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How to Fix a Slow Showerhead

Learn how to fix a slow showerhead by installing a new mixing valve, trim and a new showerhead that matches the force of the home's water pressure.

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Step 1: Measure the Water Pressure

Use a pressure gauge on an outside faucet to make sure there is enough water pressure to run a new showerhead.

Time how long it takes to fill up a one gallon bucket. Divide how many seconds it took to fill the bucket by 60 seconds. This will give a number of gallons per minute.

Use this number to help choose a showerhead that will work for your home.

measure the water pressure

Step 2: Drain the System

Assess the project to see what kind of access there is to the mixing valve.

Completely shut off the water at the home's water main using a meter stick.

Open up a hot and cold faucet that is below the mixing valve to drain the system.

drain the system

Step 3: Remove the Mixing Valve

Remove the cover plate on the shower knob to reveal the screw that holds it on (Image 1).

Loosen and remove the screws that hold the handle in place. This will allow the handle to be removed.

Next, remove the screws that hold the trim plate in place.

Use a flat head screwdriver to pry off the cover plate to reveal the mixing valve (Image 2). Remove any screws or nails holding the mixing valve in place.

Step 4: Cut the Pipes

Remove at least 8" of insulation from each of the pipes.

Put the mini pipe cutter in place, then tighten it down and begin to rotate until the pipe is cut.

Cut all three pipes, finishing with the feed to the shower. When it is cut, the mixing valve should easily come free.

rotate mini pipe cutter until pipe is cut

Step 5: Install the Valves

Install the ball valves (Image 1). Next, attach the valves to the cross pieces (Image 2).

Prepare the valves and joints by scoring them and applying flux.

Remove the valve cover to prevent damage while soldering.

Safety Note: Use extreme caution when soldering inside of a wall. Dampen any combustible items near the valve. Also, keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

Solder the valves in place using basic soldering techniques (Image 3).

Test to see if the anti-scald valve is setup by properly turning the water back on, then closing any open faucets and checking the temperature. Check the new valve for leaks.

Step 6: Test the Water Temperature

Using a pair of slip-joint pliers, loosen the old showerhead and remove.

Look at the trim kit to see which way to turn the valve to reach the hottest water (Image 1). Use the pliers to open the valve to the hottest position.

Next, let the water run for about two minutes to insure that it's fully hot.

Use an electronic or other thermometer (Image 2) to test the water temperature.

Step 7: Install the Trim

Install the trim over the valve cover plate, then caulk if needed.

Secure the plate using the included screws. Make sure they're screwed in as tight as possible.

Install the handle then secure it using the included screw. Install the screw cover if the model has one.

secure plate using included screws

Step 8: Install the Shower Arm

Remove the old shower head and arm.

Cover the threads that will be going into the wall with three or four layers of Teflon tape (Image 1). This will help to prevent any leaks.

Insert the shower arm into the connection in the wall, being very careful to line up the threads. Don't over tighten.

Keep rotating the shower arm (Image 2) until it's tight and in place. Attach the new showerhead.