Poor shower head performance -- reduced water flow or an uneven spray -- can be signs that your fixture may have mineral buildups clogging the holes, nozzles or filter. Some brands, such as Waterpik and Moen, even have a water flow regulator or controller, which can also become clogged. To bring your shower head back to its peak performance requires a thorough cleaning, which usually means disassembling the fixture. Manufacturers design shower heads with an easy-to-disassemble procedure so most homeowners can easily maintain or make minor repairs without hiring a plumber.
Things You'll Need
- Small hand towel
- Pipe wrench
- Adjustable pliers
- Needle-nose pliers
- Flat-head or Phillips-head screwdriver (optional)
Step 1: Protect the Fixture
Wrap a small hand towel around the shower head, the collar nut that attaches the head to the shower arm -- the angled pipe that projects from the shower's wall -- and the shower arm. This protects the finish from possible scratches made by your tools.
Step 2: Detach the Head
Hold the shower arm with a pipe wrench and grip the collar nut with a pair of adjustable pliers. Turn the pliers counterclockwise to unscrew the nut. Grip the pivot or swivel ball nut with your pliers and turn it counterclockwise to completely free the shower head from the angled pipe. Remove the shower head.
Step 3: Take it Apart
Reach inside the end of the shower head with needle-nose pliers, grip the rubber washer and gently pull it out. Remove the mesh filter screen with your pliers and look inside to see if the shower head has a small, plastic disc with slots -- the water flow regulator. To remove the regulator, gently wedge the tip of your awl under one edge, apply a little downward pressure and pop it free. Some manufacturers design shower heads with a removable faceplate on the front of the head. If you see screws on the front of the plate, simply unscrew the screws and remove the plate.
Some shower head designs with regulators have a rubber gasket or a metal holding ring to secure it in place. Carefully work the tip of an awl down along the outside of the gasket or ring, pry it free and remove it.
Use care when removing the rubber washer, filter, gasket or metal holding ring and regulator. If damaged, new parts must be purchased before reassembly.