You may want to replace the shower arm in your bathroom in order to install a new low-flow shower head, or the previous one may be leaking. Whatever your reason for replacing your shower arm, you can do it easily yourself with the right tools and equipment. Follow these guidelines to install a new shower arm in your bathroom.
Step 1 - Shut Off the Water Flow to the Bathroom
If you have a separate water flow control for the shower, turn off that valve. Otherwise, shut off the water flow to the entire bathroom or the whole house, as necessary. If you are replacing both the shower head and arm, go to Step 3. To replace just the shower arm and put the existing shower head on the new arm, go to Step 2.
Step 2 - Detach the Shower Head
Grasp the shower arm with a vise grip, while placing the adjustable pipe wrench around the nut connecting the shower head to the arm. Turn the wrench counterclockwise to release the shower head nut, and twist off the shower head from the shower arm with your hand. Rinse the shower head in vinegar or limescale remover if it does not release from the shower arm.
Step 3 - Prepare to Remove the Old Shower Arm
Check the top of the shower arm for white flaky mineral scale. This will make the shower arm difficult to remove. Soak a cloth in vinegar or limescale remover, and rub it around the shower arm to remove the mineral scale.
Step 4 - Remove the Old Shower Arm
Hold the shower arm firmly with the vise grip and turn the grip counterclockwise to loosen the shower arm. For greater leverage, use the long adjustable pipe wrench. If the shower arm is stuck, spray it with a spray metal lubricant and allow the lubricant to penetrate for up to 2 hours. Try again with the pipe wrench to release and remove the old shower arm.
Step 5 - Prepare to Insert the New Shower Arm
Ensure you have the correct sized arm to fit the pipe. Wind at least three layers of Teflon plumbing tape clockwise around the threaded end of the arm going to the wall pipe, or apply a thick layer of plumbing compound. Turn the shower arm clockwise to connect it directly to the wall pipe.
Step 6 - Attach the Shower Head
Apply plumbing compound or plumbing tape to the threads at the opposite end of the shower arm, then screw on the new or old shower head. Turn the showerhead half of a turn toward the shower floor with the wrench to secure it.
Step 7 - Test the Shower Arm and Head
Restore the water flow to the shower. Turn on the shower faucet and push the diverter so water flows through the shower arm and shower head. If the shower head leaks, turn it further clockwise to tighten.