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The Shower Doctor Surgery: How to replace a shower head

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The Shower Doctor Surgery: How to replace a shower head

No matter how impressive your shower, it is not going to achieve its best performance with a faulty or cheap shower head. Replacing your shower head is a very simple job, but there are a number of things you should know before you go out and purchase a new one.

Choosing a shower head

There are numerous shower heads available, from the very cheap to the quite expensive. It is always better to go with the best you can afford and to choose one that is made by the same manufacturer as your shower as this will ensure the best possible performance. Cheap heads tend to be very small and have a very directional spray pattern, so you won't get that lovely envelope of hot water that most people crave when they shower.

A slightly more expensive head will usually have a rub-clean face, making it easier to wipe away limescale that can cause blockages. Many cheap and mid-range shower heads are only suitable for electric showers with low pressure because the holes are very small, so make sure you check this.

An example of a simple shower head with rub clean nozzles.
An example of a simple shower head with rub clean nozzles.

 

Another option is a multi-mode shower head, which will offer better quality yet again. With these heads, you can alter the spray pattern according to your showering preferences. However, be careful if buying a cheaper version of a multi-mode head, because when you change the spray pattern the water to the shower can be momentarily shut off, which can cause back pressure in the system and result in a blown pressure relief device. This is not so much a concern if you have a good quality multi-mode shower head, however.

The very best option would be to go for a top quality head from the same manufacturer as your shower. Many of these heads can be taken apart easily, allowing you to clean the inside, and can feature both rub-clean parts and jets in the middle. Some have lots of small holes, which are ideally suited to electric showers or low pressure systems and can help to ensure a good envelope of water, while others are designed for power showers and high pressure systems and come with fewer larger holes to really blast the water out.

A quick look at the size and number of holes can tell the difference between low pressure and high pressure shower head.
A quick look at the size and number of holes can tell the difference between low pressure and high pressure shower head.

 

Below, you can watch the YouTube video that accompanies this guide if you'd like to see the differences between cheap and top quality shower heads for yourself.

Replacing the shower head

Once you've selected your new shower head, putting it in place is simple. Just take your old one out of the bracket and unscrew it where it meets the shower hose. You should be able to do this by hand, although a pair of pliers may be required if it is very tight.

Make sure the original washer is in place and intact in the end of the hose and then screw the new head on before placing it back into the bracket.

Solving a mismatch problem

If you choose a different brand of shower head to your shower or your shower hose, you may find that there is a slight mismatch. Basically, the cone of the hose can screw up and hit the end of the shower head before the washer inside it seals.

You can rectify this problem by using two washers. Simply pop a second washer into the end of the hose before screwing on your new shower head. This should ensure you get a tight seal. However, it is - as we've mentioned - always better to use the original manufacturer's equipment to ensure the best performance and longevity for your shower.

If you need any help or advice selecting a new shower head, simply get in touch. We stock a huge variety of shower heads from numerous brands, including Mira, Triton and Aqualisa.

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About Us
George Thomson established "The Shower Doctor" in 1993 to focus on shower repair in the Edinburgh area. George is a second generation plumber; he and his father ran a successful plumbing and heating business. In the late 80's this 40-year-old family business was sold.
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