Over the weekend I made plans to get a few things done around the house that I’ve been putting off. One of those things was to install a new low-flow shower head to help conserve water. The night before, I headed out to my local Walmart to pick one up.
The following morning I got out a set of channel lock plies and removed the old shower head. It was easy enough to remove, simply unscrewed it from the wall and it was a done deal. That is where the easy part ended.
I found it kind of strange that the threads of the pipe were not wrapped in teflon tape. Any threaded plumbing connection I have ever made, regardless of water or pneumatic, I have always added a couple of wraps of teflon tape to the threads to help seal the connection.
I added a few wraps of tape and threaded on the shower head. I expected everything to work just fine since it was just a simple connection, but like all of my plumbing work, I had a leak. The pressure building up in my new low-flow unit was forcing water back and out of the threaded connection. I stopped the water, drained the pipe and disconnected the head.
My first thought was that the old pipe might just need another couple of wraps of teflon tape. Once I took care of it, I threaded on the shower head and checked again. To my surprise once again, it was leaking. Once again I shut off the flow of water and drained the pipe.
The pipe that I was working on appeared to have some sort of coupler, which had a small shoulder that the base of the shower head was butting into as it threaded on. This is where the leak appeared to be coming from, so I cleaned off the teflon tape and reapplied, this time I wrapped up and over this shoulder.
You guessed it, the leak was still a problem, and now it was worse than before. I ran through the process of getting the shower head back off. My biggest time consuming part here was cleaning off the teflon tape. I wound up spending several minutes just picking it out of the threads.
Being very frustrated at this point, I did two wraps of teflon tape and threaded on the shower head. I turned on the water and waited for pressure to build up. As the pressure built up, my frustration did the same. After a couple of seconds the shower had began leaking. I disconnected the shower head one last time, cursing the job throughout the entire process.
Having no idea what to do at this point, I simply threaded the shower head back on without any teflon tape and pressure tested it again. I STILL had a leak, although it was the smallest one yet. Being soaked from water running down my arms for about an hour at this point, I decided to call it quits for the day. With the leak being fairly minor, I wanted to step away from the small project and approach it from a different angle.
Tomorrow I have plans to pull of the shower head and look it over closely to see if there are any minor cracks that the water may be passing through. I’m also concerned with the coupler that is on the pipe. I think that the shoulder that the base of the shower head is butting into, may be preventing the connection from sealing up. If that is the case, I’ll have to make a trip to my local hardware store to see what he recommends.
Wish me luck!