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.

Questions & Answers

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      • profile image

        Patrick D. Essex 7 days ago

        Thank You for this wonderful suggestion it work perfect you are a smart man

      • profile image

        Ace 8 days ago

        Man I thought I was about to be out a bunch of money but 20 bucks and a few minutes later I was back in business. Thanks for the post

      • profile image

        Mike 8 days ago

        You are a ROCK STAR!

        Your great and easy to follow instructions have allowed me to snatch victory from the jaws of my self-inflicted defeat.

        God Bless and thanks a million!

      • profile image

        Bill Gilliland 5 weeks ago

        Worked for me, first try! Easy-Peasy. Thanks for the tip!

      • profile image

        JohnDwad 8 weeks ago

        Broke shower head arm behind hardy board and dry wall. did the inner wrench, extractor, hacksaw ect. About to start busting tile read about file fix- 5 min done. Thanks for the post.

      • profile image

        Franko 2 months ago

        First couple of tries I did not hammer the file in hard enough, but on the third try I did and then twisted out the broken pipe threads. Thanks for the instructions as I was dreading calling the plumber!

      • profile image

        Andrew 2 months ago

        Go buy an orbit sprinkler nipple extractor. It's 5$ at Lowes and is actually designed to extract broken pvc pipe. No extra tools and is a lot more effective. Just replaced my broken shower. Thank God I didn't buy all that extra stuff and waste 30 minutes when this took me 2 min to complete.

      • profile image

        Don 2 months ago

        This is a great tip, and works.

      • profile image

        Carla 3 months ago

        Oh my gosh . . . this is the best tip ever. It's the first repair method that made sense . . . and IT WORKED. THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!

      • profile image

        Ron 3 months ago

        Could not believe it worked! I tried and tried and the file kept slipping inside the pipe. After about 5-10 minutes, I was about to give up and run out to buy an extraction tool. Then the broken piece broke free. Hallelujah! Thanks for the tip. Saved me the expense of an extraction tool!

      • profile image

        Tina 3 months ago

        I just tried this In less then10 minutes I was successfulIn removing the broken piece.

      • profile image

        Frank Mullen 4 months ago

        After hurricane Irma on St Maarten, we had a broken shower pipe. We tried to get a plumber but no luck (everyone busy ). I tried to fix it myself no luck, went to the hardware shop they wanted to sell me expensive devised to fix my problem. I Googled and found you and I would like to thank you for your help. IT WORKED. Thank you. Frank & Deita.

      • profile image

        Neil 4 months ago

        I too tried the inner pipe extractors, bolt extractors...nothing would grip the broken piece of pipe enough to remove it. Tapped the tapered flat file in, attached vise-grips, put a few drops of penetrating oil on the first thread and bingo...the broken pipe backed out easily. Life Saver.

        THANKS FOR THE TIP

      • profile image

        jennifer c 4 months ago

        It worked!! thanks so much! I had to break the file( cheap) to make it fit exactly in the hole. You are awesome!

      • profile image

        Mark F 5 months ago

        Thank you so much for writing and posting this article. The 10" flat file method that you described worked flawlessly for me. Mine was a similar story as others have previously described. I started to replace a showerhead in my kids bathroom and the shower arm was so corroded it broke off in my hand, seconds into the job. I tried everything - extractors, internal pipe wrenches, the works. Went to the local hw store, bought a 10" file, and had the stuck ring out within a minute of getting home. You are a lifesaver.

      • profile image

        Chris 5 months ago

        Thank you so much for the article.

      • profile image

        Jk 6 months ago

        Cool

      • Pete Carroll profile image

        Pete Carroll 6 months 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 6 months 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 7 months 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 7 months 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 8 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 8 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 8 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 9 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 9 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Peter 9 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 9 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

        9 months ago

        Worked

      • profile image

        Randy Burgener 9 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 10 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Krish 10 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 10 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Tracy 10 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! 10 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 12 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 13 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Dirk van Rensburg 13 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!! 13 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 13 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Michael 14 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 14 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 15 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 15 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 16 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Matt 16 months ago

        It worked!!

      • profile image

        Jon 16 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 16 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 16 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 16 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Matt 17 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 17 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Chuck 17 months ago

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

      • profile image

        M kern 18 months ago

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

      • profile image

        Gary 20 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 20 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 20 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 20 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 20 months ago

        Worked for me Thanks. Saved a plumber service call.

      • profile image

        BJ Black 20 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 21 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 21 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 22 months ago

        worked like a charm! thanks

      • profile image

        Greg Hopper 22 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 23 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 23 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 24 months ago

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

      • profile image

        txbowhunter 24 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 24 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 3 years ago

        Worked perfectly. Big Thank You!

      • profile image

        Tim 3 years ago

        This worked amazingly well. Thank you so much!

      • profile image

        Melody Colon 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 4 years ago

        DONE! 15 minutes and 15.00!

      • profile image

        bruce 4 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 4 years ago

        It worked!

      • profile image

        Alan 4 years ago

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

        thanks again.

        Alan

      • profile image

        Russell 4 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 4 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!

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        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.

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        vkaufman 4 years ago

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

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        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!

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