Install a new shower head

Ah the shower… That glorious place we all love to just stand for a moment and pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist. Do you like to take a moment before work in the morning and just relax under the hot water? Are you somebody who gets all of their ideas in the shower so you keep a waterproof pad next to it?

No? Well whats wrong with your shower? Every person should be able to enjoy a few brief moments of waterfall bliss. And boy is there a lot of options to upgrade your experience. Log into your favorite online retailer and you’ll find musical shower heads, rainfall shower heads, massaging shower heads, etc. etc. And if you happen to log into the right retailer, you might even be offered the handy option of having the shower head installed!! Great! you think, its only $87.59, I’ll just site here on the couch while my new shower head is installed and then indulge for a little while.

Um wait, not so fast, the average American brings in $50,756 per year in pretax income. The average working year has 2080 hours in it. So Average Joe brings home about $24 per hour pretax and probably around $20 per hour after tax. Suddenly the luxurious experience of having someone else turn that proverbial wrench for you turned into 4+ hours of work. How much do you love your job?

Here is the thing, a shower just ain’t that complicated. There are some male parts and some female parts and they fit in the usual sense – male into female in the direction of water flow. Oh and there is some Teflon involved too. Confused? Let me show you.

Here are the two basic concepts you need to understand:

  1. Righty Tighty Lefty Loosey – So basically when you are looking at anything that screws a male part into a female part, if you turn right you will tighten, if you turn left you will loosen. Got that? Here is a handy diagram to remind you:

2. Male parts fit into female parts in the direction of water flow. So for example continuing with our bolt/screw analogy:

Ok now, that we have this out of the way, lets pick one of the shower heads I just mentioned and install it. Here is what we will need:

  • The shower head, I picked the musical shower head so that I can listen to music from my phone on it.

  • Some teflon tape. You can get it at your local hardware store really inexpensively or you can follow the provided link.

Next we want to remove the old shower head. You will need a tool to do this, but don’t worry its not so expensive. You can buy one of two tools:

  • An adjustable wrench: The cool thing about an adjustable wrench is that it can fit many different sizes. The only thing you need to make sure is that the biggest possible size will fit your needs. In this case if you go with the 12 inch wrench you should have no problems.
  • A fixed size wrench. This wrench comes in a fixed size. The good thing about these wrenches is that they tend to be slimmer than the adjustable wrench. This means they can fit into tighter spaces.

In this case my adjustable wrench was too fat to fit onto the shower head. For this reason I went with a fixed size wrench. The actual size was 7/8 inch or 22 mm. Your shower might be different but its safe to say you will need a large open wrench – check carefully before you buy a set. Large sizes tend to be missing.

Note in the picture below that on the back of the head, the female part of the shower head appears round. There are only two small flat grooves that allow us to insert a wrench. This is ecstatically pleasing but means we actually need the right tool. But don’t worry, the tool is universal and will come in handy many times.

Now we place the wrench on the back of the showed head like this.

If you opted for the adjustable wrench, use your thumb to roll the jaws shut and then rotate the wrench counter-clockwise. Remember, lefty loosey. And off comes the shower head.

Notice that the end of the pipe looks dirty. That torn white stuff is actually teflon tape left from the last time someone installed your old shower head!

Now we need to prepare the pipe (male end) for the new shower head. Take your teflon tape and wind clockwise, righty tighty, three turns. We roll clockwise because we want the tape to stay on as we tighten the new shower head.

Finally, we screw on the new shower head. Righty tighty by hand until you feel rightness. Once the shower head feels tight by hand, take your wrench and turn 1/4 turn more to the right. And you’re done!

Now run the water and look behind the shower head to make sure its not leaking. If its leaking, turn another 1/4 turn with your wrench and test again. Turn a little bit at a time until the leak stops. Remember, turning with a wrench is easier than with a hand. You can break weak plastic shower heads if you turn too much.

Now go and enjoy your new shower head! Sing some songs! Be inspired!

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