Post last updated: October 6th, 2018

I wanted a shower head like my sister, Miss Priss, has in her basement bathroom. Being the odd relative, I am never allowed to stay on the main floor. I don’t mind being hidden away in the basement because I really like that shower head. It’s one of those fancy jobs with a hose wand that can be lifted out of the bracket.

Having suffered yet another birthday in late November, I was able to justify the purchase as a birthday present to myself. I further justified a new drain thingie and a new tub spigot because everything was 25 years old. Other than rust and an appalling lack of water efficiency, all of these parts worked fine. Except the drain but my plumber friend who came out to install all of these parts solved the drain problem to my everlasting joy.

Five days into playing with my new hose wand, I heard an ominous C-R-A-C-K. This was followed by water spewing from the area of the fitting where the new shower head attached to the shower arm. I won’t go into any details here because I had soap all over my body and the language wasn’t pretty. Suffice it to say that I wondered why I had messed with perfectly good parts. After I mopped and corralled the water, I got up on the edge of the tub to inspect my new Aqua Source shower head. It had split across the middle of the PLASTIC fitting. Made in China. Why is everything plastic and made in China?

shower head-5963
Can you believe this?


I took the offending shower head with hose wand back to Lowes for a refund. Returning to the plumbing department, I was tempted to sit in the aisle as I opened all their boxes of shower heads trying to find one that did not have plastic fittings. I decided against drawing that kind of attention to myself. Ultimately, I chose a Moen without the hose wand just in case the weight of the wand caused the fitting to crack. The Moen looked and felt like the fitting might be metal but I wasn’t a hundred percent sure. It’s a cinch the packaging never says a thing about fittings. It apparently does not occur to the manufacturers that it just might matter to us.

I did not want to ask my plumber friend to drive all the way from the beach just to install a shower head, so I decided that maybe I could install the thing. The instructions were very straightforward:

  • Remove existing shower head (I had already done this in order to return the cracked piece of crap to Lowes).
  • Hand tighten shower head to shower arm but do not over-tighten.

Additionally, it said thread tape was not recommended and thread tape has always been a source of major stress to me. Hand tightening sounded like it was within the realm of my skill set. No tools or genius involved.

However, just thinking about the installation caused me endless anxiety. It locked up my shoulders bad enough that I had to scurry off to my chiropractor. It took THREE days to work up the nerve to attempt the installation. Pathetic.

The hardest part of the installation was removing all that thread tape. I had to pick at it with an Xacto knife. The best part? The fitting didn’t leak after hand tightening. The worst part? It didn’t extend far enough from the shower wall. I had to shower inside my soap caddy. I tried to adjust it but it wouldn’t budge so I called on Poppie the next day. It took two hands but he fixed it. What a disgusting amount of drama just to get rid of rust and conserve a little water.

16 thoughts on “WATER WOES”

  1. So, during the 3 days of anxiety, did you not shower??? Use the spice soap, it has a strong smell. Jus’ sayin’.

  2. The thread tape may have caused the failure of the first part. When it’s plastic to metal, you’re not supposed to use thread tape as plastic stretches some anyway and you typically get a good seal. The addition of thread tape can cause the joint to stretch far enough to fail.

    1. That said, I hate plastic too. I wish it was all metal where the shower head is concerned as well. I feel like it can use the extra durability.

    2. Gene – I didn’t read the instructions on the first brand because I had no intention of installing it. But, I think the thread tape came with it because I mentioned something to the plumber about the tape and he said they package “only just enough.”

  3. May you enjoy all your showers in 2015! I wish I had the knowledge and courage to be a DIYer. Things would get repaired a lot faster if I did. (Dear hubby thinks he can fix things but usually ends up making it worse so that the plumber, or whoever, secretly snickers as he undoes what dear hubby did before properly repairing it, then snickers more on the way to the bank. Sigh..)

    1. Deb – It took me three days to talk myself into screwing the shower head on so I obviously have no courage, either. However, I think your hubby has the right idea. At least ATTEMPT to DIY and if you screw it up, THEN call in the pros.

  4. It is sad how many things are made out of cheap plastic now. Of course, then they break or wear out much more quickly, and end up in the landfill. Everything has become disposable instead of reusing – so as you see, your shower head problems are a microcosm for one of the big problems of the world 🙂

    1. Indie – I’m just trying to do what seems important to me to enable future generations to live a good life. Saving water, recycling everything the City will take, trying not to use pesticides, etc. The cheap plastic stuff is meant to keep us on the spending treadmill having to constantly replace this stuff. However, a lot of folks are starting to outsmart corporate america. The tiny house movement comes to mind as a big thing. In the small things department, when I got tired of replacing an electric can opener, I bought a sturdy hand crank model. Parts of it are still plastic but I won’t be replacing it as often. I did the same thing with my ice maker. Replaced it with old-fashioned aluminum ice trays (found one at a garage sale). If everyone would fight back in their own small way, we might succeed in making a dent in corporate america’s consciousness although that is necessarily made more difficult by their “money money money” mantra. They simply can’t hear their consciousness. Enough of my rant.

  5. That is an amazing “skill” set you have there – screwing things on. By the way, if you so choose, when you come in April you can stay on the main floor because the child will probably still be at college.

  6. I’ll nevah lose the vision of you “showering in the soap caddie”, nor the CRACK noise and soapy swearin’ that followed. By the way, you are a far braver woman than me in tackling plumbing!

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