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How to Replace a Shower Head Arm

Stainless shower head arm isolated on a white backgroun

One of the easiest home repair tasks is found in your bathroom. It does not take a lot of experience or knowledge to remove the old shower head and arm. When you have a problem with your shower’s water pressure, this is the spot to look at first.

While it rarely faces destructive forces inside the home, the shower head can get old and break down. Or it may get clogged due to hard water deposits and other issues. When that happens, it is time to replace both the shower head and the shower head arm.

In order to do that, just keep reading our article. It has the steps and information you need to do a great job, even if you are not a plumber.

How to Replace the Shower Head Arm

close up of plumbers tools in a tool belt

Step 1 – Gather Your Tools and Supplies

The first step you need to take is to go out and buy the replacement parts. The good news is that you may be overwhelmed by all the options you will have once you get to the store. Don’t forget to pick up some Teflon tape as well.

Your tools can come from your toolbox if you own a pair of channel lock pliers and a flat head screwdriver.

Step 2 – Remove the Old Shower Head & Arm

This is a very straightforward task that only takes a minute or two to do. All you have to do is place the channel lock pliers over the portion of the shower head that screws into the arm.

Once you are ready, turn the shower head counter-clockwise until you get it off. The pliers are only needed to break the seal and you should be able to unscrew the head with hand after the seal is broken.

Step 3 – Remove the Arm

Man in plaid shirt removing shower head from tiled shower stall

This step is also straight-forward, and it is the same technique as you used for the shower head. Just lock the pliers into place and give it a solid turn counter-clockwise. Once the arm is loose, you can use your hands to finish the task.

Sometimes it is possible to skip step #2 and just remove both parts at the same time. It is up to you and your situation if you do that. Once both parts are off, lay them out of your way so you do not accidentally step on them and hurt yourself.

Step 4 – Apply the Teflon Tape

This is an essential part of this process, one that cannot be skipped. As tight as threads go they are not so tight that they block water from going through them. You need to wrap Teflon tape over both ends of the arm and make sure you cover them quite well.

Usually, only about 3 or 4 trips around the threads will plug any water leaks.

Step 5 – Attaching the New Arm & Shower Head

It is a good idea to place the arm on first and then tighten it by hand. Once you get the arm hand tight, wrap an old cloth around the arm and then use the pliers to give it one final turn.

You do not need to over-tighten but make sure it is nice and snug. It is possible to attach the head to the arm first, but if you do that, you will need a second pair of pliers to hold both parts until they are tightly together.

New shower head with a coiled hose isolated on a grey background

Step 6 – Attach the Shower Head

Just repeat the process you used for the shower head arm. It is just as simple and the rag is used so you do not damage your new parts before you use them. When both the shower head and arm are in place, turn the faucet on and do a little water leak test.

If there are no leaks, then you are fine. If there is a water leak, you will have to remove the arm and shower head and add more Teflon tape to the threads where the water is coming out.

Tip 1: Before you attempt this repair, make sure the water is turned off. You do not want to get wet.

Tip 2: Sometimes you only need to replace the shower head. When you do, make sure to use all plastic washers included in the package. This is done when replacing both parts as well.

Tip 3: If you can’t stop the water from leaking, call a plumber.

Some Final Words

Running stainless steel shower with grey tile

As you can see, this task is not very difficult, and it is very straightforward. There should be no surprises unless you forget to turn the water off. Just do one step at a time and you will be fine.

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