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Marc, Plumber
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 1126
Experience:  Plumbing heating & home maintenance contractor
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We need some help/guidance with replacing a defective shower

Customer Question

We need some help/guidance with replacing a defective shower head. It should be a simple procedure, right? Just unscrew the existing shower head and install a new one. But here is the problem: The 6-8" pipe coming out of the wall ends with a sooth "knob", not the standard/universal threaded pipe found in every other house I've been in. We recently purchased this house built in the 1970's and the existing shower head shoot out water like a fire hose. We cannot find an adapter to fit the end and convert it to the standard threaded pipe. I've tried several plumbers and big box stores but with no luck.
Nor can I just replace the existing pipe. The problem is I can't see the connection of this exposed pipe to the one in the wall because the shower is covered in ceramic tile. There is an opening only slightly larger than the pipe itself. I have tried to unscrew it but it doesn't budge and I'm afraid of breaking the pipe inside the wall and then I would have a major problem.
My request of you is 1) can you suggest an adapter for this type of pipe and where to buy it; or 2) better yet come out to the house in Fridley, MN to fix it.
Thank you in advance for your help.
Charles **********
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Plumbing
Expert:  Rick replied 11 months ago.

Welcome to Just Answer, my name is ***** ***** I will do my best to help you with your issue. If my initial response doesn’t answer your question then let me know and we can continue our conversation.

There is no adapter and it's highly unlikely that you'll break the existing shower arm inside the wall. Try inserting a philips screwdriver with as thick a shaft as will fit into the end of the existing arm. That will give you extra leverage to turn the arm to get it out. I'm sorry but Just Answer is an online only advice/consulting service. We don't make house calls.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I tried that after getting the same advice (for free) from someone at Home Depot. It didn't work! As I said I didn't want to break the inside pipe and then have to tear down the ceramic wall to replace/repair the pipe.
Expert:  Rick replied 11 months ago.

I've replaced dozens of shower arms that did break off inside the wall without opening up the wall. Those arms basically rotted out from aggressive water they didn't break from getting unscrewed. You could also try a decent sized pipe wrench on the arm. I'm sorry but those are your only options if you want to replace the head.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I did try the pipe wrench (before this conversation) also and it didn't budge! You have not really helped me.
Good bye.
Expert:  Rick replied 11 months ago.

I guess you'll have to call a plumber or use a bigger wrench.