It can be very frustrating to bathe under a shower head that is moldy, covered in sediment, or just not working properly. It can also cost you money on your water bill if it doesn’t have adequate water pressure.
So if you’re looking for an apartment upgrade that won’t break the lease, consider changing out your shower head. But can you do it?
Check Your Lease Agreement
If you’re going to make a major change to your apartment, it’s best to check with your landlord first. Many leases have a clause that prohibits tenants from doing alterations without their landlord’s written permission. This can be a big issue if you want to change something that could make the apartment look different or cause problems, such as painting your walls.
If your lease does allow alterations, you should read it closely. It can have a lot of details about what you’re allowed to do, such as changing the light fixtures or adding appliances.
You should also find out how long the tenancy will last. Some leases only last for a few months, while others can last for years. You might need to give the landlord notice if you’re moving out before the end of the lease, or you may be able to break the agreement by paying an early termination fee.
Another important thing to check in the lease is how much the rent will be. Some landlords don’t include the rent in the lease, so you’ll need to ask your potential landlord to send a copy of the rent amount to you before signing.
In addition, the lease should have a description of the property and its location. This includes its address, square footage, and amenities. It should also state who is permitted to reside in the space, how long guests can stay, and any restrictions that might exist, such as having pets or installing new appliances.
Lastly, the lease should state the amount of any security deposit or fees. This can help protect you from losing your money if the landlord doesn’t pay it back as agreed, says Jennifer Noonan of the National Association of Residential Property Managers.
Some states have laws that cap rent increases, and your lease should include that information. If you’re unsure about whether your lease is in compliance with these laws, it’s a good idea to seek out a local landlord-tenant attorney who can review your contract for free.
Do It Yourself
The good news is that changing the shower head in an apartment is relatively easy for the average do-it-yourselfer. But you need to know a few things before getting started.
First, check your lease agreement for any rules relating to changing your shower head or other plumbing fixtures. If you find any restrictions, don’t go ahead with the change. Read the document carefully and consult a plumber if you have any questions.
Second, you’ll need to remove the old shower head. This can be a difficult task if the pipe is corroded or it’s been sitting for decades. To get the old shower head off, use a wrench to turn it counterclockwise until it’s loose enough to remove.
You may also need to remove any old teflon tape that’s on the threaded pipe that connects your shower head to the wall. You can clean the threads using a wire brush, an old toothbrush, or some damp paper towel to get rid of the hard water buildup and gunk that’s built up around them.
Next, make sure you’re buying a new shower head that fits the threads of your existing shower arm. If you can, look for one that’s a good quality brand.
Then, follow the instructions on your replacement shower head to attach it to the shower arm. You’ll need an adjustable wrench to help you tighten it to the threads. When it’s secure, hand-tighten the connection a quarter-turn. If you screw it too tightly, the shower head can break or the threads on the pipe can be damaged.
Another way to improve your water pressure is to remove the water restrictor from the shower head. This will also eliminate mineral build-up that can impede water flow.
If you don’t have access to an adjustable wrench, you can try filling a plastic bag with white vinegar and tying it around the shower head’s neck. This will slowly break down the minerals so they’re easier to remove.
Cleaning your shower head regularly can prevent build-up that affects water pressure and the appearance of the product. You can also choose a filter that’s easily removed and washed in the dishwasher to reduce bacteria.
Call a Plumber
Whether you’re dealing with an annoying leaky faucet, low water pressure in your shower or any other plumbing problem, it’s often best to call a plumber for help. A professional can find the root of your problems and permanently fix them. Unlike a DIY homeowner who is likely to end up doing more damage than good, a trained and experienced plumber can permanently resolve your plumbing issue by correctly diagnosing it and using the right tools.
Dripping faucets can be a sign that there’s a leak in your pipe or a loose nut holding the faucet on. While you may think that this is nothing more than an inconvenience, a dripping faucet can waste as much as 50 gallons of water per month and cause you to pay higher water bills.
The solution to this problem is simple: simply remove the leaking faucet, inspect it closely for loose nut or a loose connection and replace it. The simplest way to do this is with some plumber’s tape that you can pick up at your local hardware store. Once you’ve wrapped the threads on the faucet, place the new shower head onto the taped section and screw it clockwise into the faucet. Once you’ve tightened it up, turn on the faucet to test that the seal is intact.
If it’s not, the shower head might need to be replaced. Most new shower heads use a rubber washer that can become worn out, causing them to leak. It’s also common for shower heads to clog over time with minerals or sediment left by hard water.
Before calling a plumber, make sure that you’re aware of the rules in your lease agreement regarding plumbing repair and cleaning. If you’re unsure, ask your landlord or property manager for more details on what’s expected in terms of maintenance.
A reputable plumbing company should be able to explain the process in clear language and help you make an informed decision about what services are best for your situation. They should also explain any fees associated with their work and make you feel comfortable with the cost of repair or installation.
Save the Original
If you’re going to be moving into an apartment, you might want to save the original shower head. This will prevent you from having to buy a new one when you get there, and will ensure that your shower experience isn’t compromised.
If your existing shower head is stuck, you can try a few things before calling in a plumber. The first is to check whether you can remove it by hand.
The best way to do this is to use an adjustable wrench or channel-lock pliers and give it a couple of twists in a counterclockwise direction. This will allow you to loosen the shower head from the threaded end of the shower pipe.
After you’ve removed the shower head, inspect it for signs of rust or calcium buildup. If there is any, you’ll see a white ring around the connection between the shower arm and the shower head.
You can also try soaking the shower head in vinegar for 24 hours to get rid of calcium lime buildup. This will help you avoid any damage to the hose or arm when you re-attach the shower head.
Once the calcium and rust have been removed, you can attach the new shower head. This is a simple process.
Place a garbage bag, plastic tarp or old towel underneath the shower head. This will protect the porcelain and make it easier to clean up after you’ve finished changing it out.
Alternatively, you can wrap several loops of plumber’s tape around the pipe threads to create a water-tight seal. This will prevent leaks and keep the water from leaking into the tub.
You can then screw the new shower head into the hose. This should be fairly easy to do by hand, especially if you’ve already wrapped the threads with teflon tape.
If you have trouble tightening the shower head, you can try a penetrating lubricant like Liquid Wrench or WD-40. These products are designed to penetrate the threads so that they can be loosened without damaging the hose or arm.
When you’re ready to reinstall the shower head, be sure to screw it in carefully and tighten it with a wrench. This will prevent rust from forming and any leaks from occurring.