How to Repair Your Shower Diverter

Your shower diverter is a mechanism that directs water from your bathtub faucet up to the showerhead. There are three main variations of the diverter valve: the three-valve diverter, two-valve diverter, and tee-diverter. Each has its own use. Three-valve diverters are for showers with two-tap faucets. Two-valve diverters are used in showers with a single-dial temperature adjuster. Tee-diverters are the most common type of diverter. If you pull up on your diverter to send water from the faucet to the showerhead, then it’s a tee-diverter.

When our diverter works properly, it cuts off water to either the faucet or the showerhead whenever you tell it to. If it isn’t working properly, then water will flow out of both your faucet and your showerhead whenever you use either. Diverters naturally wear out and break down over time, and eventually need repairing or replacing. Luckily, they’re reasonably easy to fix. All you have to do is follow the instructions below:

Repairing Your Shower Diverter

  1. First, turn off the water. It’s a lot easier to fix something when you aren’t worried about seeping water.
  2. Seal off the drain. Use duct tape or something similar that can catch any small screws that get away from you. You don’t want to lose anything in your pipes.
  3. Unscrew the faceplate (frequently round, metal) in your tub and take it off to look. Determine which of the three previously-listed diverter types is the one you have.
  4. Now, it’s time to take a closer look to determine what your problem is. The most common issue is loose screws. Look at the screws behind the faceplate and attempt to tighten them. If they were loose, try tightening them. That might solve your problem all on its own! If it doesn’t, you’ll have to follow the next couple steps, too.

Next steps

  1. Next, you’ll have to remove your old shower diverter. If it has a rotating valve, unscrew the nut at the stem and then pull the whole thing out. If it’s a tee-type gate valve, you’ll have to unscrew the threaded tub spout first.
  2. Take the diverter you just removed to the store and get help finding a replacement. It won’t cost a lot, and replacing the entire device is easier and more effective than replacing individual parts.
  3. Take your replacement unit home to reinstall. It should only take a few screws and a little finagling to install the new diverter. Make sure not to overtighten anything.
  4. Test your new valve. Turn on your water and engage the diverter. The water flowing from the spout should go straight to the showerhead. Water should only flow out of either the faucet or the shower heat, never both.
  5. Give yourself a pat on the back for a DIY plumbing repair job well done!

Don’t take your time getting this fixed as soon as you notice problems. A broken shower diverter leads to a subpar bathing experience and it wastes water. That means increased water bills and generally bad times in the future. The kind of bad times you can easily avoid.

If you ever need help with your home’s shower repairs, never hesitate to contact the team at Ben Franklin. We’re always happy to make sure your home’s water ends up where it’s supposed to be.