Asking for professional help in fixing a faulty shower pipe may be the first thing that comes to your mind whenever a mishap occurs, but this can be expensive, and while the bigger and more complex jobs require a professional, there are problems you can fix yourself, if you have some special tools. (Of course, if you need to purchase the tools, or are not practically minded, calling a professional may be a whole lot easier). Fixing it promptly can save you money because a faulty shower pipe can waste gallons of water if left unfixed.
Plus, if the hot water side is faulty, you might be wasting a significant amount of electricity as well, as the geyser needs to operate continuously to keep the leaking water warm.
There are various reasons as to why your shower pipes and taps might be faulty such as:
- Worn out inner seals
- Parts have become corroded over time
- Parts have clogged up with hard water deposits. (Easy to see when the water sprays out the shower head in all directions)
If you are using a shower with two tap handles (one for hot and one for cold water), then this is how you can fix it.
- Shut off the water supply
Make sure that the main water supply is shut off before you start working on the shower pipe or tap. You can also have some towels on hand in case the water continues to drip while you are in the process of repairing.
- Feel the water
The next step is to feel the water. Is it hot or is it cold? If it’s hot, you know that the leak is coming from the hot water valve, and if it’s cold, it is coming from the cold-water valve.
- Remove the faucet handle.
This step will depend on the design of the tap. Older taps or those with basic and simple designs often have an exposed screw, while newly designed ones usually have the screws hidden beneath the cover cap. (You will need to pull the cover cap off). Use a screwdriver and unscrew the locking screw. Make sure to keep the screws safe to avoid them getting lost or tumbling down the drain as you perform the other steps.
- Remove the handle
The next thing you must do is wiggle and pull on the handle to extract it from the faucet’s body. It may not be easy, and it would be better if you had a faucet puller in hand. (This is where the professionals may come in handy). Next, remove the trim and the faucet sleeve that is over the faucet stem. You may need a plumber’s deep socket to extract the faucet stem from its valve body.
- Replace the parts
After you have extracted the faucet stem, replace all the faucet washers, seals, O-rings, and flat washers, which you can find at the end of the stem. If you are not sure of the sizes, remove the old ones and take them to a plumbing shop to show them so that you can be sure you replace with the correct size.
- Put everything back together.
Once you have replaced all significant parts, it’s now time to put everything back together. It would be best to lubricate the threads with a plumber’s grease before tightening them in the valve body. Put the handle back on (temporarily) and test the valve to see if it is already working correctly. You can finish the reassembly and seal the trim onto the wall with a tub caulk if it is.
Suppose your shower plumbing is faulty and you can’t fix it yourself. Then calling for professional help may be best. However, if you don’t have the budget or want to put your skills to the test, you can follow this simple procedure and try to fix faulty shower pipes through DIY.