Introduction: Raise Your Shower Head in 5 Minutes

So here's the thing: whenever I move into a new apartment, the shower heads spit out water at approximately my neck. Sometimes shoulders, sometimes chin, but I always end up having to contort myself just to get my hair wet. For a while, I thought the only way to correct this extreme marginalization of the tall was to install one of those hose-y contraptions with a water wand so I could rinse my head. But after about ten minutes browsing through my hardware store's shower head section, I found salvation in the form of an 11" S pipe.

It raises the shower head an additional six or seven inches, which is just enough to fit my noggin under the spray. I now do this for all the showers in all of the places where I am going to live for more than a few days. It takes less than five minutes and makes a noticeable difference when taking a shower. (Unless you are tiny, in which case you might not notice a difference beyond being unable to change the spray setting without a step ladder.) If you're a little bit tall and a little bit handy, get out your crescent wrench and teflon tape 'cause we're about to change some lives.

(I actually already did this in the shower I use every day. But we have a guest shower that I hadn't taken the trouble to fix previously. But we've got guests coming in a couple of weeks, so I thought it would be nice if they could shampoo their heads. Because Benji Franklin says that fish and guests smell after three days. Not my guests. Not after this project.)

Step 1: Gather Materials

  • "S" pipe
  • new shower head (optional, but why not upgrade?)
  • teflon tape
  • crescent wrench (or something to remove the old pipe nipple)
  • toothbrush (to clean the old fittings)

Step 2: Remove Old Fittings

Unscrew the entire shower head assembly from the wall. You can leave the old shower head on if you are going to replace it. This part may require the wrench, but I was able to do it with my bare hands. (Not due to being particularly strong, mostly because these fittings should be hand-tightened which means hand-removal.) Remember, lefty loosey.

Now that you've taken out the old nipple, there will be some leftover teflon tape and maybe some unidentified crusty bits on the female pipe fitting in the wall of the shower. Use your (old, gross, no longer in use) toothbrush to remove what you can.

Step 3: Install New Fittings

Wrap both threaded ends of your S pipe with teflon tape. Position the pipe so that it comes straight out of the wall and the top part of the S aims at the spot where you will be showering. After placing the little donut disk* along the wall, thread your S into the female pipe in the wall. Don't overtighten. Use your hands so you don't get crazy with the wrench. Your final product should look like an S sticking out of the wall of your shower. If it looks like a 2, you did it wrong.

Now stick on your shower head. Screw it into place over the teflon tape. Aim it where you will be standing during a shower.

*Full disclosure, team, I forgot to put the donut disk on the wall before inserting the pipe. I ended up having to thread it on from the shower head end of the S. Oops. And once it got to the wall, it wouldn't sit nicely. So I glued it in place with some Loctite indoor/outdoor I had on hand from another project. Just thought you should know.

Step 4: Test It Out

I recommend a dry run to test it out. "Dry" run since you will be testing with water, but you yourself will not be in the water. Turn on the shower. Make sure there are no drips or sprays or explosions. If everything seems okay, it probably is. This isn't rocket science. Take a shower if you want. Take two. No need to hang your head to get it wet, you can keep your chin up, high and proud, now that you raised your shower head.