If there is a leak from the shower arm of your shower, then, depending on the location of the leak and your plumbing configuration, you may require anywhere from only an easy fix to a fairly major repair.
The first thing to do when your shower leaks from the shower arm is to identify the exact location of the leak.
Possible Shower Arm Leak Areas
A shower arm can be broken within the wall, or in any case damage the vertical pipe within the wall if excessive pressure is used when unscrewing the shower arm or showerhead.
It is surprisingly common to find the shower arm damaged in the course of replacing the showerhead.
The constant pressure applied while adjusting the showerhead as it is used over many years can also cause damage to the shower arm.
Leaks at the Showerhead
If the leaks in your shower appear to originate from the base of the showerhead, check for a crack in the shower arm and the showerhead.
Though most showerheads look like metal, they are really chrome-finished plastic. And while metals can crack, plastics crack a lot easier.
If you don’t notice any cracks, you can try the following:
- Loosen the showerhead. Use pliers to hold the shower arm in place, if necessary.
- Clean the shower arm threads to remove any mineral deposits, pipe-joint compound, and old plumber’s tape.
- Wrap fresh plumber’s tape round the shower arm threads in the same direction as to twist the showerhead back on.
- Reinstall the showerhead very tightly.
- Check for leaks in the connection. If there’s any, tighten the showerhead some more.
Leaks within the Wall
The drop-ear elbow will now need to be considered. Just like the showerhead, leaks can come from the threaded area between the elbow and showerhead.
This can be remedied in a similar way as the showerhead.
Simply remove the shower arm, clean off the threads, and reinstall or replace it if corroded or cracked (applying fresh plumber’s tape).
Leaks beyond the Shower Arm
If your shower keeps leaking even after replacing or reinstalling the arm, your problem may lie with the vertical shower pipe or the elbow.
This can be fixed in various ways which all require you to access the shower plumbing.
If there’s an access panel installed on the other side of the wall of the shower, you’re lucky.
Otherwise, you may have to cut a hole behind the wall in order to gain access to the plumbing.
Once you can access the plumbing, you can detect the leakage point as well as your piping type.
If your piping is galvanized pipe, you need only twist off and on to replace it.
Copper pipes, on the other hand, probably have all the joints soldered. Ultimately, you’ll have to decide.
Soldered copper remains the plumbing connection gold standard, and if you want to maintain the quality you’ll need to hire a professional plumber to handle the repairs.