How to Fix Shower Plumbing


Everyone loves a hot shower at the start of the day or at the end of it. Consequently, when the shower plumbing is not working correctly it throws the balance of daily routine into frenzy. By the time leaky pipes or faulty drains are noticed they have already damaged wood and wall. Learning how to fix shower plumbing can save the homeowner the cost of hiring a plumber.

Things You'll Need

  • Water key
  • Stud finder
  • Keyhole saw
  • Skill saw
  • Small pipe wrench
  • Water line (PVC or copper)
  • PVC couplers (or copper couplers)
  • PVC drain line (if needed)
  • PVC glue (or flux and solder)
  • Hand saw

The Steps

  • Inspect the faucets and the shower head for leaks. If the leaks are coming from inside the wall, access to the plumbing is imperative to be able to fix it properly. Turn off the water supply to the house with the water key.

  • Remove the wall from the inside of the shower if possible. If they are covered with tile or a one piece tub surround, locate the wall behind the plumbing and access it from that side.

  • Locate the studs in the wall that are on either side of the shower plumbing. Locate the electrical wiring in this area to be certain where it is before cutting the wall. If the wall is sheetrock, cut the entire height of the wall with a keyhole saw to expose all the plumbing.

  • Locate the source of the leak and determine the desired method to fix it. For leaks in the water line the pipes may need to be replaced. PVC pipe adapters will be needed for the transition from PVC to threads for the brass fittings on the faucet. Remember to only use PVC glue to assemble PVC pipes. If the water lines are copper, see "How to Sweat Copper Pipe Joint" in the Reference section of this article.

  • Inspect the water connections from under the house. Make repairs needed using the same method described earlier. Second, inspect the shower drain at the floor. Seals in the drain assembly that connects it to the drain lines under the house can be fixed or replaced from inside the shower. If the problem in the drain is cracks or other damage to the drain lines located under the house, fix it by cutting the bad section out with a hand saw and replace it using couplers to insert the new drain line.

Tips & Warnings

  • Take plenty of pipe and tools when crawling under the house to keep you from having to crawl in and out. Use a flashlight under the house even if it is not dark outside. Main water supply shut off valve can be found at the water meter.
  • Always wear safety glasses when working with power tools or crawling under a house. Do not leave PVC glue unattended in the presence of children. Do not leave hand saw or power tools unattended in the presence of children.

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