For the past year or so we’ve had a leaky shower head. It hasn’t been a huge problem, as I could usually get the dripping to stop if I turned it off just right. Unfortunately, my wife didn’t have the magic touch, so it was pretty aggravating for her. The good news is that I fixed it.
We actually had a plumber take a look at it one time when he was out to repair something else, but he was totally useless. He opened it up, cleaned a few things off, re-assembled things, and went merrily on his way. Unfortunately, it was still leaking. Today, I decided it was high time to fix it myself. What follows is a rundown of the process, complete with pictures.
As an aside, this was such an easy fix that I can’t believe the plumber didn’t nail it — I’m guessing he either didn’t have the right parts, or couldn’t be bothered to walk out to his truck to get them. Either way, this was a quick and painless repair. I only wish I’d done it sooner.
What you’ll need
Before you get started, you’ll need to have a few things on hand.
- Allen wrench. In order to get the handle off the faucet, you’ll need an allen wrench to loosen the set screw. In our case, this required a 3/32 inch allen wrench.
- Strap wrench. Depending on how tightly things are assembled, you may need a strap wrench. It’s possible that you’ll be able to get away with your bare hands, but there’s a good chance that you won’t.
- Faucet repair kit. The most likely cause of your leaky shower head is that the rubber “seats” (small, cup-like rubber washers that rest on top of a spring inside the faucet assembly) have worn out. These will need to be replaced. You’re looking for the Delta faucet repair kit RP4993, or the generic equivalent. Lowes didn’t have the authentic Delta parts, but they did have some made by Danco that were intended for Delta/Peerless faucet repairs. They actually had multiple versions but, as near as I could tell, the rubber seats were all the same size. The springs do differ, however, so I got a pack that had two different types of springs.
- Towel or blanket. The last thing you want to so is chip or crack your shower, so grab a towel or blanket and put it on the floor of the shower. This also protects you from losing any small parts down the drain.
Disassembling the faucet
First things first. Before you start taking things apart, be sure to turn the water off. Unfortunately, we have no way to shut off the water for just the shower. Thus, I had to turn it off for the entire house.
Once the water is turned off, you’re ready to get started. Pictured below is the faucet handle prior to disassembly. Pardon the water stains, they’re a byproduct of the dripping.
The read arrow points to the set screw in the side of the handle. Use your allen wrench to loosen this screw and remove the handle.
Next, you’ll want to remove the grey plastic disc (if your faucet has one) as well as the silver (metal) sleeve. These two pieces, labeled with red arrows below, should just slide off.
You should now see something similar to what’s pictured below.
Next, you’ll need to remove the brass ring (indicated with the red arrow, above) that is holding the “guts” of the faucet assembly in place. Before you do anything, double-check to be sure the water is off. Once it’s safe to proceed, loosen the brass ring either by hand or using the strap wrench. After you’ve removed the brass ring, you should see something like what’s pictured below.
You can now remove the faucet assembly. It may be kind of stuck in place, so apply even, consistent pressure and ease it out. Even though the water supply has been turned off, you’ll likely have some water draining out of the pipes.
Opening up the faucet assembly
Once you’ve removed the faucet assembly, you should be holding something like what’s picture below in your hands.
The parts that you’re after are located on the inside (sandwiched between the blue and white halves). To open the assembly, press in on the blue half and twist. Once it comes apart, you should see something like what’s picture below.
The parts that you’re after (the rubber seats) are indicated by the red arrows. You can simply pull them out (along with the springs, if you wish) and replace them. In the picture above, you can also see the faucet repair kit that I purchased — Danco DL-17 for Delta/Peerless faucets. Note the two different spring sizes. The original springs were most similar to the shorter, fatter springs in the repair kit. They were, however, ever so slightly shorter. I decided to use the new springs to give a slightly more snug fit.
Reassembling the faucet
To put everything back together, simply reverse the steps listed above. Put the springs and rubber seats in place, compress the blue and white halves together and twist to re-join them. Next, re-insert the faucet assembly into the brass sleeve and secure in place with the brass ring (I re-tightened with the strap wrench, but I was careful no to overdo it). Now all that’s left is to slip the silver sleeve back over the assembly, put the grey plastic disc back in place, and re-attach the handle.
That’s it. I’m pleased to report that the dripping has stopped.
Assuming that you have everything that you need, the entire repair should take 15 minutes tops, and the parts cost about three dollars. Like I said above, quick and painless — and way cheaper than paying someone to fix it. Totally worth the trouble in my book.