Take the 2-minute tour ×
Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I bought this Delta showerhead almost a year ago. I remember the packaging mentioning a "backflow prevention" feature. Every time I turn off the faucet water streams from the area I've circle below, between the hose and fitting. It's always done this, but up until a few months ago the "leaking" would eventually stop and the shower would be dry by next use. That's no longer the case. I no longer notice water streaming down the hose when I turn off the faucet.

A small amount of iron has built-up around this fitting and I wonder if it's causing the water to leak out slowly. This keeps the shower wet, requiring me to spray it with diluted bleach every few days to keep mold from growing.

A couple of questions:

  1. Is this a typical occurrence with fixtures that have a "backflow prevention feature"?
  2. What is the solution? Assuming the iron build-up is the problem, I could clean it frequently but that requires removing the fixture (which isn't desirable). Are there other options?

If I can't stop it from leaking, I'll have to buy a new showerhead to prevent mold from growing.

showerhead

share|improve this question
add comment

1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

What the backflow preventer does is keep the water that is in the head when you turn the water pressure off from flowing back into the supply pipes. This is actually a good thing, and it's required on all fittings that have a hose ... if not all fittings at this point, so that soap (or dirty water) doesn't leak back into your house's fresh supply lines and potentially contaminate your food. You really don't want to remove the backflow valve or alter the hose in any way.

If it continues to leak out of the hose for hours afterwards, I would look at your valve assembly (specifically the diverter) as the culprit. You might have a small leak in the valve assembly that's flowing into your diverter and then up to the shower head. Does the tub filler operate correctly? What about taking the shower head/hose/etc. assembly completely off? Does water continue to leak out after you've turned the water off?

Once you verify that the diverter and valve are shutting off correctly, you want to make sure that there are no cracks in the hose or fittings. I generally need to replace these shower heads once every 3-4 years. 1 year would be fast for one to go bad, but you never know with manufacturing of mass-produced plastic products. Last but not least, did you use the teflon tape just on the metal-to-plastic union, or did you also use it on the plastic threads near where you circled? I know it says not to, but I found that there's something to be said for a little extra teflon here and there.

share|improve this answer
    
I failed to mention this is a shower only. A diverter would only be in a tub fixture, right? I don't see any cracks; that's why I thought this is a problem with the backflow preventer. When it was new (and up until a few months ago) water would stream from the area indicated in the photo immediately after turning the faucet off. I figured this was normal. It no longer streams, but seems to drip for a long time afterward. –  Daniel Feb 14 '12 at 17:22
    
If I remember correctly, the plastic fitting (in the circled area) can't be removed from the hose. So, no, I didn't use teflon. Besides, wouldn't that prevent normal operation of the backflow preventer? It seems the water that is prevented from backflowing has to go somewhere. –  Daniel Feb 14 '12 at 17:25
    
The area above the area you circled DOES need teflon tape, and the way that fitting works, if that joint is leaking it will leak out the bottom of the fitting. If you have heavy mineral water, you might have clogged the backflow preventer. If that's the case, try unscrewing it and dipping it in vinegar or CLR for several hours. –  Karl Katzke Feb 14 '12 at 18:08
    
Are you referring to the area within the circle, or above it? I used teflon tape in the area above. –  Daniel Feb 14 '12 at 18:17
    
Yeah, area above. That screw fitting at the end of the hose and the water fitting where you used the teflon is where the backflow preventer is. Something's clogging it, it's broken, or it's malfunctioning, or the fitting that screws onto the threads is cracked. If you remove the entire shower head leaving just the metal part sticking out of your wall and there is no water coming out of it after you turn the water off, then you need to clean the backflow preventer or replace the entire unit. –  Karl Katzke Feb 14 '12 at 18:42
show 1 more comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.