04 May Water running from a tub spout with a shower diverter

How to Fix a Shower Diverter

Posted by PlumbWize

Is your home equipped with a shower bath? If so, it’s bound to have a shower diverter.

Depending on whether you’re in a bath or shower mood, a shower diverter can direct the flow of water towards the tub spout or showerhead.

As a popular choice for luxurious residential bathrooms and hotels, a shower diverter plays a big role in switching the flow from the tub faucet to the showerhead, as needed. So, if it ever breaks, it spells chaos for your bathroom.

Luckily, learning how to fix a shower diverter is pretty easy. Let’s repair that shower diverter and restore the flow (and harmony) to your shower bath!

Telltale Signs of a Broken Shower Diverter

First thing’s first, before learning how to fix a shower diverter, we need to know how to identify if it’s actually broken.

Here are three signs it’s likely in need of replacement or repair.

  1. Rusty Water

Shower diverters are made from metal components, and when metal makes frequent contact with water, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see rust form in the long run.

When it corrodes and chips off, you’re likely to find tiny pieces of rust in your bath water. In some cases, your shower water may even be tainted with an unmistakable rusty, brown colour. Rust-hued water is a sure-fire way to discern that your home has a plumbing problem.

This could be a simple shower diverter issue or a more serious pipe-related dilemma. Whatever it may be, it needs to be inspected by a professional who can identify the source and provide a solution as soon as possible.

  2. Faulty Valve

So, your shower diverter valve refuses to engage—sounds like it’s most likely caused by an indentation in the rubber gasket. Aside from freezing its functionality, this also triggers leaks.

  3. Waterworks

This one is a no-brainer. If you notice leaks coming from the tub faucet while you shower or a trickle coming from the control handle, it’s bad news. The diverter valve contains a rubber flapper that sustains damage over time when exposed to water.

The good news is that this is a common issue that can be repaired in no time.

A shower bath

DIY: How to Fix a Broken Shower Diverter

Repairing a Diverter

This type of shower diverter needs to be pulled up to send water from the tub faucet to the showerhead. When the handle is pushed down, the water flow goes to the tub spout.

Step 1: Switch the water supply off.

Step 2: Seal off the drain with duct tape to prevent any screws or other types of debris from falling in.

Step 3: Loosen the set screw of the tub spout (small screw on the underside of the spout near the base).

Step 4: Next, remove the tub spout.

Step 5: Proceed to remove the diverter. This is the tiny piece of plastic that you can slide up and down when you pull the diverter handle. In the event that the diverter is damaged or requires a new washer, all you have to do is pick one up from your nearest hardware store.

Step 6: Place the tub spout back and test it. Switch the water supply on to check if it will be directed to the showerhead. If that isn’t the case, mineral buildup in the spout could be the culprit.

Step 7: Install a new tub spout. Do this if your current one is worn out or corroded.

Repairing a Two-Valve Diverter or a Three-Valve Diverter

Usually, you’ll find a two-valve shower diverter alongside faucets that have one handle for controlling the emperature and another for managing the direction of the water.

On the other hand, a three-valve shower diverter is typically used for faucets with separate knobs for hot and cold water. The third handle is used to send water either up the showerhead or down into the tub.

Here’s how to repair either of the two:

Step 1: Switch off the water supply.

Step 2: Use tape to protect the drain from debris.

Step 3: Unscrew the metal faceplate in the bathtub.

Step 4: Next, remove your shower diverter. If it is attached from behind the wall, use a shower faucet wrench to cover the nut and loosen it.

Step 5: This step requires you to take a trip to your local hardware store. Take the old diverter with you to ensure that you purchase the correct replacement.

Step 6: Welcome back home! Now, let’s get that replacement shower diverter installed, shall we? Keep in mind that overtightening isn’t a good idea.

Step 7: It’s finally time to test your shower’s new diverter! If everything went according to plan, the water from the spout should flow directly to the showerhead or to the faucet. It’s one or the other, not both.

Water flowing from a showerhead

D.I.Why?: Divert It to the Experts

When you’re lost in translation (or the plumbing process), it’s not DIY, but D.I.Why?

A neglected broken diverter wastes water, inflicts water damage to your home’s interior, and leads to a so-so shower experience. Hence, putting off repairs is a no-no.

Why DIY when you can call in the experts to do the heavy lifting for you? Contact PlumbWize today to request a quote for broken shower diverters and all your other plumbing needs!


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