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What are the Different Shower Head Parts?

Donn Saylor
Donn Saylor

There are three main shower head parts: the head itself, the arm, and the escutcheon, or flange. Regardless of style or shower head type, the vast majority of units possess these three fundamental shower head parts. Each part has a specific function in ensuring the shower head unit stays affixed to the wall and that water is able to flow through and dispense appropriately.

The shower head itself is the most obvious and visible of the shower head parts. Whether chrome, gold, brass, or plastic, the shower head is charged with the responsibility of pressurizing and emitting a solid flow of water. Small holes in the shower head evenly distribute the flow, and many models allow bathers to adjust the flow as necessary, modifying the speed and intensity of the stream. Shower heads come in fixed, stationary types that remain affixed to the shower wall or in handheld varieties, a shower type that permits the user even more control over the water flow. Handheld shower heads are equipped with an additional part: a length of hose or tubing that lets the shower head be moved around freely and aimed at specific areas.

A shower head.
A shower head.

The shower head is connected by the arm to the water pipes within the wall. The arm is a small length of metal tube that originates in the water pipes and extends through the wall into the shower head, serving as the channel through which water passes. These shower head parts can be purchased in a variety of different styles and flourishes and can offer a dramatic flair to even the most mundane shower. Adjustable arms are also widely available and can provide a quick shower upgrade.

Shower head parts called escutcheons or flanges are situated over the area of the arm as it fits into the wall. The escutcheon is largely decorative and serves to hide the opening made by the shower arm. It also further secures the arm in place.

Shower heads are connected by their arm to water pipes located within the wall.
Shower heads are connected by their arm to water pipes located within the wall.

While essentially all units include the basic components mentioned above, different types of shower heads may require additional parts. A diverter valve, for instance, allows for the installation of both a fixed and handheld shower head on the same pipe, offering an additional bathroom feature that is highly functional. A glide rail is another popular shower head part designed for handheld models. The vertical rail lets bathers adjust the height of the shower head as necessary through a combination of gliding action and swiveling motion.

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Discussion Comments


@spotiche5- Shower heads are usually pretty easy to replace, provided they aren't corroded. You also have to make sure that you have tools handy to do the job, like wrenches and plumber's tape.


@spotiche5- I don't think that it is too difficult to replace your shower head, but you should first make sure that it really needs to be replaced. The holes that allow the water to come out may be clogged due to hard water deposits, which would prevent water from flowing through them.

All you have to do to see if this is the problem is to thoroughly spray your shower head with a cleaner that dissolves hard water deposits. Allow the cleaner to sit for about 30 minutes, then scrub your shower head with a cleaning brush with bristles. An old toothbrush will also work for this job.

After you clean your shower head, turn the water on and see if you get open streams of water. You can repeat the process several times if not, because sometimes difficult deposits take a little extra effort to remove. If this cleaning process works, you will have saved yourself some time and effort from not having to replace the entire unit.


I need to replace my shower head because the water streams are not coming out as well as they use to. I'm curious if this is an easy task to do yourself, or if it is a good idea to hire a plumber to replace it.

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    • A shower head.
      By: Filipebvarela
      A shower head.
    • Shower heads are connected by their arm to water pipes located within the wall.
      By: Ariwasabi
      Shower heads are connected by their arm to water pipes located within the wall.