4 Common Leaking Showerhead Causes Explained & Soluctions

Nothing comes close to being as bothersome as a leaky showerhead. At first, it’s just annoying, but after the fourth or fifth time that you shut off the water and the slow drip from the showerhead continues, you start to get worried. Before you panic, check out the recommendations below. It may be a quick and inexpensive fix that you can handle on your own!


In our experience, a leaking showerhead rarely means a broken showerhead. If you’re experiencing water coming out of the shower head and faucet, it is most often a sign of an underlying ring or valve issue. Here are the four most common leaking shower causes:

1. Clogged Showerhead  

If you haven’t cleaned your shower head in a long time, this may be the culprit. When the nozzles of your showerhead are clogged with calcium, the pressurized water that is supposed to spray out of the nozzle has to find other ways to exit, and this is what we observe as the leak.

2. Worn-Out O-Rings

The O-rings used in shower systems are made of rubber and are designed to create a tight seal between the hose and the head. Over time, these O-rings wear out and develop tears. Water seeps out of these tears and can result in a leak.

3. Faulty Rough-In Valve

The rough-in valve is the part of a shower set that allows you to control the water temperature by combing hot and cold water before sending it out of the water outlet. If the rough-in valve is not functioning properly, it may be sending water out even if the water is switched off, causing a leak.

 4. Worn-Out Diverter Valve

If you have shower systems with additional water outlets, such as handheld shower attachments or tub fillers, the diverter valve may be the source of the leak. Diverter valves stop the flow to particular shower outlets and help direct the flow to the outlet in use. After continuous wear and tear, the diverter valve may crack, causing water to seep out.


*Important: Unless you want to clean up a soaked mess, you must stop the water supply to your bathroom before attempting any of these solutions. Some homes have a separate bathroom fixture that can be shut off independently from other water outlets. If not, you must momentarily turn off the main water line.

Fix #1 - Clogged Showerhead Cleaning

Estimated cost: $0

Materials needed: White vinegar, water, plastic scrubber, deep container

Step #1: Fill a container with equal parts of water and vinegar. You want to make sure the container is large enough for you to submerge your entire showerhead.

Step #2: Remove the showerhead from the wall or ceiling. The removal method may vary depending on the brand and model of the showerhead. When in doubt, refer back to the installation instructions.

Step #3: Place the showerhead, nozzles facing downward, into the container filled with your vinegar cleaning solution. You’ll want to let it soak anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Step #4: Remove the showerhead from the container to gently scrub and rinse it. Be careful not to damage or scratch your showerhead while scrubbing.

Step #5: Replace the showerhead and turn on the water to inspect for leaking. 

Pro Tip: Clogged showerhead cleaning can also help with low water pressure issues. To ensure your showerhead performs at its best, we recommend cleaning it at least every other week!

Fix #2 - Worn-Out O-Rings Replacement

Estimated cost: $2 - $3

Materials needed: Rubber O-rings, screwdriver, plumber’s silicone grease

Step #1: Remove the showerhead and find the rubber O-ring beneath the swivel ball. Depending on the type of showerhead, you may need a screwdriver to get to the O-ring.

Step #2: Remove the old O-ring and replace it with a new identical O-ring.

Step #3: Apply a small amount of plumber’s silicone grease. The plumber’s grease will act as a lubricant and help prevent future cracking or tears.

Step #4: Put the showerhead back into its original position and turn on the water to inspect for shower faucet drips.  

Pro Tip: Before performing your showerhead O-ring replacement, remove the old O-ring and bring it with you to the store to purchase the new one. This will ensure that you have no trouble finding the exact same size and thickness!

Fix #3 - Faulty Rough-In Valve Replacement

Estimated cost: $35 - $105  

Materials needed: Replacement rough-in valve, screwdriver, pliers, wrench

Step #1: Using the screwdriver, remove the control handle and trim plate to uncover the valves.

Step #2: You may need to use a wrench to remove the hex nut that secures the valves to the wall.

Step #3: Pull out the old rough-in valve using your set of pliers.

Step #4: Insert the new rough-in valve and secure it using the screws and hex nut.

Step #5: Turn on the water to see if the replacement was able to stop the shower drip. Put the trim plate and control handle back into their original position.

Pro Tip: Before securing the trim plate and handle back on, take a moment to observe the valves with the water on. If the leak continues, this will help you see exactly where the water is leaking from!

Fix #4 - Worn-Out Diverter Valve Replacement

Estimated cost: $20 - $150

Materials needed: Replacement diverter valve, screwdriver, wrench

Step #1: Remove the control handle and trim plate using a screwdriver and find the diverter valve. If you have more than one control handle, the diverter valve will be connected to all handles.

Step #2: Use the wrench to unscrew the hex nut and remove the diverter valve.

Step #3: Carefully wipe down the area where you will connect the new diverter valve.

Step #4: Screw the new diverter valve on and replace the shower handle and trim plate to check for leaking.

Pro Tip: You can easily avoid the cost to replace a diverter valve; maintain your new diverter valve in tip-top condition by cleaning it regularly to prevent any tough buildup!


If you’re still experiencing a dripping showerhead after trying these at-home fixes, the next step is to call a professional plumber. But here’s the good news: by attempting these fixes first, you will have eliminated four potential shower leak causes and narrowed down your plumber’s next steps. Make sure to share this helpful guide to rescue other homeowners suffering from leaking showerheads!

And remember, for durability, luxury, and covered replacement parts, shop Karoshome! Karoshome offers a limited warranty that will replace defective parts and finishes free of charge, within 1 year of purchase. For full warranty policy details, visit Karoshome warrantly policy.




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