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How to Fix a Shower Arm or Head Pipe That's Broken Off at or in the Wall

Updated on April 13, 2016
The infamous shower head.
The infamous shower head.

My shower head pipe broke off inside the wall and I wanted to fix it.

It turns out that the solution is extremely easy, and I'm going to tell you exactly how to do it.

Materials and Tools Needed:

  • No. 10 flat file (tapered) . . . typically means "ten inch"
  • Flashlight
  • Hammer
  • Pliers
  • Replacement shower head pipe / arm
  • Teflon tape
  • Eye protection

Difficulty Level: Easy
Time Required: 30 Minutes

After years, and years, and sometimes even decades, all that water passing through your shower head arm slowly wears it down, erodes it, and will eventually cause it to become rather brittle.

It is therefore inevitable that one day you will go to adjust its angle and snap! That head is going break off, most likely inside the wall, and water is going to start spewing itself all inside your wall.

You'll panic, get flustered, start fussing around with it, and then think . . . I can't believe I have to call a plumber.

But before you tuck your tail between your legs and call the ass-cracked mechanic of the water-world, you decide to see if you can do it yourself.


This is what a flat file looks like. Go to a hardware store and buy one. Make sure it is a number ten (No. 10), and make sure it is tapered!
This is what a flat file looks like. Go to a hardware store and buy one. Make sure it is a number ten (No. 10), and make sure it is tapered!
Teflon Tape is used to create a water-tight seal between threaded fitting in plumbing related matters.
Teflon Tape is used to create a water-tight seal between threaded fitting in plumbing related matters.

Where to Start

Let me preface the rest of this article by saying I am not a plumber and I hate plumbing-related issues. In all senses of the term, I'm your average homeowner that likes to try to DIY first, then call help if that fails, then hire a professional.

The weakest part of the shower head pipe happens to be the threads (threaded nipple) that screw into the copper fitting inside of your wall. So when it snaps off, or breaks, it will almost always leave the threads inside your copper fitting. This is the problem we need to solve.

Luckily for all of us the chance that you broke the copper fitting is fairly slim.

There will be a small hole in the wall, tile, plastic frame, or whatever, right behind the metal ring on your shower head pipe (which is designed to hide the hole). If you can pull the whole pipe free, do so now.

Get a flashlight and peer in there. (Oh yeah, if you haven't turned the water off to your shower, you really should, lol.) You'll see the copper fitting, and you may or may not be able to determine much else.

It will likely be corroded, pretty nasty looking, and the edges between the fitting's threads and the threads of the broken piece will likely be coated and sealed with white Teflon tape.

Here is where the solution gets very easy.

Fixing It Step-By-Step

Follow these simple instructions and you'll be good to go:

  1. Make sure you have all the supplies listed above. They can be found at any hardware store. Make sure the flat file is a No. 10. (This number typically means the file is ten inches long). The Teflon tape will be in the plumbing section. Both items are very inexpensive.
  1. Make sure the old shower head pipe and arm is removed and that you can see into the hole in the wall.
  2. Put the flat file straight into the hole. Put on your protective eye wear (better safe than sorry). Then, with the hammer, tap it into the fitting. Don't be afraid to hit it pretty hard. The idea here is for the tiny metal grooves on the edge of the flat-file to "bite" into the broken section of threaded nipple. When done hammering, you can remove the eye wear.
  3. Take the pliers, about a hand's width away from the wall, grab onto the flat file and turn slowly, applying even pressure. You will feel it start to turn. Once you've turned it a little bit, grab the flashlight and watch carefully while you rotate it with one hand.
  4. You should be able to see the broken piece rotating (this means it's working). If the file is just grinding along inside the fitting, tap it in harder with the hammer and try again. NOTE: If you want to protect the file, wrap the area you're going to grab with the pliers with a small towel or shop rag.
  5. Rotate the flat file with pliers until the old piece comes free.
  6. Wrap the Teflon tape around the replacement shower head pipe / arm's threaded nipple you intend to put into the copper pipe fitting. It should probably get about 4 to 5 turns of the tape to cover the whole nipple about two strips deep.
  7. Carefully line up the replacement pipe with copper fitting. Screw it in. Turn until fully hand-tightened.
  8. Put the metal ring back on. Re-attach the shower head to the other end of the pipe.
  9. Now you must check for leaks.
  10. Make sure you do not skip this step. With your face up against your shower wall, with a flashlight, turn the shower on and make sure your repair job is not leaking. Be patient. Stay there for a few minutes. NOTICE: You'll need to temporarily slide the metal ring forward so you can see your connection into the copper fitting. That is what you're checking for leaks.
  11. If it is leaking remove the fitting, remove the teflon, and start again at Step 6. If it fails again, and you are still getting a leak (even a small leak) then you may have damaged the threads in your copper fitting . . . .call a plumber.
  12. If it is not leaking, let it run for about ten minutes and come back and make sure it is still not leaking.
  13. Done!

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What About Bolt Extractors, or Inner Pipe-Wrenches, or Any of That Other Stuff

In short? They suck and many times do not work. How do I know? I bought them, and tried them, and they did not work at all! Not even slightly. It was at this point I started to get discouraged ...

Me and my buddy tried all sorts of ideas. We had these failed tools, cold chisels, screwdrivers, hack saw blades . . . we tried everything.

Finally, I sent my buddy home to go enjoy his life and I called a friend (who happens to be a seasoned master plumber). He gave me the instructions I've shared with you in this article and saved me tons of money and a big headache!

I thought to myself, "This tip is super valuable, and I'm sure people run into this all the time . . . I should spread the word."

And here we are! I hope this article helped you solve your problem.

Comments

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    • profile image

      Jk 7 days ago

      Cool

    • Pete Carroll profile image

      Pete Carroll 2 weeks ago from Albany

      I tried an HDX Pipe Nipple Extractor from Home Depot, no luck; then a Brass Craft 1/2" Internal Pipe Wrench, even less luck. I found your site through Google, searched for a flat file and found one in the bottom of an old tool box. I stuck the beveled end in and found it wasn't wide enough, wouldn't grip the broken nipple. Used my adjustable wrench to snap a couple inches off the file, still not wide enough, snapped a couple more inches off and it worked perfectly. Awesome tip, saved $100s not having to call a plumber!

    • profile image

      FR 2 weeks ago

      Since I had no access panel, and the broken shower pipe came through the shower enclosure, plumbers wanted to tear open the wall on the opposite side to replace the fitting. They didn't even have an extraction tool of any kind. I spent $10 and saved $300+ and a huge headache. Thanks! Assuming the plumbers were being honest, one would think they would know this trick already, as broken shower pipes are pretty common. Oh well - their loss.

    • profile image

      DWWebb 4 weeks ago

      Nice fix - great idea, but I found a 10" file to be too wide. I have an older home, and the plumbers originally used pipe dope that had hardened over the years. If you have a vice, consider putting your protective eyewear on and clamping an 8" flat file into the vice with about 1 1/2 inches exposed above the jaws (that's about the length that it takes to clear the back side of the angle fitting and allow the modified file to take a bite into the broken shower tubing). Take a large hammer and hit the end of the file - it's brittle and should break off easily (about $7 well-spent, even if you wind up throwing the file away). Follow instructions posted by original author, but more narrow file width means there's still enough there to bite into broken pipe with less likelihood of damaging the drop eared female angle fitting that the shower pipe screws into. In my case, I bought a 1/2" x 6" galvanized pipe nipple and used it with a pipe wrench to get enough of the damaged fitting threads repaired to accept the shower tube without leaking. Hope this helps you fix your problem - good luck in your efforts!

    • profile image

      Another Happy Reader 4 weeks ago

      I stumbled onto this page from an Internet search of what to do about my broken shower head pipe. Mine broke in a bizarre way: The threaded end to the shower arm literally came unwound, and the arm and shower head were hanging by a metal "thread" -- which was actually literally the pipe thread! After cutting off what was hanging, I used your trick with the file to unscrew what was left of the shower arm in the elbow fitting! Voila! Worked like a charm.

      Thanks!

    • profile image

      NotAPlumber 2 months ago

      This worked.

      I tried the nipple extractor tools. Nope.

      Got a file as recommended here, broken part was out in seconds.

      Thank you.

    • profile image

      Bob 2 months ago

      It worked!

      The shower head/arm screwed into a brass elbow. Not much depth. Couldn't pound the file in as much as I would have liked, but I got the broken piece out.

      Thank you very much.

    • profile image

      Mike 2 months ago

      Worked like a dream! Harbor Freight 8" file.... Hammer a couple of taps. Twist of the crescent wrench... Alls good in the world....

      Thanks a million!

    • profile image

      Adam 3 months ago

      I must reiterate "don't be afraid to hit it hard". Don't hold back, also don't miss! Excellent tip and I felt awesome about handling this without hiring a professional. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Janet 3 months ago

      This worked perfectly and saved me bundles of money! Thanks for the information.

    • profile image

      Peter 3 months ago

      I was ready to call the drywaller and the plumber (and the bank). Thanks!!!!

    • profile image

      Just tried this trick and it worked great! Thanks 3 months ago

      Just tried this trick and it worked great.i did sprayed some pb blaster into hold last night an then tried this and it came right out this morning .thanks for the tip

    • profile image

      3 months ago

      Worked

    • profile image

      Randy Burgener 3 months ago

      I had this 'classic' problem and 'Googled'..."How to remove broken shower head pipe." This page came up at the top! Looking into the brass fitting; I could see that the broken piece was very 'nasty'! I had my doubts it would ever come up. I bought a no. 10 mill file, and followed your 'instructions'. The broken end came out on the first try! Our house was built in 1995 and we have been here for 12 years; so I'm certain the shower arm was 22 years old. THANK YOU for your post! Best, Randy Burgener

    • profile image

      Bill 3 months ago

      I followed your instructions and it worked. Thank you very much!

    • profile image

      Krish 4 months ago

      This is brilliant! Thanks for the excellent solution. I was able to remove the broken shower head pipe in less than 5 mins following your method. I bought a set of Husky files for $10 from Home Depot and the number 10 that came with package was too wide. I used the Husky Number 8 tapering file instead of 10.

    • profile image

      Randy 4 months ago

      Yep, I started to panic and then found this article. Worked like a charm. Thank you, much appreciated

    • profile image

      Tracy 4 months ago

      Thank you so much it worked like a charm saved me so much time. I couldn't believe it worked so well. Saved me alot of stress.

    • profile image

      AWESOME! 4 months ago

      This worked so damn well! I am so thankful man, here I was mentally preparing to completely re-do the entire plumbing on the upper half of the shower and then I found your article! Thank you, thank you, thank you! :)

    • profile image

      Tony 6 months ago

      Thanks for the tip, worked like a charm. Was really corroded so had to hit it with a little heat and some really hard hits with the BFH.

    • profile image

      Craig 7 months ago

      Thank you VERY MUCH!!! It worked and saved me a lot of money.

    • profile image

      Dirk van Rensburg 7 months ago

      Thanks very much for this tip. It saved me a lot of money. In no time the job was done.

    • profile image

      Best post ever!! 7 months ago

      My hubby did the exact thing; adjust and SNAP!! I got the file and other supplies this morning and here I sit with a fixed shower (new pretty shower head too!!) and it's not even noon!! Thank you so much for the tutorial!

    • profile image

      Natalie 7 months ago

      Thank you so much!! This worked perfectly! So glad I didn't need to call a plumber

    • profile image

      Michael 7 months ago

      It worked exactly as advertised ... first time for this klutz and it worked ... thank you very much.

    • profile image

      Double D in Yorba Linda CA 8 months ago

      OMG Deja Vu, my experience is exactly like Jon's. My kid broke it off, went to Depot and bought their stupid extractors. No, returned them and got a#10 file - Voila, it came right out. Damn I love the Internet. And many thanks to Time Spiral! I'd buy him a case of beer if I knew who he is.

    • profile image

      Bodega Bay Grinder 9 months ago

      Awesome, great advice. Worked like a charm, I was ready to cut the copper piece off and have a go at that, thank the plumbing gods I read this. Thank you, thank you!!!!!

    • profile image

      Dave 9 months ago

      It Worked! I did have to break a piece off the end of the file so it would not hit the back of the elbow. Thanks!!

    • profile image

      Ed 9 months ago

      Water followed studs in kitchen ceiling calling a plumber,how much will they charge

    • profile image

      Matt 10 months ago

      It worked!!

    • profile image

      Jon 10 months ago

      Sweet!!! After also having no success with the internal pipe wrenches, extractors, chisels (same list of failed tools as the author's), the tapered file worked.

      Helpful tip: My file was too narrow at the tip to make solid contact with the inside of the broken pipe (the tip was hitting the back of the 90-deg fitting that the shower neck threads into). I scored the file with a reciprocating saw with the file held in a vice. With the score line right at the edge of the vice, I broke the tip of the file off with a hammer, making the new tip of the file a better size for wedging into the broken pipe.

      If this author was here I'd buy him a round with the money saved (or at least with the refund from Home Depot for the tools that didn't work!)

    • profile image

      mary 10 months ago

      THANKS so much! This worked great! Appreciate the post!We are not DIYers but were able to fix this with your suggestions!

    • profile image

      cmdviola 10 months ago

      I'd like photos or diagrams.. I think I am ready to try it, but the bathroom shower is in another town and i'd like to see some pictures of this fix so i can look in my memory and "see" if this seems like the correct solution.

    • profile image

      Bill 10 months ago

      SCORE! Worked like a champ. Thanks for the tip. My wife was picking out new tile already, whew.

    • profile image

      Matt 11 months ago

      Add me to the W column for "Worked for me!" Thank you so much!

      Let's be honest, it's this kind of stuff that the internet was made for.

    • profile image

      Eric 11 months ago

      Had to scrummage for the perfectly sized file and when I did find it, it worked like a charm.

    • profile image

      Chuck 11 months ago

      Didn't work and got worse, broke the file and a broken file piece is in shower arm.

    • profile image

      M kern 12 months ago

      Thank you saved me a ton of time locking for an extractor.

    • profile image

      Gary 13 months ago

      Elderly neighbor's grandson ran into this problem while helping his Grandpa by installing s new shower head.

      Used the Internet and found this fantastic solution. Ground down a file to get a good fit. A few minutes later I presented him with the copper thread ring as a 'reward' for stepping up to help his 90 year old grandpa.

    • profile image

      Brian 14 months ago

      Awesome article. You just saved me a ton of time. I was ready to cut the wall open to replace the elbow. Thank you!!!

    • profile image

      John R 14 months ago

      Thank you for this article. It worked just as you and your reviewers said. Definitely worth the effort and small expense before calling a plumber or other contractor. Thanks again.

    • profile image

      Cletus 14 months ago

      After purchasing two tools that didn't work...the old trusty file at the bottom of my toolbox worked! THANK YOU!!!

    • profile image

      David 14 months ago

      Worked for me Thanks. Saved a plumber service call.

    • profile image

      BJ Black 14 months ago

      Ended up doing something similar with a kitchen sink water spray that broke at the handle (leaving plastic threading in the hose). I scored the plastic with a box cutter (carefully!) and shoved a 1/2" wood-boring drill bit in there. The flutes wedged in there nicely and turned easily.

    • profile image

      jeffepops 15 months ago

      This procedure appealed to me, but after having no success with the cam-based ez pull, I visited my local pro plumbing supply. They sold me a "stubby" reverse screw-type extractor for $14. It did the trick. Since I didn't have a #10 file with teeth on the sides, I didn;t get a change to test your method.

      But the stubby extractor seems to be a good alternative, as well.

    • profile image

      Janet 15 months ago

      Thank you SO much for writing this article. We were ready to call our very expensive plumber, but with less than $10 worth of parts plus five minutes, we were done. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!

    • profile image

      pj 16 months ago

      worked like a charm! thanks

    • profile image

      Greg Hopper 16 months ago

      Perfect - fantastic tip! Less than five minutes to work up the nerve to tap it in hard enough. Unscrewed right out. The elbow was about two inches behind the surface of the tile, and the file was the ideal tool for this job.

    • profile image

      Jerry 17 months ago

      Worked great! Used an 8 inch file. Thought I was going to have to call a plumber. Thanks for sharing such an easy solution!

    • profile image

      Greg 17 months ago

      Tried everything else too, hack saw, 2-kinds of pipe extractors, among other things, even though I had it buggered up pretty good the File Worked just fine.

    • profile image

      Tm 17 months ago

      Thank you for the article. Awesome!!!!!

    • profile image

      txbowhunter 18 months ago

      The 10" file may work perfectly fine on a metal shower arm, BUT not on the plastic arm. I used an 8" tapered file on it and it worked PERFECTLY!!! I've been in the property maintenance field for over 25yrs and NEVER had this problem before now. Yes I have ALL the normal tools to remove broken pipes/nipples and such, NOTHING worked and I had NO intention of tearing up the wall. I searched for a easier solution and found MANY ways to fix it and they basically all said to use the file... THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS EASY TIP!!!

    • profile image

      andy 18 months ago

      thank you....I work in a building with over 100 units and encountered this problem for the 1st time. I read your suggestion and it worked perfectly! Saved me lots of time and effort! Thank you!

    • profile image

      novice 18 months ago

      Thank you so much for sharing expert's knowledge!!! I was getting ready to remove tiles, but I am so glad I ran into your instructions. Thank you!!

    • profile image

      stevo 19 months ago

      This is genius. I spent over an hour trying to use a pipe nipple extractor and this worked in 15 seconds. Awesome!

    • profile image

      Fred 21 months ago

      Your guide saved me a lot of hassle! I was prepared to start ripping drywall apart. I'm glad I searched Google a little harder for a solution and stumbled across your write up. THANK YOU!!!

    • Time Spiral profile image
      Author

      Time Spiral 2 years ago from Florida

      Glad to hear you had success with your method!

    • profile image

      Brett 2 years ago

      Was going to try this method, but picked up an Irwin EX-7 extractor at the local hardware store (under $15). Used my dremel to cut-off about 1.5" off the tip of the extractor. One needs to cut off the tip of the extractor otherwise the tip of the bit will hit the pipe behind the nipple and not be able to grab the threads. Was able to remove the broken thread in about 30 seconds.

    • profile image

      ed 2 years ago

      Worked great!!? Took 5 minutes. Thank you!!

    • Time Spiral profile image
      Author

      Time Spiral 2 years ago from Florida

      Thanks to everyone who tried this and then took the time to let me and the readers know that it worked!

    • profile image

      James 2 years ago

      Worked like a charm - thank you!

    • profile image

      Rich Schager 2 years ago

      Worked perfectly. Big Thank You!

    • profile image

      Tim 2 years ago

      This worked amazingly well. Thank you so much!

    • profile image

      Melody Colon 2 years ago

      You are awesome! I showed this to my roommate and she thought seems too easy....we tried and it worked perfectly. Fyi my roommate is 65 and took her less than 5 mintues.

      Thanks very much

    • profile image

      Brian 2 years ago

      I normally don't comment, but this DIY saved me so much time—not to mention helping me not make this a bigger project than it needed to be—I had to express my thanks. Thank you.

    • profile image

      Sheryl Huckabay 2 years ago

      After a week with no upstairs shower, Christmas next week and no plumber in sight, in desperation I searched for a solution. Found this GREAT tip and fixed it myself while hubby was at work. He will be so happy! Pretty empowering for a female to be able to tackle plumbing issues....now to celebrate with a glass of my favorite wine! THANK YOU!

    • profile image

      Debbie in FL 2 years ago

      As soon as I get my hands on my neighbor's file, I'm going to try this. I was able to get the two prior arms out without a hitch by first checking in the hole to see if it was a ragged tear. If so, you're probably in luck with just a pair of needle nose pliers. I grabbed the piece that was sticking up and then twirled the needle nose pliers until it pulled all of it out of the threads. Then you just have to get the metal off your pliers. Teflon tape, watch for leaks and you're set to go.

    • profile image

      PVS 2 years ago

      After fussing with this repair for a couple of hours, did the google search and found this site and tips. Went to Lowes for the #10 file (for $10). Did the techinique as described, and completed the repair. Worked perfectly. Thank you "Time Spiraling".

      I suspect the reason the file works so well is that it is focusing the pressure in just two small areas (the sides of the file) vs distributing the pressure across the entire pipe?

    • profile image

      Will 3 years ago

      Great tip worked like magic!

    • profile image

      Ed 3 years ago

      The information about using a file to remove the broken piece of shower pipe was great. What I thought was going to a long horrible process, took about 5 minutes using the fie and wrench. awesome information!

    • profile image

      Nikki 3 years ago

      DONE! 15 minutes and 15.00!

    • profile image

      bruce 3 years ago

      Worked like e charm. I had to grind a new taper on my ten inch bastard file, but it was amazingly effective. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Art 3 years ago

      It worked!

    • profile image

      Alan 3 years ago

      Thank you, saved me money and time, already had the file.

      thanks again.

      Alan

    • profile image

      Russell 3 years ago

      You are the man. Just as you said I thought last night I was going to have to rip out sheetrock. I tried your fix. Worked like a charm. Thanks a lot!

    • profile image

      Robin 3 years ago

      Thanks! The hubby is out of town so I tried this myself. I am an average DIYer and this was very easy. $15 and about 30 minutes later, the shower is working again! And to think I was considering a call to the plumber!

    • profile image

      Allan 4 years ago

      I had to return to a local hardware store to buy a replacement flex hose which goes between the tap and the toilet tank and I shared this idea with the owner. He said that he had seen this many times before and he showed me a cold chisel. The idea is identical as the chisel is a very tight fit. He hammers it in and then uses a box end wrench to rotate it. He said the advantage is when you hammer a file in, the tip can bend while the chisel won't. Not sure of the chisel number but the blade is between 1/2 inch and 5/8 inch wide.

    • profile image

      Allan 4 years ago

      The plan worked like a charm. The broken piece in the elbow came out. I had to file a groove wide enough for one side of the flat file to get a grip and then hammer lightly to wedge the 10 inch file in place. Without the groove, the file was not able to get enough of a grip and it just made the hole bigger. Once it has a solid bite, out it came. Also, I did use WD40 but on the inside and let it sit over night. I don't know if it helped but it didn't hurt. Another tip is to use an adjustable wrench to rotate the file. Its easy to turn and does not damage the file. As so many others have said, THIS WORKS AND IS A LOW COST SOLUTION.

    • profile image

      Allan 4 years ago

      I live in South East Asia and my toilet shutoff tap started leaking. The leak became a small stream so I bought a replacement tap. When I tried to remove the flexible hose that goes to the toilet tank, the entire tap disintegrated leaving a short piece at the wall. The tap looks like its made of cast zinc. I have been a DIY'er for years and this idea is well outside the box. I would have looked for a tool that fits inside like a stud remover but half inch and probably not found it. We have an Ace Hardware close by so I will try this and feed back.

    • profile image

      Justamomist 4 years ago

      Thanks. I suspect we have a bit of "Chicken Little Syndrome" going on. I'm going to attempt this fix in small steps. First step will be verifying there is no leak.

    • Time Spiral profile image
      Author

      Time Spiral 4 years ago from Florida

      Amy,

      You need to check for leaks. Follow steps 9-12.

      If I understand you correctly, the metal ring that covers up the hole is loose, and that's all? Sometimes the metal rings screw on, sometimes the just sit there, and sometimes they're bonded with silicon or something like that.

      If you can verify that there are no leaks at the arm and the fitting inside the wall, and the shower-head works, then you're probably fine to use the shower. If the metal ring won't stay in place, and this annoys you, you can (a) replace the whole shower head assembly, and this is easily done without knocking down the wall, or (b) fix it to the wall with some simple silicon gel.

      However; if the man of the house (as you called him) is suggesting that the wall needs to come down, you may want to verify what he suspects the issue is. Maybe it's not the connection that he thinks is leaking, but something else, deeper in the wall, or maybe down by the valve. Who knows. If there is any doubt, or disagreement, then you may just want to call a professional and have him clear things up for you. Risking serious water damage is not worth it.

      Hope this helps!

    • profile image

      AmyW 4 years ago

      We have been living without a shower for about 5 years because I am told my the man of the house that we must rip out the entire wall in the adjacent bedroom to fix the shower. Here's the thing, the shower head is not broken. The pipe is not broken. The attachement that makes the arm of the shower head seal to the wall has detached. I just spins loosely around the arm of the shower head and I don't see what if anything it attaches to. I would love to fix this myself. I don't see that part of the fix above.

    • profile image

      vkaufman 4 years ago

      amazing. simply amazing. I can cancel the $95. service charge for the guy I had coming out on Monday. Thanks.

    • profile image

      Larry 4 years ago

      Time Spiral,

      Thanks a ton for this information. It worked like a charm and you saved me serious plumber bills. I appreciate it!

    • Time Spiral profile image
      Author

      Time Spiral 4 years ago from Florida

      Excellent comment, Kent. Thank you for the input. I will update the article to reflect your suggestions (which I agree with).

    • profile image

      kent 4 years ago

      this is a good simple solution.the only two things i would like to mention is that the fitting in the wall is made of brass not copper that is why you are able to get fairly rough when hammering the file into it.the second thing and most important is to wear protective eyewear when hammering the file because the file is very brittle(a piece of the file could break off when hitting it).remember hand files were not made to hammer on.

    • profile image

      dave 4 years ago

      great solution!! worked perfectly, thanks for your help!

    • profile image

      Chuck Ferguson 4 years ago

      Thank you so much for sharing this info! I went from worried about tearing up my shower wall in a major project, to completely fixed in about 30 minutes!

    • profile image

      Joe Biron 4 years ago

      unbelievably simple and elegant solution. The guy at the (big box store) had a convoluted recommendation involving hacksaws and blowtorches. Your solution took 1 minute. Awesome. thank you!

    • profile image

      cckrobinson 4 years ago

      Worked perfectly! I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to replace the elbow which would have envolved cutting a larger hole in the wall. I love the internet.

    • Time Spiral profile image
      Author

      Time Spiral 4 years ago from Florida

      Bestwife, that's awesome! Thanks for the reassuring tip for your fellow readers, and those who may be skeptical.

    • profile image

      bestwife 4 years ago

      Worked so awesome! This makes me the best wife in the world. I have a picture to share. If you are in any doubt while at the store about the 10 inch tapered file and decide to buy a back up tool, save yourself the time and money. The file works, I have proof.

    • profile image

      Rick 4 years ago

      Thanks!! Worked just as described. You saved me a plumbing bill and gave me handyman cred.

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      Steve 4 years ago

      Amazing!! Thanks again for such a simple solution to what, at first, seemed like a complex problem. I am indebted to your DIY skills and for not having to get the landlord involved...

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      John 4 years ago

      Unbelievable!!!! Worked in 10 secs!!!! Way to go! Thanks for the tip...you the "man"!

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      Paul 4 years ago

      Did what you said and in 5 min had the broken piece unscrewed. Thanks a bunch!!!!

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      Teawjawntag 4 years ago

      We used to find at the top of life although these days I've truly built up any level of resistance.

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      Amanda 4 years ago

      Thank you SO much for this. I wanted to surprise my husband and install the raincan shower head we'd bought but not installed (it's been sitting around for 4 months) - thought it would be a quick job, and as soon as I started to loosen the old shower head, the threads sheared off and left 90% of them inside the elbow. I was cursing myself for trying to undertake the installation, and now we'll need a plumber. Found your tip, bought a #10 file, and it came out on the first try. You're the man.

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      Jennifer 4 years ago

      You are the best. The broken pipe stared at me for a month while I tried to figure out how I was going to pay for a plumber. I found you're article and I had it fixed in 2 days!!!! Thank you for sharing this information.

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      Steve D 4 years ago

      YES this works great! Took a few tries, - different angles with the file, and it took some elbo greese after I pounded the file in, it turned! And all is good now. Excellent tip. Thanks much.