Shower Valve Cartridge Replacement

shower valve cartridge replacement

Call us at (559) 940-0890

Only a few things are more relaxing than taking some time to unwind under a warm shower after returning from a long day at work, hitting the gym, or going out for a jog. However, these plans can be cut short if your shower valve is broken, seized, or leaking.

This issue can cause major stress to you, particularly if you have only one shower available in your home.

The good news is you can fix most of these issues related to your shower valve just by replacing its cartridge, which basically comprises the internal part of the valve, without affecting the external valve assembly.

Before Starting

Determine the exact type and size of shower valve cartridge that you need, since various splines and stems can be found with most brands. You can easily identify the right part by checking the brand of your existing shower valve and finding the right cartridge on the manufacturer’s website.

In cases where you cannot identify the brand, you’ll need to take out the shower valve cartridge along with you to find the correct replacement at a local home improvement store.

Place a Drop Cloth at the Shower Base

You need to block off the drain by placing a drop cloth in the tub or shower. In addition to preventing small components like screws and washers from dropping into the drain, a drop cloth also ensures that the area is kept clean.

Detach the Handle of the Shower

You’ll need to remove the handle(s) of the shower in order to reach the shower valve. If you have a Valley shower or any other shower with a single-lever handle, locate a small set screw in it which can be unscrewed using an Allen wrench.

There will normally be a little plastic cover over this set screw in plastic, faux-crystal, or glass decorative handles. Use a flat-head screwdriver to pop off the cover and expose the screw.

Once you locate the set screws, loosen it using an Allen wrench or screwdriver and then remove the handle. Place the shower handle and set screws aside, ensuring that they are properly kept.

Loosen and Clean the Trim Plate

The flat backing sitting behind the handle is referred to as the trim plate. It is meant to protect the shower valve assembly as well as cover the hole in the wall of the shower to stop water from going into the gaps between the wall and cause significant damage to the home.

Using a screwdriver, loosen the screws holding the trim plate on the valve assembly and then slide it off the valve stem to remove it. Ensure you keep the screws properly and consider scraping off the existing caulking and cleaning both shower handle and trim plate.

You can easily access the shower valve cartridge in some showers without having to remove the trim plate. In such cases, you need only remove the shower handle in order to replace the valve cartridge.

Shut Down the Water

Turn off the main shutoff valve to stop the water supply to the entire home. After doing this, remember to turn on a faucet nearby to relieve the pressure and drain any water left in the lines.

Take Out the Retainer Clip

A retainer clip is a tiny piece of metal inserted at the top of the shower valve to keep the shower valve cartridge in place so that it does not get loose and slide out. You can easily remove this clip using needle-nose pliers. Use this set of pliers to grip the clip and pull it upwards and out of the shower valve.

The retainer clip can be reused if it is in a good condition. However, this may not be necessary since most replacement cartridges come with a new clip.

Remove the Shower Valve Cartridge

Grip the stem of the shower valve using a set of regular pliers and pull the cartridge gently out of the valve assembly. The cartridge will normally slide out with ease, but if it gets stuck, consider using a lubricant like WD40 or try to wiggle it back and forth to loosen it.

Before you proceed, check that the valve assembly is in a good condition after the cartridge is removed. If you notice any signs of corrosion or rusting, you may need to get a skilled plumber to replace the full shower valve assembly and its surrounding pipes. You can also undertake this project if you have sufficient knowledge, time, and experience.

Install the Replacement Shower Valve Cartridge

Once you have the right replacement cartridge, it should slide in without any problems after removing the old one and confirming the valve assembly is intact. Secure the cartridge using the old or new retainer clip.

Turn the Water Back On and Check for Leaks

Turn on the water supply to your home or use the water stops (if any) to check for any leaks in the shower valve. Use a paper towel to wipe down the shower valve assembly and ensure it is totally dry, and then wipe it again after a few minutes.

Paper towels are great for detecting leaks due to their absorbent properties, and they can reveal even the smallest drop of water.

Reinstall the Shower Handle and Trim Plate

Slide the trim plate back over the shower valve stem and use the screws to hold it in place, and then secure the handle(s) using the set screws. Clean the drop cloth and other debris and check that the shower handle properly controls the water temperature and flow.

Once you confirm that everything is working properly, apply caulking round the trim plate to ensure water does not sip behind the wall of the shower.

Call us at (559) 940-0890