Your sleep may be interrupted by the monotonous drip of a leaking showerhead. However, the issue goes beyond simple discomfort. A showerhead that drops once every three seconds loses approximately 700 gallons of water annually, even though one drop may not seem like much. But it’s still a waste of money. Therefore, repairing your leaking showerhead reduces frustration and conserves resources and cash.

It is conceivable for a showerhead to leak due to a faulty joint at the shower arm, the angled pipe that supports the showerhead and runs into the wall, but it is far more likely that the issue is with the showerhead itself or the faucet valve that regulates the shower.

Before starting.

The water stream from your showerhead may first trickle rather than spray out in a mighty torrent when the faucet is turned on. When you see this, it’s generally because lime or sediment buildup has blocked the shower head’s many port apertures, preventing water from flowing freely through them. If this is the condition, it often worsens over time. Initially a spray, the water stream eventually progresses into a dribble.

A showerhead that no longer flows correctly has to be taken out and cleaned. Or you could replace the showerhead altogether, which is a simple fix.

Showers, however, can develop leaks that let out a tiny quantity of water flow even when the faucet is turned off. The cartridge that regulates the water flow has to be replaced, which requires disassembling the faucet. This is another simple DIY project that almost every shower will eventually need.

Examine and maintain the showerhead.

Rubber O-rings, a screen, and maybe additional components are all parts of the showerhead. Make sure they are not obstructed by silt or damaged in any way. If the interior of the shower head is unclean, clean your showerhead by soaking it in a basin of white vinegar for an hour or two. Rinse with cold water before putting the components back together.

Pipe threads wrapped.

With a tiny scrub brush, scrub the shower arm’s threads clean. Next, wrap the lines in one or two loops of Teflon tape. Reattach the showerhead to the shower arm and hand tighten it. Watch how the water stream works by momentarily turning on the shower faucet.

Consider changing completely the showerhead, however, if it still drips when the faucet is turned on. 

How to change the cartridge in the faucet

A replacement cartridge within the faucet contains seals and rings that regulate the flow. If this cartridge does not seal correctly, water will still dribble up to the showerhead even if the handle is off the tap. When a cartridge starts to leak, it should be changed immediately. 

Cut the water off.

Turn off the water if there is upstream from the shower controls. There may be intermediate fixture shutoff valves in your house, usually hidden behind a wall panel on the side opposite the shower. Some shower faucets have water shutdown valves built right into the faucet body. Turn the valves with a screwdriver to stop water flow from the hot and cold supply tubes into the faucet body. After you take off the escutcheon plate from the shower faucet, you can see these shutoffs. However, a lot of showers lack fixture shutdown valves. It would help to close the main shutoff valve to stop the water flow.

Take the faucet handle off.

With a screwdriver or tool knife, carefully pull away the cap that is likely attached to the end of the shower faucet handle. Remove the cover and then unfasten the handle screw. The handle screw may sometimes need to be removed with a hex wrench.

Escutcheon plate removal.

An escutcheon, or broad-facing plate, typically covers the faucet valve. Remove the mounting screws holding the escutcheon to the wall. You may have to cut through a caulk bead around it to get rid of the escutcheon.

Take away the retaining clip.

Typically, metal retaining clip secures the faucet cartridge within the faucet body. To remove this U-shaped retention clip, use a flat-head screwdriver carefully. Remove any washers that are present on the cartridge’s end. For this procedure, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. You may obtain the written instructions for your specific faucet online if you no longer have them. Shower valves that are thermostatic or pressure-balancing may have manufacturer-specific procedures for changing the cartridges and modifying the temperature settings.

Pull the cartridge out.

Remove the old cartridge from the faucet body by sliding it out. Most of the time, cartridges slip in and out without turning or twisting, but sometimes, you may need to hold the stem with channel lock pliers and spin the cartridge to remove it.

Replace the cartridge.

If you line up the tab on the shower cartridge with the groove on the faucet body, it will simply slip into place. Replace the retaining clip and hex screw, if any, after inserting the cartridge. Removed washers should also be replaced.