How to Install a Shower Intake Pipe

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You need soldering skills to install the copper shower intake pipes.
You need soldering skills to install the copper shower intake pipes.

The intake pipe for a shower is also known as the supply pipe. This is the source for the water the shower takes in to force out of the shower head when the valve is turned. Both hot and cold water pipes are needed for the shower, but once these are installed, you only need to connect the valves and shower head to complete the shower unit.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill
  • Tubing cutter
  • Copper pipe
  • Non-lead solder
  • Blowtorch
  • 2 copper T-fittings
  • 2 copper male-threaded adapters
  • 2 shutoff valves
  • 2 female-threaded adapters
  • Shower valve kit
  • Copper elbow joint
  • Shower head
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Instructions

    • 1

      Locate the main water shutoff valve near where the city water supply line enters your house and turn it off. Shut off the valve leading from the hot water heater to turn off the hot water.

    • 2

      Turn both the hot and cold the faucet farthest from the main shutoff valve to drain the hot and cold water pipes.

    • 3

      Drill two 1-inch diameter holes 6 inches apart in the wall behind the shower drain.

    • 4

      Cut out a section of the copper cold and hot water supply pipes closest to the shower location that will allow you to replace with a T-fitting using a tube cutter. The section you remove needs to be directly below one of the two holes drilled from above. The hot water pipe hole should be under the hole that corresponds to the left side of the shower. The cold water pipe section removed should be under the hole that corresponds to the right side when viewed from the shower drain.

    • 5

      Solder the T-fitting into each of the hot and cold water lines with non-lead solder and a blowtorch.

    • 6

      Connect the straight copper tube to the top of each T-fitting with solder to reach up through the holes above.

    • 7

      Solder a copper male-threaded adapter to the end of each of the copper pipes.

    • 8

      Screw a shutoff valve onto the male-threaded adapter.

    • 9

      Twist a female-threaded adapter on the end of each of the shutoff valves.

    • 10

      Solder straight copper pipes to the top of each of the female adapters. The pipes need to be long enough to reach the level of the shower valves.

    • 11

      Solder the shower valve kit onto the ends of the straight copper pipes.

    • 12

      Install a straight copper pipe from the top of the valve kit to the height of the shower head with solder on each end.

    • 13

      Solder the elbow joint to the end of the straight pipe and attach the shower head to the elbow joint with solder.

    • 14

      Turn on the water and test the shower plumbing and examine it for leaks. Fix leaks at joints with solder, as needed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Check that you have adequate drainage for the shower by installing a vent and drain pipe. If the shower is outside, you might just want the water to flow out to the ground.

  • Install plumbing work before finishing the walls and floors of the home for easier access to the lines.

  • Install the shower valves for controlling the hot and cold water around 48 inches above the floor. This can change based on the heights of the people using the shower. The shower head needs to be about 72 inches from the floor.

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References

  • The Complete Guide to Home Plumbing: Newly Expanded 3rd Edition; Creative Publishing International
  • Ultimate Guide to Home Repair & Improvement; Creative Homeowner Press
  • Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

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