The Homeowner’s Guide to Shower Heads
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Learn about each style of shower head, and how to know when it's time to replace yours.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that there are 220,000,000shower headsinstalled in homes across the United States. They also estimate that about 10 percent of those shower heads are replaced each year due to wear and tear,bathroom remodelingand other reasons.
Here’s what to know about buying and replacing a shower head if you’re in the market for a new one.
What to Know About Shower Heads
Most shower heads manufactured in the U.S. follow the National Pipe Thread standard of 1/2-inch. This helps ensure that any shower head you choose will fit into a standard shower elbow. Still, it’s worth noting the outside diameter of your shower elbow and desired shower head before buying, especially if you’re considering one manufactured outside the U.S.
Shower Head Styles
There are three main types of shower heads:
Fixed shower headsare mounted on thewall of your shower。You can usually angle them and even adjust their height, but you can’t remove them from the wall. Most people prefer multi-function shower heads like theTibbers Shower Headthat lets you change the spray pattern and pressure.
A popular option within the fixed shower head category is the rain shower head. These extra-large shower heads can be mounted on a wall or a ceiling to create the experience of standing under rainfall. They’re great for anyone looking for a luxurious,spa-like showerexperience. One well-rated option to consider is thisVoolan Rain Shower Head。
Handheld shower headslet you hold and direct the water wherever you want. They usually have a flexible hose and are mounted on the shower wall with a bracket. This can be a good option if you regularlywash petsor children in your shower, are recovering from an injury, have mobility issues or just want an easy way toclean your shower。You can buy just the shower head or a set, like theAquaDance High Pressure Chrome Face Handheld Showerthat also includes the hose and holder.
Dual shower headshave a handheld unit attached to a fixed shower head. They offer the best of both worlds if you can’t decide between a fixed shower head or a handheld. One well-rated option isAquaDance Premium High Pressure Three-Way Rainfall Combo。
If your shower space and budget allow, consider installing a fixed shower head and a traditional handheld shower head.
When to Buy a New Shower Head
It’s a good idea to replace your shower head if it:
Has substantial sediment buildup. This is especially common withhard water。
Has uncleanable mold. You can try toclean off moldby soaking the shower head in vinegar overnight and then running the hot water.
You might also decide to replace your shower head if you’re doing a bathroom remodel or if you want a water-saving shower head. When shopping for an eco-friendly, low-flow shower head, look for theWaterSense label。
Note: Most shower head manufacturers offer a limited lifetime warranty, so check on that before you buy a new one.
How to Replace a Shower Head
Replacing a fixed shower head is usually as simple as unscrewing the old shower head, then screwing in and tightening the new one. A special situation arises when you need toinstall toggle bolts for an adjustable shower headwithin a fiberglass or plastic shower.
With handheld shower heads, you’ll also need to screw the bracket into the wall if it’s not already installed. Things get a little trickier with dual shower heads. You’ll typically need to install a diverter that routes water to both the handheld and the fixed shower heads, but that is a fairly easy DIY endeavor.