How to change a shower head and shower hose
Updated: Jun 3, 2020
Replacing your shower hose or showerhead are two jobs that you’ll have to do at least once in your shower’s lifetime. Luckily, if you have a hand-held, wall mounted shower unit or mixer taps, they’re simple jobs and you won’t need to call a plumber! On the other hand, if you have a rainfall shower or another type that doesn’t have an easily detachable hose and head, you will probably need to call in a professional unless you are very handy. What we’re talking about in this article is, by far the commonest domestic shower, a simple wall mounted shower with a flexible hose and hand-held head.
Why would we want to replace these two items? Well, sometimes the hose becomes damaged at the point where it joins the shower resulting in a water leak. Not only does this reduce pressure at the showerhead resulting in a less enjoyable shower experience, but it also causes an unsightly accumulation of limescale if your area has hard water. And of course, leaks anywhere in the system are a waste of water, which means you aren’t getting the benefit of all the water you’ve paid for.
Over time, the grooves along the hosepipe also accumulate dirt and must be washed properly to maintain their appearance. If you have to do this, then it’s far easier to remove the hose from the unit and wash the surface in a bowl of hot water and detergent.
Similarly, the showerhead might accumulate dirt or limescale and need a thorough clean. By the way, we have an article dedicated to this topic. It’s always easier to do this when the showerhead has been stripped down into its component parts and left to soak in a bowl of hot soapy water to remove dirt. Furthermore, you might also have a leaking joint between the showerhead and hose and this will need attention just like the joint between the hose and shower unit. Remember, you won’t always need to replace your shower accessories. If you have a relatively new shower head and hose and they just need a light clean then all you’ll need is to dismantle and clean. If however, you see a build-up of grime or limescale or want to upgrade an old showerhead then seriously consider buying a new head and hose. They aren’t expensive, and you’ll immediately notice the improved shower experience.
Of course, you might decide to replace your showerhead with a newer model that filters limescale solids and other particles from your water supply. If this is the case, you need to remove the showerhead and dispose of it according to local and national waste disposal regulations. While you’re replacing the showerhead, it’s always a good idea to replace the hose as well to keep everything functioning correctly and looking good.
Preparation for shower hose and head replacement
You need to enter the shower area to get to the shower unit. Therefore, ensure the shower tray is dry and not slippery. A fall in this area can not only cause damage to the shower unit and cubicle, more importantly, you might also suffer injury.
There’s a good chance that some water has accumulated inside the shower hose. So before dismantling the hose from the shower unit, place an old towel under the unit to catch and soak up any water.
Before we start taking off the old hose, remember that even though the fittings might look the same, some shower manufacturers have their own hose fittings specifications. The cones on the end of the hose might not fit properly resulting in leaks at these places. This can be very annoying so, it’s worth getting a new hose from the same manufacturer or get one that has a universal fitting.
How to change a shower hose
Ok, let’s assume you’ve got a replacement hose and you’re ready to go.
First, remove the old showerhead from the hose by turning the connecting cone anti-clockwise. You may need help with this so place a rag around the cone and use a pair of pliers. Remove the head and place the old washer somewhere safe.
Then, turn the hose fitting, that’s screwed onto the shower unit, anti-clockwise. This might be difficult because of problems with access, how long the hose has been installed and whether there’s any limescale build-up around the joint. Ideally, you should be able to unscrew this by hand too, but if not, wrap an old rag around the cone and grip it using a pair of pliers.
After unscrewing the hose, remove it and set it aside, taking care to retrieve the sealing washer for use later.
How to replace a showerhead
Remove your new showerhead from its packaging. Sometimes, especially if the showerhead contains filtering granules like Stone Stream© products, you’ll have to remove the safety cap on the end of the showerhead. Insert the sealing washer into the open end of the new hose. If you wish, you can use one of the old washers together with a new one to provide a good watertight seal. Old washers are always useful for doing this. However, if the old washer is broken or is no longer flexible, discard it.
While we’re talking about this, I should mention that the fittings at each end of the shower hose are not interchangeable. One end will only fit the showerhead and the other will only fit the shower unit. Be guided by the installation instructions supplied by the manufacturer. They are invaluable!
Tighten the cone onto the showerhead until it’s hand-tight.
You have now connected the showerhead to the shower hose.
To make it even easier for you, we've prepared this demonstration video. It’s a simple step-by-step guide to show you how to replace a showerhead:
How to connect a new hose
Hold your new hose and place a sealing washer at the open end that fits onto the shower unit. Screw this cone onto the threaded fitting until it is hand tight. It’s worthwhile reading the installation instructions that came with the hose so that you install it properly with less chance of a leak.
If the old washers are intact and still flexible you can, if you wish, use an old washer with a new one to double seal the joint. This will help make sure the joint is completely watertight.
Turn on the shower at a low flowrate setting to test the joint. There should be no leaks around either cone. If there are, tighten the cones a bit more either by hand or wrap the rag around them and use pliers. Don’t tighten too much, the threads are usually only plastic and may become damaged if you tighten them more than necessary.
Once again turn on the shower to test for any leaks. If there are no leaks anywhere, you can wipe down the unit, new hose and new head to remove all traces of water.
Get out of the shower tray and take your tools with you.
Finally, wipe down any footprints that might have found their way onto the shower tray.
You can now congratulate yourself on a simple job well done, and be thankful you didn’t have to pay out for a plumber to do this work.
No need to visualise this process. Our team made another video to take you through the steps of replacing a shower hose:
Buying a new showerhead
We now know how to change an old shower hose and showerhead. While we’re at it, it’s probably worthwhile thinking about what type of new hose and head to buy. Many domestic hot water supplies contain foreign particles, pieces of rust, limescale and all manner of things. If you want an efficient and pleasant showering experience, you can buy a shower head that filters all these particles out of the stream.
Depending on what type of water problems you have, StoneStream© offers showerheads that both soften and filter your water. Using these showerheads seems like you’re bathing in natural spring water while also reducing chlorine, bacteria and dirt. Furthermore, the filters trap and remove foreign particles of dirt, mineral build-up and other impurities. Buy a new, modern showerhead and you’ll have a satisfying experience knowing that you’re washing in clean water.