Spa Treatment for the Shower
Hand-held shower heads are a cheap luxury. While a replacement head with lots of bells and whistles can cost several hundred dollars, a simple one with three or four spray choices is only $20. For a couple of bucks more one can purchase a shower head that provides water massage and there are combination heads with both a fixed and a hand held spray.
Hand-held shower heads offer a number of advantages over fixed sprays. Because the water can be directed anywhere they are a big help for cleaning the entire shower enclosure or tub – even the ceiling -and they make washing pets and small children a breeze. We do insist on pretending we didn’t know of the havoc one small child can wreck should he gain even momentary control of the device.
If you are replacing an old head, here is another plus; the new one will almost certainly be low flow, delivering 2.5 gallons per minute or less and saving water, energy, and money.
These heads couldn’t be easier to install. First remove the old shower head using an adjustable wrench or pliers. Pad the area with duct tape or wrap with a thin rag to protect it from scratching. As with any plumbing project, do not exert a lot of pressure on the pipe and know where the water shut-off valve either for the shower or for the whole house is located before you begin.
Remove any old plumbers tape and wipe off the shower stem that protrudes from the wall with a damp rag. Clear away any mold or mineral deposits using bleach for the former or white vinegar or CLR for the latter.
If your new head specifies that the pipe be wrapped with Teflon tape wrap it around the threads counterclockwise. Screw the sprayer holder onto the shower stem and hand-tighten it; then connect the shower hose to the holder, and hand tightening again. Next, connect the shower head to the hose and tighten holder, hose, and head. If you have to use a wrench on any part, cushion it again with tape or a rag. Turn on the water and check the connections. Tighten again, carefully, if there are any leaks.
Some types of shower heads slide vertically on a rail. These are great for families where there are both short and tall people using the same shower, but it requires drilling holes in the wall to mount the rail.
After all of that hard work – it probably took at least 15 minutes – you deserve a nice long relaxing shower; maybe even a massage. Enjoy.