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Project Book: How To Repair A Single Handle Tub and Shower Valve

If you’ve ever had a leaky shower head, you know how irritating it can be. The slow drip… drip … drip … of the water literally means money right down the drain. For homeowners, this can be an annoying problem that seems tricky to fix, but with a little know-how and some help from Koopman Lumber you can get your shower fixed in no time!

Shower faucets with a single lever have cartridge valves. When the temperature control doesn’t work, it may be because the valve is broken, clogged with hardened minerals, or installed incorrectly. Restoring temperature control, as well as stopping drips, involves disassembling the faucet and removing the cartridge.

o prevent any parts from going down the drain, close the drain stopper before taking anything apart.  Lay towels or a sheet in the bottom of the tub to protect the tub finish from scratches while you work inside the tub.

STEP 1: TURN OFF THE WATER

Turn off the water to the shut off waterbathtub and the shower at the shut-off valve. If you can’t find one that controls the bathroom or don’t have access to it, shut off the main water to the house.

Let any remaining water flow out of the faucet. Then close the drain to prevent any small parts from accidentally falling down into it.

STEP 2: REMOVE THE CAP AND SCREW

remove cap and screwLever handle tub faucets have a set screw near the curve of the handle. Remove the set screw with a Phillips-head screwdriver or Allen wrench, depending on the screw head.

Knob type tub faucet handles have a cover plate hiding the securing screw. Pry the cover plate off with a flat-head screwdriver. Remove the securing screw with a Phillips-head screwdriver.

Pull the faucet handle away from the wall.

STEP 3: REMOVE THE ESCUTCHEON PLATE

escutcheon plateThe escutcheon plate is the cover plate behind the faucet handle. Usually there are two Phillips-head screws securing the plate to the wall. Remove the screws with a Phillips-head screwdriver.

Some manufacturers use small Allen head set screws on the outer edge. If you do not see the Phillips-head screws on the face of the escutcheon, feel around the edges of the plate for the set screws. Remove the set screw with an Allen wrench.

If your escutcheon plate has no screws, turn the plate counterclockwise to remove it from the mounting plate. Pull the plate away from the wall.

To fix a leaking compression faucet, first try replacing the packing nut washer just under the escutcheon.

STEP 4: REMOVE THE STOP TUBE AND CARTRIDGE

remove valve stemThe cartridge is the piece of metal work you see sticking out of the exposed fixture. Slide the sleeve that covers the faucet cartridge away from the cartridge.

Locate the c-clip that secures the cartridge to the bathroom plumbing. Some cartridges have up to three c-clips. Pull the c-clips out with a pair of needle nose pliers.

If you have a compression faucet, remove the cartridge with an adjustable wrench. If the stem is recessed, use a stem wrench to remove it.

Examine the cartridge. If it’s encrusted with minerals, you can clean it by soaking it overnight in white vinegar. If the O-rings are worn, cut them off with a utility knife, and slide on new ones. If you see any cracks, notches or pits near any of the holes, replace the cartridge.

STEP 5: GET REPLACEMENT PARTS

partsWhen you go to purchase replacement parts, make sure that you take all of the parts that you will need with you. Even the most experienced Koopman employee is aided in helping you find the right parts that you need when they can see what was previously in use.

The pictures that you’ve taken with your smartphone are also a great way to accurately communicate what it is that you need.

STEP 6: PUT IT ALL BACK TOGETHER

Once you have all of the replacement parts that you need, reassemble the faucet valve in the opposite order in which you took it apart. Then test the faucet by turning it on. Check for any leaks. Switch from tub to shower to see that this is additionally working correctly.

WRAP UP

Whether you’re a novice or have lots of experience with plumbing, the helpful, friendly and knowledge staff at Koopman Lumber can arm you with all of the parts, tools and know-how that you need to tackle your home’s plumbing projects.  Stop by and see us at any one of our conveniently located stores.  We’ll be glad to see you!

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