You are probably wondering, "is it possible for a shower diverter in the wall to get damaged?" Well, the simple answer is yes. So, if you are reading this article, it means you want to know the solution to this problem and the possible causes.
Here, we’ll show you how to fix a shower diverter in the wall. In addition to this, you will also learn how to identify leaks in the wall, the causes of these shower diverter leaks, and ways to prevent these leaks from happening.
Table of Contents
What is a Shower Diverter, and How Does it Work?
It is always best to have a general idea of what a shower diverter is and its working principles before you proceed to take it apart, so what is a shower diverter?
To put it simply, the shower diverter works to redirect the flow of water, so you can say it is a valve that controls water flow. However, unlike other valves, the shower diverter has two parts that redirect water from the primary source into two directions.
This diversion allows you to divert water without needing to install a new water line, meaning that you can redirect water to the shower and tub simultaneously.
So, if your bathroom has a showerhead and tub installed, there's bound to be a diverter somewhere in the wall. The mechanism used here allows the diversion of water flows from the showerhead to the tub at your comfort.
All you need to do is turn the handle, and you are a water bender, allowing you have the showerhead and tub connected to one line.
What Makes a Shower Diverter Leak?
Understanding the problem is the path to fixing it. So, what causes leaks in the shower diverter? There are several causes of a leaky shower diverter, but the primary culprit is a broken valve. After years of use, the joint valves and pipes might become weak, resulting in water leakage.
It is also possible that the valve develops a crack due to rust after many years of use.
Also, it could be due to a poor quality valve used in the shower diverter build. Looking at these factors, many manufactures are guilty of sacrificing build quality for aesthetics.
The water pressure also plays a role in leaking shower diverters. In homes with high water pressure, valves may suffer from wear and tear over time, resulting in damage.
How To Identify the Leak in The Wall?
When dealing with a faulty shower diverter, it is essential that you find the source of the leak as quickly as you can, or you could end up with damaged drywall.
Additionally, identifying the leak early will reduce costs. You would save you the stress of worrying about fixing anything else.
To identify the leak source, turn on the tap and keep an eye out for water droplets, it may only be a few drops, but that is enough to cause concern.
If there is any leaking, head to your basement and locate the bathroom. Trace its location and look at the ceiling; you should see a water stain.
The stain should run down from the shower line or tub. Usually, the tub drain doesn’t leak, so it has to be from the shower diverter. The next step is to get up close and personal with that valve behind the wall so you can confirm your suspicions.
One way to do this is to take off the screws behind the handle; this allows you to confirm if there's actual water leakage.
Another way to do it involves you getting your hands dirty by cutting up the drywall. I recommend the latter because it allows you more space to trace any leaks, and if there were any, to begin with, you would still need to cut it open.
Then, get a sanding drum and cut into the drywall; check for leakages. If you're lucky, you may find a hole or a crack in the diverter or pipe causing the leak. Keep reading and learn how to fix this leak.
How To Fix a Leaking Shower Diverter?
There are two methods to fix your shower diverter in the wall. The first and easiest way to go about this is to replace the cartridge. The second way is a little more complex, and it involves replacing the entire shower diverter.
Tools you’ll need
Below are a few tools you may need to get the job done:
- Hex wrench
- Deep-socket wrench
- Groove-joint pliers
- Silicone grease
- Shower diverter
- Sanding drum
Also, before you start fixing, first, check the type of leak you are dealing with. This will determine the repair method you’ll adopt. If you notice that the leak is from the diverter stem, you need to change the cartridge.
Head over to any home improvement store around and purchase a replacement. Follow the instructions on the package, and you should get it fixed.
If, however, the shower diverter is damaged, you need to change the diverter completely. Read on to find out how to do this below.
Method One: How to Replace a Faulty Cartridge?
To change the cartridge, follow the steps enumerated below
Step 1: Remove the Handle
The first thing you need to do is turn off the water valve. To remove the handle, you may have to use a hex Wrench depending on the make of the shower diverter.
Step 2: Take Off the Retaining Pin
Next, use a screwdriver to remove and take off the retaining clip that keeps the cartridge in place.
Step 3: Remove the Cartridge
Usually, you can take off the cartridge with a plier. However, some cartridges require specific cartridge removing tools which you can find at a local hardware store. Then, all you need to do is grab, twist and pull.
Step 4: Take Off and Replace the Old O-Rings
You may have to change worn and old O-rings if they are the cause of the leaks. If O-Rings are the culprits, then there may be no need to change the whole cartridge. Be sure to apply silicone grease before installing.
Step Five – Replace with New Cartridge
If the O-rings aren’t the problem, then it means you need to change the entire cartridge head. We advise you get an anti-scald cartridge. Anti-scalding cartridges function by preventing the flow of very hot water that could hurt you, so it would be wise to invest in such cartridges.
Method Two: Replacing a Faulty Shower Diverter for a New One?
Cracked shower diverters need to be replaced with a new one. Follow the steps below to learn how to do this;
Step 1: Turn Off the Water
To start the replacement procedure, head over to the basement or wherever the main water supply for the faucet is and switch it off.
Step 2: Remove the Diverter
Here, take off the small cap on the handle shower so you can access the screws. Most caps come in a threaded style, just like screws, so all you need to do is turn it, and it comes off.
After this, take a screwdriver and remove the screws below the cap; this will give you access to the bolts that hold the diverter to the wall.
Taking a deep socket wrench, disconnect the diverter from the wall. Next, disconnect the diverter from the pipe, and now it's time to replace the diverter.
Step 3: Replace the Diverter
Get a new diverter from a home improvement store near you, replace the new diverter and tighten the bolts with the deep socket wrench. Ensure the diverter is correctly set in place, replace the shower handle and use a screwdriver to tighten the screws.
Finally, go ahead and turn on the water supply to the faucet, and there shouldn't be any leaks behind the wall.
How To Prevent Shower Diverter from Damage
Even though you just replaced the shower diverter, it will not be quite unpleasant if you have to repeat the process sooner than you'd expect. To prevent this from happening, you will need to take adequate steps to prevent your shower diverter from getting damaged.
One of such steps is to release the diverter to let water flow from the faucet before turning off the water.
Another way to reduce the possibility of wear and tear is by regulating the water pressure. Water pressure stands among one the primary causes of shower diverter, so be sure to control it or invite a plumber over to get it checked for you.
With the steps above, you should be more than capable of fixing the shower diverter in the wall. Here are some tips to remember
- Call a professional plumber if you need any help
- Identify the leak in the wall
- Check the tutorial video attached to this article to gain more insight
- Make sure you use and buy only the best high-quality shower diverters and shower diverter accessories.
Please, do not forget to leave a comment if you have any questions.