You’re probably asking yourself, “What is a shower diverter valve anyway and does mine need to be replaced?” This article will explain exactly what a diverter valve does and list the different types of valves available. It will then show you how to replace a shower diverter valve.
What is a Shower Diverter?
Generally, when you turn on the water in the shower, it comes out of the tub spout and you have to pull a little handle to make the water come out of the shower head. The part inside the spout that does that is a shower diverter valve. This is the most common type of diverter valve and is commonly called a 3-valve diverter or tub diverter valve. These types of valves can also be a 2-valve or tee diverter (the difference will be explained later). Another type of shower diverter is located on the shower head itself and is usually seen in showers with detachable, hand-held shower heads or in showers with multiple shower heads.
What Does a Shower Diverter Valve Do?
Simply put, a shower diverter valve directs the water flow from the tub spout up into the shower head and eliminates the need for a separate shower stall. Next, we’ll briefly explain the different types of valves.
Types of Shower Diverter Valves
There are many types of shower diverter valves. Here are some of the most common.
3- Valve Shower Diverter:
This type of valve is located between the hot and cold taps on the faucet and turning the handle allows water to be diverted to the shower head after the hot and cold water has mixed to the desired temperature.
2- Valve Shower Diverter:
This type has two L-shaped valves and like the 3-valve diverter, it directs the water flow to the shower head once the desired temperature is set. This type of valve can have either a single dial for adjusting the water temperature or can be installed between the taps on a 2-tap faucet.
Tee Shower Diverter:
This type of valve has only a single valve and is located inside the tub spout itself. Once the water temperature is set, you pull a handle on top of the spout to direct the water flow to the shower head. It is probably the most common type of shower diverter valve and is the easiest to replace because the valve is not integrated with the plumbing pipes inside the walls like the previous types of valves.
Shower head Diverter Valve:
This type of diverter valve is usually only seen in installations with multiple shower heads or with shower heads that feature a detachable handheld shower head. Rather than directing water from the spout to the shower head, these valves direct water between two or more shower heads.
How to Replace a Shower Diverter Valve
If you’ve tried turning on your shower and the water isn’t coming out of the shower head — or, if it is coming out of the tub spout and the shower head at the same time — it is likely that your diverter valve needs to be replaced.
This section will take you through the steps to repair a defective valve. Although the process is similar for all the different types of valves, your shower setup may be slightly different from what is described. Also, keep in mind that because both the 3-valve and 2-valve types are integrated with the plumbing pipes inside your walls, you may need to call a plumber to repair or replace the valve.
How to Replace a 3-valve or 2-valve Shower Diverter Valve
For showers with either a 3-valve or 2-valve diverter, you’ll need to remove the handle that controls the valve first. Pop off the plastic cover and unscrew the handle. Next, remove the sleeve over the diverter. Using a socket wrench, remove the diverter valve. Take it with you to a plumbing supply store to ensure you get the correct replacement valve and simply reverse the steps to install the new valve.
How to Replace a Shower Diverter Valve Located Inside the Tub Spigot
For showers with a diverter valve located inside the tub spigot, you’ll need to replace the entire spigot. Find the set screw on the underside of the spigot and unscrew it. You should then be able to unscrew the spigot from the wall. If there is no set screw, your spigot will have a fitting inside that screws onto the copper pipe that comes out of the wall. Carefully unscrew the spigot to avoid damaging the fitting on the pipe. Regardless of which type of spigot you have, you should clean the pipe or fitting before installing the new spigot. This will ensure that the new spigot fits securely and will prevent leaks.
How to Replace a Shower Head Diverter Valve
For showers with a shower head diverter, you can simply unscrew the diverter valve from the pipe and install a new one in its place. Installing a new shower head diverter valve is fairly simple also. Just remove the old shower head and attach the new valve onto the pipe. Replace the original shower head and attach the handheld shower head, making sure that both attached securely and that there are no leaks.
We’ve shown you how simple a shower diverter valve repair can be and that with a little bit of time and money, you can be sure your shower will be warm and relaxing and will stay that way for years to come.