Thursday, April 2, 2009

(Shower) Head of the Class

Life is too short to waste valuable minutes each day under a weak, dribbly, spitting shower head. If your shower lacks power, either because of corrosion or because your head was lousy to begin with, it's time to stop the madness. Especially because, unlike so many of the other things that cause you dissatisfaction in life (e.g. traffic, toe fungus, lack of interesting people to date), this one is so very easy to fix.

Not to mention that a new shower head can give an inexpensive and instantaneous style make-over to your bathroom, turning it into a luxurious spa retreat in your own home (note: you may also need to remove those adhesive teddy bear decals from the tub in order to fully accomplish this effect).

Here's what you've gotta do:
1. Decide whether you want to fix your old shower head, or get a replacement. My advice to you on this one is: Don't be a cheapskate! For crying out loud, you're already doing your own plumbing- spend the $25 on a new one and get on with it. However, if you are irrationally attached to your old shower head and believe that de-clogging it would be a valuable use of your time, you can find good instructions for that process here. I've never done it, personally, so I bid thee farewell on this part of your journey, and I'll meet you back at step 3.

2. Buy a new shower head. All of the models above are good looking and good for low water pressure. They are, left to right: The Down Under Wonder Shower head ($39), The "Rain" shower head ($59), The "Tropic Rainshower" head ($11), and the "Ultimate" showerhead ($29). If you don't like these, then shop around; has decent shower heads starting around $5.

3. Remove the old shower head. Check the underside for little screws and remove them if there are any. You might be able to just twist the whole head off with your hands (oh, you strong thing, you), or you might need a wrench. If you end up using a wrench or pliers, wrap the ends in tape to keep them from scratching the chrome on your fixtures. As you work, the whole pipe shouldn't feel like it's jiggling around in the wall. If it does, move very carefully- the last thing you want to do is shake something loose back there and cause a leak.

4. Once the shower head is off, use a rag to remove any residual teflon tape or plumber's putty from the threads on the pipe. You probably won't need to replace this, unless the new shower head leaks from this joint when you test it.

5. Screw the new shower head on by hand, tightening as much as you can. Run some water and see how it flows. If water is leaking from the joint, you may need to tighten further with a wrench, or to employ the use of some plumber's putty on the threads of the pipe.

6. Go get your whale sounds CD and some aromatherapy bath products and have a field day.

No comments: