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Leaking Shower: Signs, Causes and How to Fix Them

Leaking Shower: Signs, Causes and How to Fix Them

Plumbing problems can occur at any time of the month. And the good news is that not all plumbing problems are a big deal. In fact, many can easily be solved without calling a plumber.

And two of the most common plumbing issues are leaky faucets and showers. But perhaps the more complex of the two is showers since it has a few more moving parts.

So if you’re experiencing a leaking shower, read this article to learn how to diagnose and fix the problem.

Leaking Shower – The Short Answer

A wide range of factors can cause your shower to leak. The most common are faulty showerheads or worn out mixer valves.

Also, your inner o-ring rubber seals may have hardened due to old age; therefore, water seeps through.

How to Detect a Leaking Shower

If you suspect that your shower is leaking, but you’re not sure, you’ll be glad to know that there are a few tell-tale signs you can look for right now that indicate leakage.

This way, if you spot one of them, you can start by diagnosing the problem, and there would be no need to call a plumber.

Cracked Tiles Near the Shower

It’s not always the case that water drips directly from the shower to the floor. Instead, the water can travel through the wall first, then seep onto the floor.

A clear sign this is happening is finding cracked tiles near the shower. This often means a buildup of water behind the wall pushed it outwards.

Mould Growth on the Surrounding Walls

If you start seeing mould around your bathroom, that’s a clear sign of water leakage. And unfortunately, it means it has been going on for a while.

On the other hand, if you’re not seeing mould yet, but still suspect a leaky shower, it’s possible for mould to give off a musty smell before it starts showing, so that’s another sign.

Bubbling or Peeling Paint in the Surrounding Walls or Downstairs

This is also a sign of water travelling through your walls. However, it’s not always the case that water stays confined to the bathroom walls.

If the water finds an easier path to leave the wall, it can travel to different wall sides or start affecting the downstairs ceiling. 

Missing or Discoloured Shower Grout

The shower grouts are the lines between your bathroom tiles. And they’re supposed to be white. If your grouts are discoloured or, even worse, missing, this is an obvious sign your shower is leaking.

Dangers and Side Effects of a Leaking Shower

Ignoring a leaking faucet is a mistake with a lot of repercussions. You can feel some right away, and you’ll feel others long-term. Here are some examples.

Wasting Huge Amounts of Water

If you thought that the few drops out of the showerhead were nothing, you should think again. The average leaking shower leaks ten drops per minute, which adds up to 109 litres of water per year. So not only is this environmentally harmful, but it’ll also add up to a larger water bill.

Encourages the Growth of Mould

A dangerous side effect of leaking water is that it encourages mould growth. So not only will you have to fix the leakage, but you’ll also need to get rid of the mould since it’s considered a health hazard for the house residents.

Damages the Structural Integrity of the Building

Water buildup inside walls can cause the drywall to weaken and become brittle. In the more extreme cases, if the water finds its way into the concrete beams of your house or building, it can cause the beams to crack, therefore, endangering everyone in the building.

Causes of a Leaking Shower and How to Fix Them

Faulty Shower Head

If your shower head has been operating for years, lime or other mineral deposits can clog your shower head, causing it to drain slower. This means it’s time to replace your shower head. Follow these steps to do so:

  • Loosen and unscrew your shower head using an adjustable wrench
  • Use a microfibre towel to clean off any rust or mineral buildup on the shower arm
  • Wrap thread seal tape around the shower arm in a clockwise direction and press it into the threads
  • Screw the new showerhead onto the shower arm and tighten it using an adjustable wrench
  • Turn on the water and check for leaks

Worn Out Inner Seals

More often than you think, a leaking shower is caused by worn-out inner o-ring seals. These are essentially small rubber rings pressed between the moving parts of the shower to prevent water from escaping. To replace your seals, follow these steps:

  • Loosen and unscrew your shower head using an adjustable wrench
  • Use a flat head screwdriver to remove the old rubber inner seals
  • Rinse the o-ring port using water to get rid of any debris
  • Place the new rubber seal in place
  • Screw the showerhead back onto the shower arm
  • Turn on the water and check for leaks

Problems With the Mixer Valve

Many people tend to forget mixer valves for years. Therefore, the pressure balance unit falls to the usual wear and tear, allowing water to leak even after turning the handle off.

Follow these steps to replace your pressure balance unit:

  • Undo the screws for the handle and the faceplate
  • There should be two screws on either side of the water pipe; turn them clockwise to turn off the water
  • Unscrew the two brass screws at the ends of the cap to remove the top cap off the valve
  • Use a pair of pliers to pull out the pressure balance unit
  • Push the new pressure balance unit back in place and screw the top cap back in place
  • Turn the water screws anti-clockwise to turn the water back on, and screw the faceplate and handle back on

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