Archive for Monday, May 30, 2011


Fix-It Chick: Install a handheld shower head

May 30, 2011


Handheld shower heads offer numerous benefits to young and old alike. It is easy to replace a standard shower head with a handheld unit. For bathrooms that lack a shower altogether, replacing the existing tub spout with one that boosts an outlet for a hose attachment is also an option.

Step 1: Most handheld showers come with a mounting bracket that screws directly onto the existing shower arm. Other units come with a mountable wall bracket. If it is desirable to mount the shower head at a height different than the existing shower arm, a unit with a wall mountable bracket is the best choice.

Step 2: With the water turned off in the shower, use one hand to hold the shower arm firmly and the other to unscrew the old shower head. Turn the coupling nut above the swivel portion of the head counterclockwise. It may be helpful to use an adjustable wrench or vise grips to facilitate the process.

Step 3: Clean the shower arm threads with some vinegar and a green scrub pad, then wrap the threads, clockwise, three times, with Teflon tape.

Step 4: For shower heads with a wall mountable bracket, determine the best location for the shower head. Make sure the head is mounted low enough for everyone to reach it comfortably, but high enough to facilitate a traditional shower. Hold the mounting bracket in position and mark the screw holes.

Step 5: Use an appropriate sized drill bit and pre-drill the screw holes into the shower wall. For tile-mounted applications, use a carbide tip tile bit to drill the holes.

Step 6: Add a dab of silicone sealant into the holes and screw the mounting bracket into place.

Step 7: For shower heads that mount directly to the existing shower arm, hand-tighten the mounting bracket onto the shower arm.

Step 8: Hand-tighten the shower hose onto the open end of the shower arm and connect the handheld shower head to the other end of the hose.

Step 9: Turn the water on and let it run for about a minute to check for any leaks. Hand-tighten any loose connections until the leaks disappear.

Step 10: Hook the shower head on the mounting bracket, put away your tools and prepare to enjoy a relaxing, spalike shower at your earliest convenience.

— Linda Cottin can be reached at


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