Did you know that the average person spends over 2 years of their life in their bathroom? Most people spend around 200 days just in their shower. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average shower lasts 8 minutes. While that may be crazy to think about it, it shows just how much your Phoenix home’s shower may be one of the most important plumbing sources in your home. When your shower has an issue, especially if it is constantly dripping, it can be not only irritating, but it can be costing you. We are going to review some tips for how you can fix a leaky shower head to not only alleviate the annoyance it is likely causing you, but to also help you minimize the amount of money and water that is just dribbling down the drain.
Why Does a Leaky Shower Head Matter?
If your home’s shower head is leaking and dripping, if you are like most people, it is probably causing you some irritation. Not only is the “drip, drip, drip” aggravating, you are literally watching money go down the drain. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 17% of all indoor water use, in a home, is reserved to showers. To put it in perspective, a shower head leaking at 10 drips per minute wastes more than 500 gallons per year. That's the amount of water it takes to wash 60 loads of dishes in your dishwasher (EPA).
Why is my Shower Head Leaking?
Now that you know that when your shower head is dripping is doing more than just aggravating your senses, you are probably trying to understand why the trickling started in the first place. We review some of the top reasons for a leaky shower head below.
- Time and Age: Let’s start with the obvious. As with all things, over time, your shower head may just simply wear out. There is really no set timeframe to replace your shower head, as it depends on what model/type you have, how often it is used, if you have hard or soft water, etc. Some experts suggest that shower heads should be replaced every six to eight months; while others say they are good for over 10 years. If there are issues with yours, it may be time to replace it.
- Dirt and Grim Buildup: The constant drip of a shower head can be caused by it needing to be cleaned. If there is dirt, grim, hard water, or lime scale buildup, it can affect the water flow and cause blockages and leaks. If your shower head is leaking, it could be a simple fix, and it just needs cleaned. If there is an extreme obstruction, it can cause plumbing to burst, as water and pressure cannot escape as intended, so if you notice even a small drip, it’s not something you should ignore.
- Damaged or Worn Seals: The washers or O-rings in your shower act as a watertight seal between connections on your shower head. These seals prevent water from escaping from areas it shouldn’t. With time and use, these components can wear out, and can harden or split. If this happens, water can leak out, creating the leaky shower head.
- Faucet Issues: Showers may have a variety of different faucet types (it all depends on your home and style); however, all of them could face issues that cause a leaking shower head. If your faucet is loose or there are failing parts in it (such as the valve), water can stay at a constant trickle, even when off. Be sure not to over tighten your faucet, as it could create a much larger issue for you.
How to Fix a Leaky Shower Head
If you have an issue with your shower head, you likely want to resolve it right away. The truth is, how to resolve a dripping shower head depends on what is causing the issue in the first place. Once you have determined what the source of the issue is, (our possible reasons for a leaky shower head above, should help) you can try to tackle stopping the drip on your own, or call a local Phoenix plumbing expert for help.