You're not alone! Some of the most frequently asked questions at The Shower Head Store are related to this. What we'd like to do is answer some of your most burning questions. It's time that you feel empowered, to know that you are making the right choice!
By the end of this article, and after your purchase, you'll be sure to avoid any last minute surprises when you receive your brand new shower head.
A replacement shower head refers to a product that easily replaces your existing shower head. It has nothing to do with your shower trim kit or rough plumbing, and usually does not require hiring a plumber.
Most all of the shower heads offered at The Shower Head Store fall under the replacement shower head category. That's because we want you to be able to easily order and install your shower head without needing to be an expert in plumbing.
Here's one of the most popular replacement shower heads that we offer:
These shower heads are designed to attach to your 1/2" IPS Shower Arm extending from the shower wall. (Don't get worried over the technicalities, this is about as standard as it gets with plumbing. Here's an image below to show you what a standard shower arm looks like.)
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While we will cover what IS and IS NOT included in typical replacement shower head kits, there are always exceptions to the rule. That's why it's best to have some rules of thumb.
Rest assured, if you're buying a shower head from a reputable company, you'll be getting these standard parts.
Yes, we'll cover the basics. The shower head is included, whether it's a hand held shower head, rain shower head, or dual shower head. You'll most definitely be getting the shower head(s) advertised.
While installing a shower head replacement is pretty simple, all reputable manufacturer's include an instruction manual. Just in case it's your first time and you want some more details on this, we've outlined each step in this article:
Remember: Lefty Loosey, Righty Tighty
When you're installing your shower head, it's important to use sealants to prevent unnecessary leaks.
Most shower heads require Thread seal tape to seal the threads. 99% of the time, it's included in the shower head package. If it's not included, you can grab some at any local hardware store for $1-2 per roll.
There are shower heads that do not require Thread seal tape. Instead, these shower heads utilize black rubber washers.
For fixed shower heads, the rubber washer is usually pre-installed inside of the shower head threads - often with an embedded screen to filter out debris. For hand held shower heads, you'll find two rubber washers to install the hose, in addition to the pre-installed washer inside the shower head holder bracket.
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but yes, the flow restrictor is pre-installed in each shower head - or at least they should be. Depending on where you live, the law requires either a Maximum 2.5 gallon per minute (GPM) or 2.0 GPM flow rate.
Discover more in this article:
While you can remove these flow restrictors from the shower head, it is not recommended. If you try to remove the flow restrictor without extended knowledge of the product, it can damage the shower head and cause it to leak.
With that being said, you can pretty easily spot which piece is the flow restrictor, as it is usually a brightly colored plastic. Like everything else, with a simple search on YouTube you can become an expert in how to remove a flow restrictor.
For higher end shower heads that have more features - like hand helds, shower heads with slide bars or dual shower head combos - you'll want to be sure that the necessary parts are included for installation. Most of the time they are, but let's take a closer look.
If you're buying a hand held shower head, it will almost ALWAYS include the shower hose. Just remember the rules of thumb!
If you are not happy with the flexibility or length of the included hose, you can easily replace it with any other shower hose on the market. Most hand held shower head packages include a 60 inch hose.
Just like shower arms, all shower hoses in the United States have 1/2" IPS connections, so you don't have to worry about compatibility issues.
As it stands at the time of writing this article, all hand held shower heads offered at The Shower Head store include the shower hose.
Like the shower hose, the shower holder mount is applicable to hand held shower heads with wands.
The shower head holder mount holds the hand shower wand in place when it is not being used. Since these parts can come in different shapes, sizes and finishes, MOST hand held shower heads include the matching bracket.
Again, the threaded fitting of the shower holder mount, which attaches to your shower arm, is the standard 1/2" IPS connection.
This also applies to wall mount hand held shower heads. These hand held shower head kits mount to the wall with screws or adhesive, as opposed to screwing onto your existing shower arm like the shower holder mount seen above.
As it stands at the time of writing this article, all hand held shower heads offered at The Shower Head Store include a shower holder mount.
If you are looking at dual shower heads, like dual rain and hand held shower head combos, it will require an external diverter valve which mounts to your shower arm.
These diverters have two purposes:
1) Divert water flow from one shower head to the other.
2) Dock the hand held shower head when it's not in use.
Not all dual shower heads have wands, but for the ones that do, the diverter will also have a holder bracket to dock your shower head. If the shower is sold as a combo, dual or 2-In-1, you can be assured that it WILL INCLUDE this part.
As it stands at the time of writing this article, all dual shower head combos offered at The Shower Head Store include the shower head diverter.
Hand held shower heads with slide bars are even more custom than shower holder mounts or shower head diverter mounts. That's why you can often find them sold as Kits or Packages.
There are plenty of options out there that allow you to "piece meal" together your shower head with slide bar. So, be sure to follow the rules of thumb when shopping for one!
As it stands at the time of writing this article, all hand held shower heads with slide bars offered at The Shower Head Store include the slide bar.
These types of shower heads feature an adjustable shower arm, so you can raise or lower the height of your shower head. They don't require as much space as a slide bar and they are generally less expensive.
Although the adjustable shower arm IS included in these kits, don't get confused. The adjustable shower arm attaches onto your existing shower arm and acts as an extension, not as a replacement to your shower arm. They are two separate pieces. If you need to also replace your fixed shower arm, you'll want to buy that separately.
As it stands at the time of writing this article, all adjustable height shower heads offered at The Shower Head Store include the adjustable shower arm.
When you buy a filtered shower head, it WILL INCLUDE at least one shower head filter to get you started.
These shower head filters should be changed every 6 months and are also sold separately.
As it stands at the time of writing this article, all filtered shower head and inline shower head filters offered at The Shower Head Store include at least one shower head filter cartridge.
Most of the questions we field on this topic are about the shower arm - and it's understandable. Many product photos show the shower head mounted on the shower arm. This is merely to give you an idea of how it is installed.
But 99.9% of the time the Shower Arm is NOT included in replacement shower head kits.
This also applies to ceiling mount shower arms. For those of you looking to do a bigger remodel to your shower by adding a ceiling mount rain shower head, you'll need to purchase a straight shower arm. You'll also want to hire a plumber if you don't already have a overhead water outlet in your shower.
Going hand in hand with the shower arm, the shower flange is the little decorative plate that goes behind the shower arm.
This is also something that is NOT included in Replacement Shower Head Kits.
The wall elbow, or drop ell, is usually used in more custom showers instead of the shower arm. It mounts flush to the wall and is the part where the hand held shower hose attaches to.
For any hand held shower heads or hand-showers with slide bar packages, this part will NOT be included. Instead, you can just use your existing shower arm to attach your shower hose.
Now, we're moving into a whole new realm of shower heads and kits. Tub & shower trims are completely separate from replacement shower heads. While tub & shower trim kits can include shower heads, replacement shower heads NEVER include the trim.
These Trim Kits are for larger projects that usually require a licensed plumber. You'll want to search specifically for Trim Kits if you are in need of these additional parts such as: Handles, Escutcheon Plates and Tub Spouts.
As you can see, the photo clearly shows the parts that are included. If you're shopping for replacement shower heads, it should not show these additional parts in the main image.
As it stands at the time of writing this article, The Shower Head Store does not offer tub and shower trim kits. We exclusively specialize in and sell replacement shower heads and their coordinating accessories.
Shower valves are NEVER included with replacement shower head kits. This has to do with your "Rough Plumbing" which is installed in your wall. This type of installation is very technical and certainly requires a licensed plumber. If you're in need of a shower valve, you'll want to search for rough in shower valves.
Valves may or may not come with the tub and shower trim. Remember the rules of thumb!
If you ever have any questions about what IS and IS NOT included in a replacement shower head kit, please Reach out to us at The Shower Head Store. We'll be glad to address any concerns you may with regards to your research or purchase.