This project is continued from Part 1.
Shower Leak Source
After reattaching the shower head, the shower was turned on and the source of the leak was plainly seen. The leak was coming from the threaded joint at the shower arm and the drop ear elbow. Click on the image for a larger view.
I unscrewed the shower arm from the elbow and observed that:
- The shower arm was threaded-in very tightly – this is good.
- The threads were sealed with pipe joint compound – also good.
- The pipe joint compound had become brittle and dry, this is what caused the leak.
The shower arm as it was removed is pictured below. The pipe joint compound is the white stuff in pipe threads.
Fixing the Shower Leak
A brass-bristle wire brush was used to clean the old pipe joint compound from the threads of the shower arm. Brass is a soft metal and won’t scratch the nickel finish. The shower arm was polished with a cotton cloth.
The threads are sealed with Teflon plumber’s tape. Wrap the tape clockwise (with the pipe end facing you) so the tape won’t unwrap as the shower arm is threaded into the elbow.
The shower arm threads wrapped in Teflon plumber’s tape. I preferred Teflon tape for this job over pipe joint compound because I wouldn’t be able to get a wrench on the elbow to really tighten the joint – and I felt that Teflon tape does a better job of sealing gaps in the pipe threads.
The old pipe joint compound was cleaned from the drop ear elbow before reattaching the shower arm.
The shower arm was threaded into the drop ear elbow inside the wall and the shower head reattached. The shower turned on the connection checked for leaks. No leaks! Problem solved!
Install a Shower Plumbing Access Panel
The ugly inspection opening in the drywall was covered by 12 inch by 12 inch white return grill purchased from Lowes. The grill can be easily removed for maintenance or repair if needed in the future.
Here’s a better perspective of the bathtub/shower and wet wall with the newly installed white grill.
The final task is to paint the downstairs closet ceiling to cover the water stain.
Thanks for reading,
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