Replacing your shower head is one of those jobs that always gets left at the bottom of the to-do list. While it is easy to forget to replace it for years at a time, there are recommended time frames for replacing this bathroom staple.
So, if you are wondering 'how often should I change my shower head?', read our handy guide to discover when to replace it.
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Visual Signs a Shower Head Needs To Be Replaced
Over time, shower heads wear down due to everyday wear and tear; parts begin to corrode, clogs and chips form, rust starts to grow. If you start seeing the following on your showerhead, it may be time to buy a replacement.
As your water makes its way to your tap, it can pick up certain sediments; limescale and other natural minerals are common examples, especially in hard water areas.
These sediments build up on the inside and outside of your shower head, creating uneven water pressure or flow. While it is possible to remove these issues, sometimes the clogging and corrosion are too much, and a replacement head is needed.
Change in Water Pressure
If your water flow changes without any interference from you, there may be some clogging or corrosion issues internally. When clogging or worn parts reach a certain point, this can reduce or change the water pressure of your shower and create a less relaxing atmosphere. If this occurs, we recommend fixing or replacing the shower head.
A leak from your shower head is a minor but expensive issue that must be addressed as soon as possible. While it can be as simple as tightening various parts, there may be corrosion or wear that cannot be fixed. In this case, replacing your shower head would be most effective.
Bathrooms are particularly susceptible to mold and harmful bacteria due to their humid and warm environment. This atmosphere allows it to grow exponentially in dark, damp places such as the inside of a shower head.
Signs of bacteria growth include black spots, fuzz, or other substances growing out of the nozzles, which is why it is important to clean them. Other signs sometimes include dark hard water stains in your showers, and little black spots in the water.
While using some chemical or natural treatments can kill certain amounts of bacteria, an infestation is a health hazard and requires a full replacement. When replacing a moldy shower head, we recommend using a metal rather than a plastic one as they are more resistant to bacteria.
Hidden Factors That You Need To Consider
Showers provide a perfect atmosphere for bacteria to grow inside your shower head. This means that spores can be carried onto and into your body via the water and the air, making it a potentially serious health hazard.
Some of the most common bacteria that can grow in your shower include Stachybotrys, or black mold, Fusarium, Acremonium, and Alternaria, which can all cause health issues if not removed as soon as possible. Signs of bacteria build-up include film clusters, slime, and black spots on the shower head itself or in the water.
How Often Should I Change My Shower Head?
There is some debate surrounding how often you should change your shower head; some experts suggest six months, while others suggest every fifteen years. Various factors can impact how often you should replace your shower head, including:
Cleaning And Maintenance
Cleaning and maintaining your shower head every week to two weeks can ensure that you stay on top of the above issues and prevent them from escalating.
Materials The Shower Head Is Made Of
The internal and external parts of your shower may be susceptible to mold or wear. For example, plastic shower heads are often more likely to experience mold and bacteria issues than metal ones.
Water Hardness In Your Area
As we discussed above, water naturally picks up sediments on its way to your shower head. Hard water areas typically encounter a higher level of this and may experience more issues with clogs, water pressure, and wear.
Bacteria Build-Up Level
A small number of bacteria can be easily removed, but larger colonies pose more of a threat to your shower and health.
Corrosion Level Of Internal Parts
While parts will naturally wear over time, there comes a point where they cease to function or become a hazard. It may be possible to replace the parts depending on the item and brand warranty but sometimes replacing your shower is the simpler route.
Brand And Model Of Shower Head
Certain brands may use higher quality materials or protective coatings to increase the lifespan of your shower head.
Your Household Budget
While it is easy to say that you need to replace your shower head every year or two, there are times when personal budgets or situations do not allow for that kind of expense. If you find yourself in a similar circumstance, we recommend replacing it when you can.
If you keep an efficient and effective cleaning and maintenance schedule, it is possible to extend your shower head’s lifespan and keep on top of bacteria and repairs. However, there are situations as described earlier that require you to replace your shower head.
With all of this in mind, how often should you change a shower head? That depends on a variety of factors but consider doing it every year depending on your situation.
People also Ask (FAQs)
Will a new shower head improve pressure?
A newer shower head can improve your water pressure depending on the model and brand purchased. We have written various articles on shower heads that adjust the water pressure to help you decide which is best for you.
What is the black stuff on my shower head?
The black stuff on your shower head is typically mold, specifically Stachybotrys. This black mold looks like black spots on your shower head and can be detrimental to your health and wellbeing. If you find black stuff on your shower head, use a bathroom bacteria remover to get rid of it internally and externally.
Do you have to turn off the water to change the shower head?
We recommend turning off the water when changing your shower head to prevent you and your bathroom from getting soaked. Most homes have a simple method of switching it off and on, making installing a new head a quick process.
With regular cleaning and maintenance, it is possible to extend the lifespan of your shower head and save money long term. How often to replace shower heads depends on your situation, but every year or two is a good guideline.
Caitlin Shaffer has been traveling & working as a content writer & SCUBA dive instructor since 2014. Having lived in Central & South America, Southeast Asia, India, & Australia, Caitlin has had many years of experience with a variety of kitchen, bathroom, plumbing systems & common household products. Other than writing about her plumbing experiences & knowledge, her main passions are yoga, ocean conservation, & sustainable development.