How to Install a Drop Ell for a Handheld Shower

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The drop ell for a handheld shower is a round plumbing fixture with an L-shaped pipe built into the housing. The drop ell attaches at one end to the main water pipe on the shower wall and connects to the flexible hose for the handheld shower at the other end. The drop ell also provides a professional look to the installation since the part is typically built with an aesthetically attractive cover plate, which you may find preferable to looking at a bare pipe sticking out of the wall. Connecting the drop ell takes only a few minutes.

Things You'll Need

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Old towel
  • Teflon plumber's tape
  • Scissors
  • Caulk gun
  • Silicone caulk
  • Turn off the water for the shower at the main faucet.

  • Unscrew and remove any shower head currently installed on the pipe. Use an adjustable wrench to twist the nut on the shower head counterclockwise.

  • Wipe the pipe threads clean with an old towel. Wrap the threads with plumber's tape, pressing the Teflon-coated tape into the grooves. Cut the excess with scissors.

  • Apply a bead of silicone caulk around the perimeter of the wall pipe with the caulk gun.

  • Screw on the drop ell to the wall pipe until it's tight. The threaded pipe on the drop ell must be facing downward. Wait for the caulk to dry before proceeding, typically three to four hours.

  • Connect the vacuum breaker supplied with the handheld shower to the pipe on the drop ell and tighten it with the wrench. The vacuum breaker is a thick nut with a port on the opposite end to connect the handheld shower hose. A rubber washer supplied with the handheld shower fits into the port on the end of the vacuum breaker. Press in the washer with your thumb to seat it in the port.

  • Twist the rotating coupler on the handheld shower hose to the port on the vacuum breaker below the drop ell. Tighten it with the wrench.

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