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stuck shower head...mineral deposits?

I've tried to replace a shower head in my bathroom, but it won't budge. I'm wondering if it's from some sort of mineral deposit? There is a bluish residue on the shower head - if that makes a difference.

I've tried w-d 40 and spraying the joint with CLR and it still won't move - should I use something stronger or have a plumber cut and rethread the pipe?


Re: stuck shower head...mineral deposits?

See if you can remove the supply pipe. It's cheap and easy to replace. Use teflon tape on the threads whenever you replace a threaded fitting and you'll be OK. Personally I try this first by turning the head and seeing what moves; if the whole thing comes out and the head is still stuck on the bench I get a new part from the truch to save time. The downside here is that without knowing by feel what you're doing you can break the connection behind the wall. Only experience(misfortune?)can tell you what it should feel like, so if in doubt, don't!

If that doesn't work then begin by holding the supply pipe from the wall firmly with padded channellocks or a similar tool(thick leather turned rough-side in works good as does several layers of pasteboard). This padding protects the pipe finish. Break off or remove any plastic in the shower head itself and apply heat to the stuck area with a torch. 10-15 seconds should be enough then try to turn it. Enough heat usually works but watch a few things here. Any water that drips out in this process will be very hot! Watch that you aren't igniting or melting something you don't intend to. And don't use so much heat that you melt the solder/plastic behind the wall where the showerhead flanged tee connects! I have a cup of water handy to pour on the hot pipe after I get the head loosened a turn or so.

When that all fails you can cut or grind away a slot in the showerhead fitting on two opposite sides(don't get into the threads theirself) and try to turn it. It usually breaks in the slot and turns easily now. If you can't get to the fitting enough to slot it, cut the head off first to make some working room.


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