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Old 05-04-2011, 11:34 PM   #1
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shower arm movement


Hi - A shower in one of our bathrooms has a shower head that is a little hard to adjust. I noticed that when the head is turned that the arm also moves a little. I'm wondering if that can cause the pipe in the wall to twist? The pipe seems to be secured and doesn't move in or out, only seems to have a little movement when the shower head is turned side to side.
Thanks!

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Old 05-05-2011, 12:40 AM   #2
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shower arm movement


Quote:
Originally Posted by stilllearning View Post
Hi - A shower in one of our bathrooms has a shower head that is a little hard to adjust. I noticed that when the head is turned that the arm also moves a little. I'm wondering if that can cause the pipe in the wall to twist? The pipe seems to be secured and doesn't move in or out, only seems to have a little movement when the shower head is turned side to side.
Thanks!
I just fixed a shower head in one of our bathrooms that was hard to adjust, meaning moving the shower head upward and downward to direct the flow of water.

I removed the shower head and soaked it in white vinegar for about 2 hours to loosen up the calcium build up. Scrubbed the calcium off using an old toothbrush and cleaned the holes using a paperclip. Then rinsed thoroughly. I then applied silicone grease (available at your hardware store in the plumbing section) on the metal ball surface that the head swivels on where ever I could reach with my finger and started swiveling the head. As the head swiveled more, I applied more silicone grease and eventually the head swiveled in every direction as if it was new.

As far as your arm moving a little now, it might leak where it screws into the female threads inside of the double wall. Especially if you have a water shutoff at your shower head. Suggest removing the arm and cleaning the female and male threads as best you can. Then apply pipe dope on the male threads of the arm, wind some PTFE teflon tape around the threads, and put another coat of pipe dope on the tape. Screw the arm back in until it's tight and pointing in the correct direction. Then screw the shower head back on without teflon tape since there's not a lot of water pressure on the shower head connection to the arm and the seal might actually be a gasket anyway.

HRG

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Last edited by Homerepairguy; 05-05-2011 at 12:45 AM.
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Old 05-05-2011, 11:25 AM   #3
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shower arm movement


HRG-
Thanks for your help. The shower head is about a year old, It's just really tight to try to aim the head a different way which puts pressure on the shower arm. That's where I wonder if it also puts any pressure on the pipe in the wall. My husband did the plumbing and the pipe is attached to the side of the stud. That wouldn't prevent a little torque on the pipe if the shower arm is moving a little when the shower head is moved into a different angle. This is a bathtub/shower so the pipe goes into the mixing valve and I'm guessing it wouldn't have continual water pressure once the shower diverter is off.
I think the silicone grease would be a great idea to use to loosen up the shower head.
I just wonder how much torque the connection at the valve or shower head can take before it causes a leak.
SL
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Old 05-05-2011, 01:51 PM   #4
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Stilllearning,

If you mean that the shower arm is moving back & forth as opposed to rotating, then forget what I suggested about removing it and applying pipe dope and teflon tape. Applying silicone grease to the ball portion of the shower head will probably loosen it up so it swivels relatively effortlessly. Once the head is swiveling nicely, there won't be enough torque on the arm to loosen it when you rotate the head. If the arm does rotate, then it was installed much too loosely and needs to be removed and the pipe dope, teflon tape procedure applied. You can vary the amount of tape used to insure a tight fit.

You're correct that there won't be continuous water pressure above the diverter if it's diverting water to the bathtub spout. The plumbing above the diverter will only have house water pressure if you're taking a shower and have a water valve at your shower head turned to the off position.

EDIT: Soaking the shower head in white vinegar can soften built up calcium deposits that are impeding swiveling of the head. It might be worthwhile removing the head and soaking it in white vinegar for a few hours before forcing it too much and damaging the rubber seal at the swivel ball. Then apply the silicone grease and swivel the head gradually. No guarantees but has worked for me over the years.

HRG

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Old 05-05-2011, 02:38 PM   #5
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Shower arms usually have male threads on each end, they are usually screwed into an elbow in the wall. If it's turning that easily, you might want to give it a full turn clockwise to tighten it up. If it does loosen too much, a drip can develop in the wall. But be careful not to overtighten. I'd let an expert chime in before doing this, though, since I'm not a plumber.
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Old 05-05-2011, 04:36 PM   #6
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Thank you both for taking the time to reply. I do appreciate it. I'm wondering if I might not have explained what I meant very well. The arm itself is very tightly screwed into the elbow from the wall. What I was meaning by movement it that there is space, about 1/4" around the arm from where it comes out of the wall, which is then covered by the metal cover. When the head is pushed to a new angle it's like the whole connection of the arm, elbow and pipe can move a little to which ever side it's being moved. I've read that the hole itself can be filled in to prevent movement but I hate to fill it in with something that can't be easily removed. I guess eventually the pushing and pulling could loosen the connection where the arm screws into the elbow. I wonder if that movement can loosen or weaken anything further down the wall at the weld area? It's not a lot of movement but enough that the pipe in the wall can move a little bit. And as I mentioned the pipe is secured to the side of the stud by a U shaped clamp.
Thanks again!
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:11 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by stilllearning View Post
The arm itself is very tightly screwed into the elbow from the wall. What I was meaning by movement it that there is space, about 1/4" around the arm from where it comes out of the wall, which is then covered by the metal cover. When the head is pushed to a new angle it's like the whole connection of the arm, elbow and pipe can move a little to which ever side it's being moved.
Finally understand that's it's a side-to-side movement of the shower arm that you're concerned with. Maybe a 3/4" pex tubing insulator can resolve your problem. Here's a picture of one:

And here's a link to a website that sells it:
http://www.pexsupply.com/Viega-55140...ger-12442000-p

You could pull the metal cover back, install the tubing insulator around the shower arm pipe and push the insulator into the hole. The flange would prevent the insulator from going too far in and falling behind the double wall.

To give you an idea of the actual measurements of the 3/4" pex tubing insulator, the outer diameter of the part that would go into the hole in the wall will be 1-7/16" but can be less if squeezed. You could wrap duct tape around the insulator if the hole is larger than than 1-7/16" in diameter. The insulator sells for only 36 cents so it would be a very cheap thing to try. It may also be available at your local big box home repair store.

HRG
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Old 05-05-2011, 09:14 PM   #8
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shower arm movement


like you said it sounds like just pipes moving.when it was installed it is kinda blind he threaded it in till it was hand tight then one full turn with a wrench..and its tight.and its on the rise from the mixing valve and constant pressue just seal the pipe thru the hole to stop the movement..and loosen up the shower head...with silcon spray could be mineral buildup
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Old 05-05-2011, 09:24 PM   #9
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shower arm movement


The shower head should have been installed with a drop-ear elbow, that would mount to some bracing run between the two studs...

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Old 05-06-2011, 12:15 AM   #10
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shower arm movement


HRG - That looks like it would work to fill in the space. We'll give it a try. That way we still have easy access if we want to change the shower arm or check for leaks there.

Biggles - The silicone sounds like it'll be great to help the shower head move easily.

Andrew - there is something like that in there, but unfortunately there was no bracing behind to attach it and we probably didn't realize the importance of attaching it that way. It is attached to the side of the stud though. Luckily the other side of the wall is pretty easy to access if it turns out we need to add in bracing. Hopefully getting the hole fill and loosening the shower head will help.

Thanks again for your help, sounds like this should help with the problem.

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