Fix-It Chick: Some tips on installing a shower head

With so many new and improved shower head options available, it might be time to consider upgrading that old calcified shower head with a new and improved model. Replacing a shower head is one of the easiest and instantly gratifying plumbing fix-it jobs out there.

Step 1: Choose a new shower head based on preference and need. Some shower heads offer increased water pressure for low-flow situations, while others offer multiple shower options, including jet pulse, massage and rainlike flows. There are even Bluetooth shower head options that play music and allow workaholics and social butterflies to answer phone calls while showering.

Step 2: With the water turned off in the shower, hold the shower arm firmly with one hand. Remove the old shower head using an adjustable wrench or a pair of locking pliers, turning the coupling nut at the end of the shower arm to the left; or counter clockwise. Keep turning until the shower head is detached from the shower arm.

Step 3: If there is any calcium or lime buildup on the shower arm, use a green scrub pad and a chemical de-limer such as CLR to clean the threads of the shower arm. Dry the arm with a soft towel and wrap the threads, clockwise, with two or three layers of white Teflon tape.

Step 4: Hold the shower arm with one hand and hand tighten the new shower head onto the shower arm with the other. Turn the head onto the Teflon-coated threads until there is resistance. Do not overtighten the shower head or the new coupling nut may crack, and that would be sad.

Step 5: Turn the water on to the shower and check for leaks. Continue to hand tighten the shower head coupling nut until no further leaks appear. If necessary, use an adjustable wrench or locking pliers to tighten the coupling nut a quarter turn more at a time. Be aware that using locking pliers on the coupling nut could damage the finish.

Step 6: Once the leaks have stopped and the water is flowing freely through the new shower head, put away your tools, recycle the old shower head and make plans to take a nice long shower as soon as possible.

— Have a question? Email Linda Cottin at