When you shower, you usually turn off the water and step out. Because the shower area is wet, a small leak is barely noticeable as you rarely stop to inspect the faucets and showerhead.
However, a leaky shower faucet is an issue and can waste a significant amount of water. Even worse, your water bill can skyrocket without you even realising.
A leak may seem like a minor issue that doesn’t need your attention, but the longer you leave it, the worse. In some cases, it could indicate a more severe problem with your plumbing systems.
The constant moisture caused by a dripping tap or showerhead can create mould and water damage to tiles and other surfaces in your bathroom.
Leakage can be annoying and expensive, wasteful, and damaging. And even if you can't hear that annoying drip sound, that doesn't mean you don't have a problem. The leaks you can't see can cause more severe damage without realising.
To know if you have leaks try to double-check that the water supply using the water mains is completely turned off. Including things you may have forgotten about, like a washing machine or evaporative air conditioner.
Check your mains water meter and see if the dial is moving at all? If it is, stop your search – you leak. If the dial is not moving, note down the numbers you see on the meter, representing kilolitres and litres if the dial is not visibly moving. Get on with your day for 10 minutes, remembering not to use any water in or around the house. Go back and check the meter for another meter reading. If the numbers don't match, you've got a leak in your water supply – somewhere.
If you've detected a leak, you need to find it! They can be anywhere in the house and can be undetected. The telltale signs can be wet areas like the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry. And also in places where damp patches can be easily detected. It could be in your garden and irrigation systems, hidden pipework, hot water and air conditioning systems.
Although you might be pretty handy, there are strict limits throughout Australia about plumbing work you can do. Yes, you can fix a leaking tap – but you can't go much beyond that without needing a licensed professional to do the work for you. As a general rule, if you aren't sure whether you need a licensed plumber, it's best not to risk breaking the regulations and voiding your insurance coverage.
Why is my shower head dripping water?
Several things could cause a leak in your shower, especially the shower heads. Depending on where the water is dripping from can also determine the source of the issue, making it much easier to fix. On some occasions, even when the water is not in use, the showerhead or faucet may still leak.
To prevent further plumbing complications and water wastage, fixing a leaky shower faucet or head is important. So, the first step is to understand why it's leaking.
Below are some common reasons for your leaky shower head or faucets to fail:
- A worn-out rubber, washer or o-ring or valve. If you have an older shower, the faucets may deteriorate over time.
- A build-up of mineral deposits. Over time, your shower fittings can start accumulating with limescale and other mineral deposits from water and other debris.
- Old fittings or incorrect installation. A fitting may be loose or not connected properly.
Of course, the best plan of action to fix leaking shower heads is to determine the style of shower head and taps you currently have installed. This ensures you are buying the correct tools and replacements for your leaky shower head.
How do I stop my shower head from dripping?
Turn off the water supply to the shower. Carefully remove the showerhead by unscrewing it counterclockwise. Search the area for any signs of accumulated mineral deposits. You can soak the entire shower head in white vinegar for 8 hours.
Inspect the showerhead and pay attention to the water holes. Brush over the holes with an old toothbrush, or you can use a pin to remove limescale and scum. Once this is complete, reattach the fittings.
Make sure the main water is still shut off. Remove the faucet handle by using a deep socket wrench. You can purchase a washer kit at most home improvement and hardware stores in your area. Using this kit, replace all rubber washers and valves in one go. When buying the equipment, remember what type of faucet you currently have in your bathroom.
A diverter valve changes the direction of water from the tap to the shower. To find this, detach your current tap handle. You will need first to remove and inspect your existing diverter valve. If it is worn, replace it with a new one. You can find these at most hardware stores. If your current one is still in good condition, you can clean it with white vinegar.
A cartridge valve controls the change of water temperature from hot to cold and the water pressure of a single-handled tap. To replace this is pretty simple. Start by disconnecting the tap handle to expose the valve. Remove the old one and install the replacement.
Turn the water to the entire house and see if the dripping has stopped. If you can still see the faucet or showerhead leaking with water, you must contact your local licensed plumber.
Do you need a plumber?
A professional plumber will have the tools and expertise to save your water supply and fix your water leak issues. You can still do the first steps of turning off the water, removing the showerhead, changing the rubber washer and replacing the shower valve. However, further investigation may be needed, and only a professional plumbing team can do that for you.
That’s all for now — best of luck!