Shower arm - leak check procedures? +unrelated question

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by cinderbike, Apr 18, 2014.

  1. cinderbike

    cinderbike New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    CA
    Bought a house last month, and I've been making my way through the house fixing/replacing everything.

    The master bath tub spout was leaking pretty good (1-2 drips a second!) so the first thing I did was replace the cartridge (Moen posi-temp). I ended up just buying a whole new trim kit - I am on a mission to de-chrome the house - and was having a LOT of trouble getting the shower arm not to leak. Several hours on this and similar websites, I went to Lowe's and got the heavy duty Teflon tape instead of the <$1 stuff I had been using, wrapped it about 4-5 times, and it seems to have fixed the problem.

    Question is, how long should I check for leaks? I ran the shower for a little over eight minutes and didn't see any leaks or drops forming, am I in the clear?


    PS: not sure if the shower always did this and I never noticed (haven't really had a chance to use the master bath for obvious reasons) but after running the shower, once I shut it off I hear a hollow dripping/clicking sound and it sounds like it's coming from inside the (copper) pipes. Any idea what it might be, and should I be concerned? It only does it for 5-10 minutes after.
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,319
    Location:
    New England
    The pipes expand when they get hot. If there are clamps or holes where the pipe is too tight, as it both expands and contracts, it will 'jump' when it overcomes the friction. It does this while the shower is on, too, but the water splashing probably covers it up.

    The fitting in the wall where the shower arm screws in (often a dog-eared el), can split if you tighten things too tight or use the arm as a handhold. This can prevent it from making a seal. Many of today's big-box store shower arms have lousy threads, and the thing can also bottom out in the fitting before it makes a seal unless you add more thickness to the tape with more wraps. IF it didn't bottom out and got tight, it's probably okay.
  3. cinderbike

    cinderbike New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    CA
    It's definitely snug and has threads left. Didn't see any cracks on the elbow in the wall... So good to know.

    Doesn't sound like pipe expansion, more of a gurgle/echoed drip- but maybe just the acoustics of the wall.
  4. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,827
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Try running the shower into a garbage can. Not the shower. Place the can in the shower and fill it up. You might need a large piece of plastic or shower curtain to do this.

    What this will tell you is if the sound of the drip is in the wall or more likely the sound of water falling from the shower floor into the P-Trap. My kitchen sink does this and It bugs me. But it's not a leak it's just the sound of the final waste water letting go.

    If you watch the action and formation of the spot then you might improve it some with a small file. This can speed up the process so the dripping stops sooner...

    Hope that makes sense.
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