How To Stop That Dripping Shower

Your turn off the shower and after a few minutes, a steady drip starts. You fiddle with the handle a little, which seems to help. But the next time you go into the bathroom, the shower is dripping again. You can stop that drip permanently with a few tools and a couple of hours. If you don't like working with your household plumbing, have one of the local plumbing services come in and do the job for you. If you are the DIY type of homeowner, here are the steps to silence that leaking shower.

Supplies for This Project

  • screwdriver (flat-blade)
  • screwdriver (Phillips)
  • slip-joint pliers
  • a couple of old rags

From the home improvement store:

  • tube of plumber's grease
  • replacement cartridge for the shower

Disassembling the Shower

  1. Shut off the water to the shower.
  2. Remove the cover from the center of the shower knob.
  3. Loosen the central screw and remove the shower knob.
  4. Remove the stop tube surrounding the cartridge shaft.
  5. The cartridge is the component that is causing the leak and needs to be replaced. It's held in place with a U-clip or spring. Remove the clip or spring and pull the cartridge out of the shower.

Manufacturers have their own cartridge designs. The only way to match your old cartridge is to take it to the home improvement store and have them give you the exact match.

Installing the Replacement Cartridge

  1. Wipe out the opening where the cartridge will be inserted to make sure there is no dirt or grit preventing it from making a good seal.
  2. Place a tiny bit of plumber's grease on the end of the cartridge where the rubber washer is attached.
  3. Insert the cartridge into the opening, with the end holding the washer going in first.
  4. Turn the cartridge back and forth as you slide it into place. You'll feel it settle into place and you won't be able to turn it any longer.
  5. Push the U-clip or spring onto the cartridge to lock it into place.
  6. Place the stop tube over the cartridge.
  7. Screw the knob onto the cartridge and replace the cover over the screw.
  8. Turn the water back on.

When You Encounter a Problem

There are a couple of problems you may run into, especially if you have an older shower. These may require the assistance of a plumber to resolve.

  • You can't get the knob off - The threads may have corroded, causing the handle to stick. A plumbing tool is available that attaches to the handle and pulls it off. If the central screw is corroded or the slot is stripped so you can't loosen the screw, you'll need a plumber to drill the screw out or cut the knob off.
  • You can't pull the cartridge out - Again, corrosion is the problem. Another tool is available that screws into the end of the cartridge and forces it out.

Or, instead of buying these special tools, call a company like Lincoln Sewer & Drain to help.