House & Home

Shower heads easy to install

Tired of that leaky, single stream shower head left over from the Nixon administration?

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Tired of that leaky, single stream shower head left over from the Nixon administration?

If so, there's no need to call Joe the Plumber. Just pick up a wrench and change the shower head yourself, because replacing it is one of the easiest things for a homeowner to do. It's as elementary as just twisting off the aging shower head and screwing the new one to the existing shower arm.

On both ends of the price spectrum, from around $20 to more than $150, consumers can find a wide variety of shower heads, from water massagers to hand-held versions.

With a wrench and some thread tape, most shower heads on the market can be changed in a few simple steps.

"The most common thing among consumers is that people don't know that this is easy," said Mark Knurek, senior product manager for Moen Inc. "They think there is something they have to do behind the wall, that they have to install a new arm in."

Shower heads can experience lime buildup that affects water flow, and older shower heads may not be up to current low-flow guidelines, said Amy Matthews, host of two shows on the DIY Network.

Matthews says you should turn off the water supply to the house, or just to the shower, before working on the shower head.

"You also would want to turn on the shower handles and let whatever is sitting in the pipes drain out so you don't have any extra leakage while you're working," Matthews said.

Another good piece of advice: Be careful when working with copper pipe, which is relatively soft and flexible. It could get damaged if you use too much muscle.

"You have to work slowly and gingerly with your wrenches," Matthews said.

Make sure you follow the product instructions carefully. Keep your shower head spic-and-span with an over-the-counter cleaner to avoid lime accumulation.