The pull-up knob on a standard bathtub faucet diverts the water from flowing to the bathtub and re-directs it to the shower head. Over time, the regular use of this control can result in a leaky diverter in need of repair.
Extended exposure to a leaky diverter can even damage the tubs surface with an unsightly stain especially if you live in a high sediment water supply area.
As well, if you have Sulphur in your water supply it smells bad and can permeate the decor of your bathroom. Neither of these two effects is pleasurable and should be avoided.
In the long run, a properly functioning diverter saves you on your water bills and avoids the annoying drip, drip sounds coming from your bathroom. In this article, I’ll walk you through the steps to make it an easy task.
Note: Make sure to shut the water off before starting and you use a towel to protect the bottom of the tub from scratches or a dropped tool.
How To Fix Shower Diverter
Step 1: Identifying the Type of Your Diverter
There are 3 basic types of diverter valves that control water flow to your shower head. They are; a pull up and push down control, the gate type, or a rotating valve in the wall above the faucet. Most common is the pull up, push down, and the in wall mounted rotating valve.
Step 2: Removing the Leaking Shower Diverter
Removing the knob from the diverter is not an easy task. I recommend the use of a gear puller to do so. This helps avoid damaging the surrounding tiles. Once it’s off, bend the metal tube behind the knob. Next cut away the caulk around the metal plate, giving you access to the diverters.
If you have a rotating valve, it will be necessary to unscrew the nut at the stem allowing you to remove the whole assembly. It is important to take this piece with you when purchasing a replacement part. Doing so allows the salesman to easily match it up to the original for a proper fit.
To remove a gate type valve, usually found in the spout, simply unscrew the threaded tub faucet. As I mentioned above, you would be wise to take the faulty piece with you when purchasing a new one Just in case.
Note: Do not expect this to be a quick task. Starting with identifying and removal of the old diverter shower valve, going to the hardware store to purchase a new one, returning home and then doing the installation, it all takes time.
Also, if you don’t have Teflon plumbers tape in your home tool kit, be sure to buy some to wrap around the threads to help prevent potential leaks.
There is an old carpenter’s say that you measure twice and then cut once. Nobody wants to have to redo their effort when fixing a faulty shower diverter.
Step 3: Installation
Now that you are ready to repair your diverter, it is essential to make sure you do not cross thread your replacement valve in its female connection. Don’t forget to wrap the threads on the male end of your valve with two turns of Teflon tape before installation.
Step 4: Tightening The Connection
Use a wrench on the diverter valve to tighten the connection being careful not to over tighten it. You also need to play with the knob to ensure that when left in the up position, water flows to the shower and when in the down positioned, water flows into the tub. Water turned on of course.
Step 5: Running A Test
Run a test after turning the water back on It helps to have someone near the water intake to your home just in case it needs to be shut off in a hurry because of leaks.
Turn on the shower side and if there is not a single drop of water leaking, congratulations, you have just completed your repair. It really is not as difficult to fix a leaky shower diverter as you might think at first. Especially when you follow the above instructions.
By following these steps, it should be easy for you to repair your shower diverter. Remember that if you are doing this by yourself, it is important to ensure you follow the instructions manual religiously so that there are no mishaps.
If the diverter is not installed as it should, then the shower heads will not supply water as intended. You might have a case where water passing through some shower heads is either more or flows at a higher pressure than the other shower heads in the same unit.
In the worst case scenario, you might even be unable to install a shower head in the first place. Therefore, if in doubt always consult professional help.