Replacing a Shower Arm

If the shower arm at your house is in need of replacement due to rusting, leaking or simply a bathroom facelift, there are some simple steps you can follow to handle this basic home repair project.  Before getting started take off your existing shower arm and bring it with you to the hardware store to make replacing it a breeze.  Here is a list of supplies to gather prior to beginning:

New shower arm

Safety Gear – eye protection, rubber gloves, and a step stool

Vise Grips

Plumbing Tape

Metal Lubricant

Adjustable Pipe Wrench

Once you’ve gathered your supplies, you’re ready to get started.  Begin by turning the water off to the entire bathroom.  Typically, the best way to do this is by shutting off the water main.  You may have a shut-off in the bathroom for the shower, if so it is often located under the bathroom sink or behind a wall panel.  When you remove the shower arm you’ll need to remove the showerhead first.  Simply hold the shower arm in place and turn the showerhead nut using your pipe wrench.  If the nut doesn’t want to loosen, try submerging it in a bowl of vinegar or calcium and lime scale remover.  You’ll want to use this same solution to clean the shower arm.

To remove the shower arm, use your adjustable pipe wrench and turn it counter-clockwise.  Slowly apply pressure to get it to loosen.  If it doesn’t come apart easily don’t force it as this could result in breaking it off.  Instead, apply a metal lubricant to the area where the arm meets the wall.  Let it sit for a bit and then try again.

Now you’re ready to install the new shower arm.  Before installing, wrap the threaded end of the shower pipe with some plumbing tape.  Then go ahead and screw the threaded end in to secure the new shower arm.  You should have a nice, snug fit upon completion of this step.  At this point go ahead and reinstall your showerhead.  Again, you’ll want to apply plumbing tape to the threaded end and then screw it on to the shower arm.  You’ll want a snug fit here as well to prevent leaking

At this point you’re ready to go ahead and turn the water supply back on.  If you see any leaks, immediately turn the water off again and try tightening the area near the leak.  Once the water flows cleanly through your shower head you’re ready for years of relaxing showers.



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