Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

The shower elbow in the shower broke off at the copper pipe in the wall, leaving some of the plastic inside the copper pipe's threading. There seems to be some sort of sealant. How might you go about removing the remaining plastic from the pipe? Is replacing and resealing the shower elbow something a homeowner could do, or is a plumber required? How might you go about doing that?

share|improve this question
Pictures are always helpful. – Tester101 Oct 21 '11 at 19:00
up vote 6 down vote accepted

By shower elbow, you mean this part, right?

enter image description here

If so, then to remove any remaining part left in the copper, get yourself some LONG needle nose pliars

enter image description here

Use those to remove any remaining plastic from the copper.

You can buy a replacement at pretty much any Home Depot or Lowe's - so buy one AND some teflon tape

enter image description here

IMPORTANT DO not buy the yellow package - that is for GAS, not water. Blue and white or red and white packaging only!!!

Wrap 2 or 3 layers of tape around the wall end of the elbow. Wrap it so that the tape follows the threading - so hold the pipe with the threads near you, start near you and wrap CLOCKWISE around the pipe. That way as you screw in the pipe it won't peel off the tape. Not too much tape or you won't get the pipe to fit!

Insert the elbow and turn it COUNTER CLOCKWISE slowly at first, until you feel the threads kind of click into place (avoid cross threading) and then turn it clockwise. Hand tighten only but make sure it's nice and snug and vertical.

Then reinstall your shower head per mfg instructions.

share|improve this answer
+1. I was confused... I've never heard it called a "shower elbow", nor have I encountered one that was plastic. – Tester101 Oct 21 '11 at 20:43
I have seen plastic ones on cheaper shower heads. I didn't know the term either, but google returned that image, so... – The Evil Greebo Oct 21 '11 at 20:48
Unfortunately, the original contractor used superglue or something to seal the plastic in the copper pipe, and my roommate's handyman stripped the plastic trying to get it out. So we have to replace the pipe. – The Dirty Calvinist Oct 22 '11 at 14:26

Your Answer


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.