if you have better water pressure. There’s a chance that your spray pattern quality isn’t as great as it once was because of the buildup of magnesium and calcium from hard water. If that’s the case, look for shower heads that can help soften water. By changing the fixture, you can alter how the water is distributed during the shower. You can adjust the spray pattern and strength.

Appealing Aesthetics

Maybe you’re just looking to update the appearance of your bathroom. One of the best ways to do that is to modernize the fixtures. When you learn how to change a shower head, you can make your shower look instantly more up to date without spending a fortune on a complete remodel. Today’s shower head options are abundant. You can find ones with a variety of spray settings, massage options, and water conservation features. You can also make it more luxurious. Make the most out of your shower time by making it as enjoyable as possible. Modern fixtures provide a variety of settings and features that you can use to turn an outdated and mundane shower into a spa-like experience. It’s great if you can find a shower head that works well, but even better if it looks good, too.

blue shower head with water dripping

Here Is How to Change

a Shower Head in

5 Easy Steps

Once you have your new shower head picked out, it’s time to learn how to change a shower head. To start, you are going to need a handful of materials, including pliers, a wrench, a towel, and Teflon tape. Depending on the type of fixture you are installing, you may also need an adapter kit.


Remove the Old Shower Head

Start by putting a towel down on the shower or tub area to prevent any damage to the surface of the shower area. The next step in the process is to remove the old shower head. Twist the fixture in a counter-clockwise direction to see whether you can remove it with just your hands. If it won’t budge, wrap a towel around the shower’s arm and hold it in place with pliers. With your other hand, use an adjustable wrench around the base of the shower head and twist counter-clockwise until you can loosen and remove it. You may also have to use paint thinner to break up old plumber’s putty.


Clean the Pipes

Once the old shower head is off, take a minute to clean out any excess gunk, rust, or buildup. Wipe the threads clean with a damp towel. Not only will this mean cleaner water during your shower, but could also significantly help improve the water pressure. Plus, the rest of the installation process will go a bit smoother.


Apply Teflon Tape

Now, it’s time for the Teflon tape. We apply this to the shower stem to help seal the shower head and prevent water leakage. You should apply the Teflon tape in the same direction that the new shower head will tighten. Make sure you firmly press the tape into the threads (or the linear grooves in the shower arm). Wrap the tape around two to three times.


Attaching the New Shower Head

The steps for this phase of the process depend on the shower head fixture you’ve chosen. If it’s a fixed-mount model, you will probably be able to screw it in by hand. Turn it clockwise until it feels secure. If it’s a handset model, you will twist it on clockwise before connecting the house to the mount. Check to see if there are any specific directions provided by the new shower head manufacturer. Be careful not to over-tighten.


Check for Leaks

Once you’ve followed these steps, it’s time to check for any leaks. Turn the faucet on and step back out of the way. Are there any streams coming from the sides or bottom of the stem? If you notice any leakage, it’s likely that the new shower head was not fastened tightly enough. It’s also possible you may need to remove the fixture to add more Teflon tape.

If the shower head you are learning how to change involves a combination of fixed-mount and hand-held fixtures, you will also need a diverter kit.

When you are learning how to change a shower head, it’s important to look up instructional videos and tutorials based on the specific type of fixture you are working with. By doing a bit of research and following this guide, this home improvement project can be a simple and quick process. It will go a lot smoother, though, if you gather the tools you need ahead of time and access any instructions provided by the manufacturer of the new shower head you are installing.

Of course, you could always hire a professional to ensure the installation process goes as smooth as possible. But, this is a bathroom renovation project that is relatively simple and attainable with just a few basic tools and some brief research.

blue shower head with water dripping


Whether you’re looking for better water pressure, a variety of spray patterns, or just want to modernize the look of your bathroom, learning how to change a shower head can be beneficial. By following a few simple steps, you’ll be able to improve and upgrade both the appearance and functionality of your shower. Learning how to change the fixture yourself can instill a level of confidence and satisfaction you wouldn’t otherwise experience when hiring a professional to do the work for you.

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