How to Take a Shower Handle Off

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Shower handles can work seamlessly for a long time but they eventually wear out. It happens because of the humid environment of the bathroom and the buildup of minerals present in the water.

Therefore, you need to take your shower handle off to replace it with the new one. In this article, we’ll discuss how to take the shower handle off correctly without damaging the water pipes inside the wall.

How to Take a Shower Handle Off

If your shower handle isn’t working properly and you want to replace it with the new one, use the steps listed below. Follow each step carefully to complete the process without experiencing any unwanted situations.

Step 1: Turn Off Main Water Supply

The first step is to turn off the main water supply to your bathroom. It’s one of the most important steps of the entire process that you don’t want to overlook. It’ll allow you to avoid getting sprayed in the face and remove the shower handle conveniently.

If you don’t have a water supply valve just for your bathroom, you’ll need to turn off the water supply of your entire home. Just go to the basement and turn off the valve of your main water line.

Step 2: Release Water Pressure

After turning off the water supply, you’ll need to turn on the bathroom sink faucet to release the pressure in the system. Make sure that you move the faucet to both hot and cold sides and leave the faucet on. Then, you can do the same with your shower handle to be on the safe side.

Step 3: Locate the Set Screw

Now, you’ll need to inspect the shower handle to locate a set screw. If you have a modern shower handle with a metal lever, you won’t be able to see any screw on the front side. That’s because they have a screw located right in the nose that you need to access from the bottom side.

Whereas, if you have a rounded faucet handle, you’ll need to remove its index button to access the set screw. The index button is the front cap that usually has red and blue signs for hot and cold water and it also displays the manufacturer’s logo.

While the index button can be removed with your thumb’s nail, it can lead to a minor injury. So, we recommend you use a small flat-head screwdriver to perform the job easily.

Step 4: Inspect the Set Screw

It’s important to note that different shower handles come with different types of screws. Most modern shower handles with a metal lever have an Allen head screw that you need to remove using an Allen wrench.

Whereas, a Phillips head screw is commonly used to secure rounded faucet handles. You’ll need to inspect the screw and then use the correct screwdriver or key to remove it.

Step 5: Remove the Set Screw

Once you have the right tool to remove the screw, place it on the screw head and start turning it counterclockwise. If the screw head is covered with a whitish buildup of minerals, you might not be able to unscrew it.

In such a case you don’t want to put too much effort as it’ll break the screw. You’ll need to spay Wd-40 on the screw head and leave it for three to five minutes to break up the mineral buildup and corrosion. After that, you’ll be able to unscrew the screw easily.

Important Note: If you have a shower drain that can close, make sure that you close it before removing the screw. You can also use a small piece of cloth to cover the drain if it doesn’t feature a built-in cover. It’ll allow you not to lose the screw down the drain.

Step 6: Remove the Shower Handle

After removing the screw, you’ll need to grab the shower handle and pull it against the wall to remove it. Again, you don’t want to put in too much effort because you’ll end up breaking the water pipes inside the wall.

If you can’t remove your shower handle with gentle force, spray some Wd-40 on it. Leave it for a couple of minutes and try to remove the handle again. If you’re still not able to remove the shower handle, you’ll need to use the handle and sleeve puller.

It’s an invaluable tool that comes with a central long screw that you need to place on the shower head. The two long arms of the tools go behind the handle to grab its edges.

Then, you need to tighten the tool’s lever to remove the shower handle. Not only does it keep you from putting too much physical effort but it also ensures the safety of wall pipes. Now you can attach the new shower handle and secure it using the screw it comes with.

Important Note: Make sure that you wear rubber gloves before performing this step. It’ll allow you to avoid minor hand injuries that can happen because of corrosion on the handle.

Why Do You Need to Remove Shower Handle

The following are some common reasons why you need to remove your shower handle.

  • If your current shower handle becomes faulty and doesn’t perform as it’s supposed to, you’ll need to remove it in order to install a new one.
  • When your shower handle becomes corroded and has mineral buildup and you need to clean it. You can use calcium lime rust remover for this purpose.
  • You’ll need to remove your shower handle when its faucet cartridge becomes faulty. You’ll need to remove the base place, secured with a couple of screws, to complete this process.
  • If your water pipes in the wall have a leak, you’ll need to take your shower handle off to access and fix them.

Final Words

Removing a shower handle shouldn’t be a time-consuming and difficult task. You just need to make sure that you use the right method and tools to complete this process effectively. 

Make sure that you don’t apply too much force if you can’t remove the screw or shower handle. Instead, use the techniques discussed in this guide for that purpose to avoid expensive damage. 

Allen Michael is the Founder and Editor of Home Viable, a website that he started to provide readers with tips on home efficiency and automation. He draws on his engineering background combined with his family-of-four experiences for his articles.