I have a shower with a long vertical pipe leading from the faucets to the gooseneck (suspended from the ceiling), then over to a rainfall showerhead. There’s a constant dripping from the head, even after cleaning the nozzles and soaking in vinegar. I think I’ve figured out that it’s because there’s basically a column of water left in the vertical pipe and it slowly seeps over the gooseneck to the head because there’s no way for it to empty. What’s the trick here?

  • 2
    Good chance a washer/cartridge is starting to leak, rather than just water left in a pipe.
    – crip659
    May 14 at 15:56
  • 2
    Cleaning the nozzles won't help except to increase the amount of water potentially moving through!
    – Huesmann
    May 15 at 12:11

5 Answers 5


If it's constantly dripping, then my guess is that you have a bad cartridge or washer in the shower valve. A gooseneck would possible drip for a few minutes after turning off the water but then it would stop unless there was a supply of new water. Cartridges and bad washers are fairly easy to replace for a DIYer. There are many posts on this site about how to do it.

  • Depending on the model though, changing a cartridge often requires a special dedicated tool, which is not really useful for anything else. It's easy enough to do, but some people might not want to spend money on a tool they will use exactly once. (We recently had this repair done at my place, and even the guy who's a professional plumber had to buy a new tool for it, because it wasn't one of the many he already had.) May 15 at 14:27
  • 3
    @DarrelHoffman Spending money on a tool you'll only use once is worth it if you can do the job yourself. You paid for the plumber and probably paid for the tool he had to buy. I have a shelf full of one-time use tools.
    – JACK
    May 15 at 16:03
  • I don't know, I assume he kept the tool for future use. At any rate, I didn't pay him anything because the landlord covered it, but fair point. May 15 at 17:27

It looks like the community agrees that you have leaky shower valve. Which one (Hot or Cold) is unknown.

Repairing the valves would be the proper way. How ever that could turn into doubting task since not all valves are not build the same, and can take long time to do, needing special tools.

Another quick fix would be to install a shower head shut off valve. There are few options on the market.

shower head

You would unscrew the shower head, instal the valve and screw the shower head back on (no more dripping).

Since the rainfall shower head is about 84 inches of the floor reaching the valve might be challenge for some.


Big rain heads can drip for hours after the water is shut off.

It's possible you have a leaky valve, and if it keeps dripping after about 8 hours, say first thing in the morning, it is probably a leaky valve. In that case get model-specific advice on repairing it.

But if it drips for 2, 3, even 5 hours and then stops ... it's probably "normal" and it's hard to rectify.

A large head can contain a lot of water after the supply has been shut off. Combined with a long arm and the in-wall plumbing, you could get as much as a liter stored up and waiting to drip out. For a bit of fun math, if there are 50 droplets in a mL, and they drop once per second, it will take 5.5 hours for a liter to drip out.

Things you can try:

  • If you have a tub spout, after you turn off the water open the diverter valve half way and all the water will drain out the spout.
  • If you have a hand shower, let it drop to the floor, open the diverter valve half way, and all the water will drain out of it.
  • Well, not all the water. Because of the shape of the rain head, quite a lot will stay in there after the spout or hand shower is already sucking air.
  • If the rain head tilts on the end of the arm you can tilt it so all the water goes to one side, then shake it a little. This will accelerate the dripping but will likely damage the arm pretty soon.
  • You could install a small diverter valve just above the shower head at the end of the arm, but with nothing attached to it. After the shower, open it half way and it will admit air into the shower head to accelerate the dripping. The problem with this is 1) it's too high, and 2) it's ugly.
  • You're probably arriving here with me already but: There really isn't much you can do about this. Put a little towel on the floor so it makes less noise.
  • ... Or maybe that will make more noise ...
  • Sorry
  • 1
    I don't think "put a towel on the floor and just ignore it" is a good suggestion at all, except maybe in the very short-term until you can get it legitimately fixed. The noise is the least of your problems, really. A shower that drips constantly is also inviting mold and mildew, possibly hard-to-clean calcification on the tub if you have hard water, possible rust/corrosion on the metal fixtures, and depending on how bad a drip it is, the water wastage could hit your utility bill as well. This isn't something you want to just leave alone, it needs to be fixed. May 15 at 17:37
  • 1
    @DarrelHoffman if the valve is faulty it should of course be fixed, as I note in the first paragraph. This answer addresses the common case where the dripping of residual water in the large head is normal behavior
    – jay613
    May 15 at 18:06

If it's a large "rain" showerhead like this:

enter image description here

...and if it can be oriented or rotated, then just set it with a bit of a slope.

Water will drain at the lowest point, and air will get in at the highest point.


Install a backflow valve! Such as the 1/2 inch sharkbite check valve they have at most local hardware stores.

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