Replace a Shower Diverter Valve
By Matt Weber
A shower diverter valve switches the supply of water from the faucet to the shower head and back again. Repeated operation over time can wear out the valve or the rubber washers and result in drips and leaks.
Two handle faucets typically have one of two types of diverter valves. A gate-type valve is uѕuаllу found іn thе bathtub spout, usually with a pull-down оr pull-uр type оf valve handle. A rotating-type diverter valve, as shown in this article, is located bеtwееn thе bathtub spout аnd thе showerhead. Here’s how to pull one out and put in a new one.
First and foremost, shut off the water supply to the faucet before disassembling the handles.
Pry off the decorative cap of the valve handle with a screwdriver.
(In some cases these caps are threaded.) Then unscrew the nut to pull off the handle. If the handle refuses to budge, you can use a gear puller to remove it.
It might be necessary to remove the escutcheon if it interferes with the use of your deep-socket wrench. Escutcheons are often held with a retaining nut, but if not then the escutcheon is threaded over the valve stems. If this is the case, unscrew the entire escutcheon as one piece. If it won’t release, check to see if it’s caulked to the wall, and cut the caulk. A strap wrench might help encourage a stubborn one to turn.
To remove recessed valves like the one shown, you’ll need Shower Valve Socket Wrench Set. A shower-valve set provides the super-deep wrenches needed to remove tub and shower valves. The wrenches are each double-sided and usually accommodate the 10 standard sizes of plumbing fasteners to make virtually any residential shower or bath valve repair.
Thread the Shower Valve Socket over the diverter valve stem and secure it tightly over the bonnet nut. Unscrew and remove. Pull the stem from the wall to expose the seat washer and screw.
Inspect the inside of the pipe to make sure no O-rings or washers have come off the old valve and remain inside the pipe. Fish them out and discard if you see any. They can interfere with operation of the valve if they stay in the pipe.
If the washer is the only part that has deteriorated, then remove the worn seat washer and replace with a new one, coating it with heat-proof faucet grease. Make sure to use the correct size and shape of seat washer and press it firmly into the stem’s retainer. If the diverter valve is in good shape, you’re ready to reassemble the shower handles and test your faucet.
Otherwise, replace the diverter stem completely. You’ll need to take the old stem to the plumbing supply store so you can be sure to get an exact replacement. The new diverter valve slips right into the pipes just like the old one that you pulled out. (Be sure to use the faucet grease.)
Reverse the removal procedure to finish the repair. Turn on the water supply and test for any leaks.