I am tall. Not extraordinarily tall, but definitely above-average. 5 ft 10 to be exact. My husband is 6 ft 1. Again, tall, but not crazy tall.
This is the story of two tall people and a shower. (And a shower head swivel ball adapter / shower head extender, but that will come later).
We have had a good relationship with our shower since we moved here.
Then, the shower head failed us. Mid-shower, it started spraying water in every imaginable direction. North, South, East, West, Up, and Down. The plastic connector that attached the shower head to the pipe had cracked.
My hot shower on that day was cut short. I didn’t get to wash my hair but… at least it didn’t happen when my hair was suds-ed full of shampoo!
The quick fix:
Have you ever heard that the stories about Duct Tape? If you live in or near Canada, or who otherwise get CBC television, you may have heard it called “The Handyman’s Secret Weapon” –Red Green Show (R). Red Green is known as the “Ambassador of Scotch Duct Tape.” This home-improvement / fishing / comedy show dedicated a portion of each episode to the many uses of Duct Tape.
I grew up in a household where duct tape could fix, at least temporarily, most anything. My dad kept rolls of duct tape everywhere. Between duct tape and coat-hangers, he could fix (AKA Jerry-rig) most anything. Reattach a license plate – done! Repair the barn door- no problem!
Anyways, my husband (who does NOT use coat hangers to fix things) pulled out a roll of trusty duct tape and stuck that shower head back on the pipe.
Then he took a shower.
The In-between fix:
Duct tape and coat hangers were a part of my upbringing. I still believe in them – but as temporary fixes only.
Luckily, we already had a trip to town planned for the next day. My husband picked up a $15 shower head and Voila! That shower was good to go again.
The new shower head had a lower attachment point than the old one. It also pointed straight down instead of angling out. The end-result was a rain-fall style shower head designed for short people.
I asked if he’d mind if I went shopping for something different. A glazed look went over his eyes, which meant “Yes, I could but no, don’t ask for any suggestions.”
The Final Fix:
I will be the first to admit that my hubby is handier than me. I can be handy. In fact, being handy is one reason why my hubby fell for me. I could solve (simple) problems on my own.
I embraced the short-shower project and went shopping. Shower head extenders, meet your match!
This is what I found:
The Opella Shower Head Swivel Ball Adapter is available in three finishes: Chrome, Brushed Nickel, and Oil Rubbed Bronze. Unfortunately, my shower has a brass theme going so I had to settle with bronze. I could not find a brass adapter from Opella or any other manufacturer.
The adapter not only raises the height of my shower head by more than an inch, but also allows me to point the shower head towards the back of my shower instead of straight down. I know rainfall showers are the in thing these days, but I prefer a hard spray on my back.
Here is a picture of my shower head extender. I can now stand under my shower head!
Comparing Opella to other brands:
There are a few other brands of shower head swivel ball adapters out there on the market. Yes, the other brands are less expensive. According to reviews, they are also of lower quality.
Opella’s reviews are consistent:
- “Extremely well-made solid fitting no leaking”
- “Full quality product – fit and finish is top notch”
- “Quality product, perfect for shower heads that need more angle adjustments”
The number one negative Opella review I came across was this:
- “It could not support the weight of the shower head”
If you have a heavy-weight shower head, this fix may not work for you.
For comparison, here are some reviews from other brands of shower head swivel ball adapters:
- I had to “wrap (the threads) with Teflon tape and…wrench tighten shower head to their swivel”
- “no quality control… the threads have flat spots of four sides like it was machined out of a piece of square stock that wasn’t big enough.”
- “male threads too short… it is not possible to get the shower head tight enough to prevent it from leaking.”
I don’t mind saving a buck by purchasing a less expensive brand. I do believe in spending more money on a higher quality product, something that WORKS! Sometimes, saving the money isn’t worth the savings.
Note: the less expensive brands may be just fine. I bought the Opella based on others’ customer reviews. I recommend the Opella based on my experience.
How to Install:
The swivel connector will only work as a shower head extender if you also have a hand-held shower head unit. Otherwise, it will make the height of the spray shorter.
To make the spray height taller, the adapter needs to be inserted in between the shower head and the hose. Attaching the adapter directly to the shower arm lowers the shower head.
Taking the shower head off the hose is simpler than untwisting the top off a jar of spaghetti sauce. It comes apart like this:
Once you have your shower head apart, twist/screw the adapter onto the hose. Then, twist/screw the shower head onto the adapter.
Put the handheld unit back on its receiver and turn the water on to check for leaks.
My Opella unit did NOT leak after installation. If, for some reason, your unit leaks, try this:
- Unscrew the adapter then rescrew it in, checking to make sure the threads are properly aligned / not cock-eyed. As with any jar, I find that turning the nut backwards a quarter turn before tightening helps align the threads correctly.
- Make sure the adapter is screwed in tightly. Note, if your shower head is plastic, and the threads are not aligned correctly, you may strip the threads on the plastic part if you force it. You can use a padded jar opener like this if you have weak wrists:
- If the adapter still leaks, unscrew the adapter and then wrap the threads with a Teflon tape or any thread sealing plumber’s tape.
One issue I DID have with my Opella swivel ball adapter was that I found the swivel option to be stiff/hard to adjust. I happened to have a very old can of spray-silicone. I took the adapter back off my shower head and sprayed here and here, coating the brass swivel ball.
Caution: a little bit of spray silicone goes a long way! Just a little is needed. If you get any spray silicone on your floor, the floor will be slippery for a long time.
Are you handy? What have you fixed? Share your fix-it journey in the comments below.
Remember, this is your Journey too!