How to Replace a Shower Tap

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When a new shower tap is on the list of weekend projects, check the wall behind the shower for an access hole. It is the easiest way to access the plumbing. If there isn't one, you may want to consider building one. See "Access Door to Bathtub Plumbing" in Reference section of this article for more on the subject.

Things You'll Need

  • Stud finder
  • Carpenter's level
  • Utility knife
  • Two pipe wrenches
  • Pipe cutter (copper or PVC)
  • Pipe (copper or PVC)
  • Couplers (copper or PVC)
  • PVC glue
  • Propane torch (copper lines)
  • Flux
  • Solder
  • Threaded pipe sealer tape
  • Turn the water supply to the house off, locate and mark the studs in the wall on either side of the existing tap with a stud finder. Remove the shower head and the extension.

  • Place the carpenter's level on the marks and draw lines on the wall from the ceiling down to 12 inches below the tap. Cut the wall out with the utility knife to expose the plumbing.

  • Remove the old tap by disconnecting the water lines where they are secured to the tap with a pipe wrench. It may be necessary to hold the tap stationary with another pipe wrench when removing the nuts.

  • Check the ends of the hot and cold water lines for damaged threads. If they are damaged, they will have to be replaced. If they are not damaged, skip to Step 6.

  • . Cut the waterlines with a pipe cutter 6 inches down from the ends and cut replacements. For PVC pipes, glue a coupler to the new pipe and then glue it to the existing pipes. For copper pipes, sweat a coupler onto the new piece with the torch, flux and solder and then onto the existing pipes. For more information on sweating copper pipes, see "Working with Copper Pipes" in the reference section of this article.

  • Wrap the threads with threaded sealer tape in a clockwise direction. Install the new tap by matching the ends of the water lines to the tap and securing them by means of the nuts supplied by manufacturer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make certain the new shower tap doesn't move before replacing the wall cutout. Check connections for leaks before replacing the wall cutout.
  • Do not apply unnecessary pressure when tightening the nuts to the plumbing; it can cause leaks. Use only approved PVC glue products with PVC pipes.

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References

  • Photo Credit Reggie35: Flickr.com
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