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Thread: How to make sure shower arm is not leaking inside of wall

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member lordmoosh's Avatar
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    Default How to make sure shower arm is not leaking inside of wall

    Hello,

    I had to replace my shower arm. There is no clearance around the shower arm to make sure it is not leaking into the wall. I tried chiseling out some of the cement but it feels harder than thinset. Usually I can chisel out thinset or cement board easily. In this case I was not able to chisel it out successfully. I'm not sure what material they used but its hard like a rock. I went to the other side of the wall and cut out a piece of drywall. There is a piece of wood behind the brass fitting that the shower arm is connected to. I can see the copper pipe underneath it (see pictures). The pipe looks dry. The insulation feels dry. Is there anything else I should do to make sure its not leaking? Thanks all.

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  2. #2
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    If it's going to leak, it won't be very notable while running water through the shower head.
    Replace the shower head with a threaded cap and leave the line pressurized for awhile, then check for any sign of a leak.

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member lordmoosh's Avatar
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    My showerhead slows to a trickle (very little water comes out of it) when the water heats up. Would that be enough pressure?

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Maybe, maybe not. A cap is less than a buck. Next time you're near a place that sells them, pick one up, then you'll know for sure. If you applied tape, pipe dope, or both properly, and tightened it down well, unless the fitting splits (hard, but not impossible to do), it's not going to leak.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    I have never looked into a wall to see if a shower arm was leaking.

    Either put tape on the threads, or pipe dope, thread the head onto the arm by hand, and spin that puppy in.

    After you have the arm where you want it. then put a wrench on the head to snug it up.

  6. #6
    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Default Leaking Shower Arm

    Many of these shower arms are now being made with chrome plated plastic. Make sure your shower arm is not before putting any force on it.

    If you use the shower arm for support (You should not) you could crack a fitting in the wall.

    This happened in our rental years back. Cost me $6,000 to fix and repair all damages.

    Some of this going on I think!



    *Picture Source
    Last edited by johnfrwhipple; 06-19-2013 at 12:38 PM.


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

  7. #7
    DIY Senior Member DougB's Avatar
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    It's sorta like trying to find out if the light is on when the refrigerator door is closed

    Is that a younger picture of you John?
    If a hammer won't fix it, it's an electrical problem.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Renters!!!

    I once opened up the ceiling on a condo, first floor basement unit. Water was coming though the ceiling above the stacked shower. I saw no reason for the water there.
    I then went to the top unit four floors up and figured I would start from the top with my detecting skills.

    The shower arm was dangling from the wall, nearly broken in half.
    The Renter said it had been that way a long time and it was hard to get it pointed right.

    Yeah.................someone elses problem I guess.

    My normal repair in that building had been for leaking shower drains. I had replace a few of those already.
    I wasn't expecting somebody to shower with a broken shower arm though.

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    DIY Senior Member lordmoosh's Avatar
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    Mines is definitely some type of brushed metal, not plastic. Thanks all.

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    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Default Fixing a leaking shower arm - get the pressure just right!

    Quote Originally Posted by lordmoosh View Post
    Mines is definitely some type of brushed metal, not plastic. Thanks all.


    Source



    The pressure on this shower arm and fixture is to great. Look at the pain the women is in!

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    Renters!!!

    ....My normal repair in that building had been for leaking shower drains. I had replace a few of those already.
    I wasn't expecting somebody to shower with a broken shower arm though.
    Did you upgrade their shower head for them? This is a fancy one.


    Last edited by johnfrwhipple; 06-20-2013 at 01:16 AM.


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

  11. #11
    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lordmoosh View Post
    .... There is a piece of wood behind the brass fitting that the shower arm is connected to. I can see the copper pipe underneath it (see pictures). The pipe looks dry. The insulation feels dry. Is there anything else I should do to make sure its not leaking?.....
    If you shine a light and watch for a minute or two you might see a falling drop of water.

    You could also feed in some newspaper and leave it there for a few days.


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

  12. #12
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default leak

    This is a prime example of paranoia and overkill. WHO cuts a hole in the wall to check for something they don't even know is happening? You TEST, and CHECK, FIRST, then open the wall if there is a problem.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Senior Member lordmoosh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    This is a prime example of paranoia and overkill. WHO cuts a hole in the wall to check for something they don't even know is happening? You TEST, and CHECK, FIRST, then open the wall if there is a problem.
    How do you "TEST, and CHECK, FIRST" to know there is a problem?

  14. #14
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Cap the shower arm's outlet. Take the trim off the valve. This will give you enough space to look for water dripping down from the shower riser pipe. Turn the valve on, and if it's in say a tub, activate the diverter so it tries to go up the shower arm. Leave it for awhile...if there's a leak, you'll see it. This is not rocket science...
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  15. #15
    DIY Senior Member lordmoosh's Avatar
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    I'm not being paranoid and I'll ignore the comment about rocket science. Based on what I have read you want to look and see if its leaking before you call the job done. The issue at hand is I cannot see from behind the escutcheon cover which I explained in the first post. Did you read it? I even included pictures.

    "There is no clearance around the shower arm to make sure it is not leaking into the wall. I tried chiseling out some of the cement but it feels harder than thinset. Usually I can chisel out thinset or cement board easily. In this case I was not able to chisel it out successfully. I'm not sure what material they used but its hard like a rock. "

    I cut open a small piece of drywall behind the riser so I could get a peek and see if there was a hidden leak. The small hole can be filled using joint compound. I will try the newspaper technique as suggested by John before I patch the drywall up. Thanks...

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