Q&A / 

Shower Head Leak

DEAR TIM: The adjustable shower massage we've been using has developed a leak, but the leak is at the point that the shower head connects to the pipe coming out of the wall. I tried another shower head we had in the house, and it leaks there too.

I've soaked the water filter inside the Shower Massage (thinking it was clogged), tried both shower heads with and without pipe tape, and tried new washers in both shower heads. Nothing has helped.

Could it be something with the pipe itself? Since the pipe protrudes from a sheet-rocked wall, am I going to need a plumber/carpenter to replace that and deal with cutting and replacing the sheet-rock? Kim Z., Manhattan, KS

DEAR KIM: When you connect a shower head or other fixture to the threaded one-half inch gooseneck pipe that protrudes from the wall, you must apply pipe thread compound or teflon sealing tape to the male pipe threads on the gooseneck. In your case, I think you didn't apply Teflon tape and/or installed it the wrong way.

The female threads on the fixtures and the male threads on the pipe fit tightly, but not so tight as to prevent high-pressure water or air from gliding past the connection. To seal pipe threads I always use pipe threading compound, not Teflon tape.

You should not need a plumber to help you. Go to any corner hardware store and they will have pipe thread compound.

Take off the fixture you have now being careful not to move the gooseneck pipe. Dry off the end of the gooseneck and apply the pipe thread compound to the threads. Put plenty on. If you decide to use the Teflon tape you have, peel off a four-inch strip of tape and wrap it around the threads in a clockwise fashion as you look at the end of the pipe.

Reattach the shower head and the leak should disappear once you tighten the fitting with a wrench.

If it still leaks, be sure the problem is not in the ball joint that is part of the actual shower head. If it is, then I think the shower head fixture is defective.


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