Everything you need to know about a Shower Diverter Valve

It is not uncommon for bathtubs in older constructions or remodeled bathrooms to double as a standup shower. The purpose of a shower diverter valve is to divert flow from the bath faucet to the showerhead and vice versa, alleviating the need to install a new water supply pipe to feed the showerhead if you have a combo bathtub and shower. The greatest benefit of a shower diverter valve is that it allows you to install a shower over the tub, without having to dedicate space to an entirely separate shower enclosure or stall. This is especially beneficial for condos and apartments that see small bathrooms. You also enjoy not having to install extra faucets, pipes, and tiles. However, many people are oblivious to how a shower diverter valve works and how to spot or fix a malfunctioning shower diverter. Here, we aim to outline all the basics of a shower diverter valve.

Types of Shower Diverter Valve

Three-valve diverter: These diverters are placed in systems that have a separate faucet for hot and cold water. After mixing the water to your desired temperature, the metal pull on the front of the faucet is turned in 180 degrees to send the water to the showerhead or the tub. You can send all of the water to a single output, or you can turn the handle only partially and have water flowing simultaneously from both outlets.

Two-valve shower Diverter: This type of shower diverter is usually found with a single-handle faucet.  The single installed handle needs to be turned to direct water to the shower or the tub.

Single-valve shower diverter: This diverter valve is located on the end of the tub spot. Pulling up the diverter directs water to the showerhead, while pushing it back sends water to the tub again. Rotating it to the left or right changes the water from hot to cold.

How to Identify a Faulty Shower Diverter?

You will know your shower diverter is malfunctioning if you notice water coming out of both the tub faucet and the showerhead simultaneously, even after the water diverter is fully turned.  A small amount of water dripping out of your tub’s faucet is normal if the seal is old. A faulty shower diverter could be due to a failure of the inner rubber stopper to block and redirect the flow of water. Another reason could be a faulty liftgate diverter. If the shower diverter is engaged yet the water continues to come out of the tub spout only and not the showerhead, the gate is severely damaged. Sometimes, water continues to pour out of the tub faucet even if the shower diverter is fully turned, resulting in a low water pressure in the shower. This indicates an issue with the gasket. Sometimes a faulty diverter valve can also cause excessive or insufficient amounts of hot water. These issues aren’t a mere nuisance, they can lead to water damage, which is why you should have the shower diverter replaced right away. No matter the issue, you can change your shower diverter valve yourself with a little guidance.

Fix a Faulty Shower Diverter

It is pretty easy to fix a shower diverter. To start, cut off the water supply to your shower and make sure the screws behind the faceplate of the diverter valve are tightened. Even if tightening the screws doesn’t work to stem the flow of water from both the valves, try dissembling the shower diverter. This step may seem difficult at first but all you have to do is unscrew the rotating valve at the base if the diverter or unscrew the threaded tub spout if you have a gate-type valve. The next step is to buy a replacement from the hardware store and make sure the make and model of the diverter valve is correct. Repairing a broken diverter will cost you around $125 on average. Install the new diverter according to the instructions on the pack and tighten the screws. Turn the water supply back on and engage the diverter to check for any leak. If water flows from the showerhead with no leaks from the tub faucet, you have successfully installed the diverter.

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