Take a look at your shower head. Go ahead, take a good look. I’ll wait. It is clean and free of buildup? Even if you answered “yes” to this question, is it clean on the inside? Do you enjoy the same amount of water pressure you did when you purchased it? I’ll wager probably not.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to shower heads. One is to buy an expensive, long-lasting one and clean it regularly. And by “clean it” I mean removing it, soaking it in some CLR and then re-installing it. On the other end are those that think like I do; why go through the trouble of all that cleaning when you can purchase a brand new one every few years for under $20? Either way you have to go through all of these steps regardless of which school you belong to. That’s my project today, and for it I selected the Niagara Earth Massage Handheld.
Remove the old shower head and clean it up.
Start with an adjustable or plumber’s wrench to loosen the fitting. Be sure to use a protective cloth to protect the finish in case you are saving the old head. Clean up the old plumber’s tape with some steel wool.
Prepare the pipe for the new head and install the “base”.
Once the pipe is clean, you’ll need to apply brand new plumber’s tape to the threads. Fortunately Niagara Conservation included a roll with just enough tape for the job. Typically you’ll want to wrap the tape around the pipe six or seven times to assure a leak-free fitting. Be sure to wrap clock-wise so the tape doesn’t come off or get bound up when you attach the shower head base.
Hand tighten the base and then grab your wrench. Again, you’ll want to use a cloth or rag to protect the finish of your new shower head. At this point you should only need to turn it a quarter-turn or so to snug it up.
Finish by attaching the rest of the shower head parts.
You’re almost done, and here is the fun part. Attach the hose to the base you just installed. Hand-tighten is all you’ll need.
All that is left is to test it out for leaks! If you do have water seeping through the connections, you’ll need to work backwards to repair it. 99 out of 100 times all you’ll need to do is add a bit more tape to the threads.
We decided to go with the Niagara Earth Massage Handheld for a couple of reasons. They boast a 1.5gpm usage so we should hopefully see a small savings in our water bill. This model only comes with two settings (regular and “power”), but the ease of which you can switch between them was our selling point. Too many times we struggle to change back-and-forth because the head won’t change easily (of course, my wife and I prefer opposite settings)…
You can’t beat the price either for under $18! The only drawback or concern we have is the part that hold the head is chromed plastic, not metal (the fitting is metal, just the ‘hook’ that holds the head). With a little care this hopefully won’t become an issue.