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What Is a Shower Head?

By L.C. Ray
Updated May 16, 2024
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A shower head is the apparatus at the end of a water source that disperses water to provide an even flow under which to wash. Shower heads have small holes on the surface of the shower fixture that face the bather. Most of these are made from a heavy-duty molded plastic called ABS and can be aluminum, chrome or gold plated to match the interior décor of the bathroom.

Shower heads are typically mounted high on the wall inside the shower stall. Most bathtubs include a showering device that can easily be converted by switching the water stream to come from the shower head. Stalls with more than one head mounted in the front and back of the enclosure are sometimes seen in larger, more elegant bathing areas.

Most mounted shower heads are adjustable and can be turned to give the bather maximum water coverage. A simple turn of the apparatus at the base of the fixture moves the direction of the flow. A hose can also be attached to a shower head to make it movable for those who prefer to have more control for rinsing the body. Bathers who sit in shower chairs can use a hand-held, detachable apparatus to reach body parts that can’t be turned in the stall.

There are a wide variety of shower heads on the market which deliver the water stream in different patterns and velocity levels. Energy-efficient devices control the water flow to conserve water. High-pressure shower-heads push high levels of water through smaller holes to send a stronger stream and provide a more vigorous shower. Other types of shower heads include adjustable heads that can be switched from single-stream high flow to pulsating and massage-like streams. The control switch on an adjustable device is usually located on the side of the head. Sophisticated shower heads with heat and time sensors inside provide other benefits for water conservation, energy savings and comfort. A shower head with a built-in heat sensor is used to warm up the water before entering the stall.

These fixtures are easy to install since most manufacturers comply with a standard fitting that is interchangeable. A wrench or pliers is needed to loosen the connection and the device can be removed by simply twisting it off. The opening from which the device and its mounting plate are located should be sealed to prevent water from running behind the wall.

Shower heads should be removed occasionally for cleaning to remove mineral deposits. They can be submerged in a shower fixture cleaner or rinsed with vinegar, depending on the metal.

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