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Originally published March 23, 2012 at 7:00 PM | Page modified March 23, 2012 at 8:56 PM

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Clean up your shower language

Ed the Plumber: A primer on showerheads and what the different terms mean.

Scripps Howard News Service

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Q: I want to install a showerhead and have been trying to choose a new one. But it seems that everyone I talk to has a different term for a showerhead, and there's a lot of choices. Please explain the correct terms. This way I'll sound like an expert the next time I talk to a salesperson!

— Jeff, Rhode Island

A: Changing a showerhead is one of those jobs that most do-it-yourselfers want to try. The key is to be properly prepared right from the start. With that in mind, here's a basic list of the most popular types of showers:

Single-function showerhead: This is your basic showerhead that attaches to the chrome shower arm sticking out of the wall.

Multifunction showerhead: Installs the same as the single-function, but will have different spray settings, like wide, narrow and/or massage.

Rain showerhead: Usually requires a special installation. This is a wide head designed to be mounted higher.

Body shower spray: Usually requires a special installation. The head is mounted lower on the wall, and sprays out horizontally.

Personal shower: Attaches to the shower arm with a special hanger/bracket. It has a hose so the shower can also be used as a handheld spray.

Bottom line: If you use these terms when asking about a your new showerhead, you'll no longer be speaking with "watered down" information.

Master plumber Ed Del Grande is the author of "Ed Del Grande's House Call," the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit or write Always consult local contractors and codes.

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