Plumbing 101: How to Repair a Shower Faucet


A worn valve cartridge will cause leaks shower faucets, either out of the faucet or the shower head, or make the faucets hard to shut off all the way. The valve cartridge controls the rate of water flow through the faucet. Over time the cartridge wears out and begins to allow water to pass uninhibited. Replacing the old cartridge with a new cartridge will reverse the problems you are experiencing with the faucet.

Things You'll Need

  • Pocketknife
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Hairdryer
  • Wrench
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Cartridge puller
  • New valve cartridge
  • Plumber's grease
  • Turn off the water in the house by closing the main water valve. Turn the shower's faucet on all the way to make sure no water pressure remains.

  • Use a pocketknife's blade to pry out the plastic cap in the middle of the shower faucet's handle. Turn the screw that was under the cap counterclockwise using a Phillips screwdriver.

  • Pull the shower faucet's handle away from the shower wall to remove it from the faucet. If the handle is stuck, heat it up with a hairdryer for five minutes and then pull the handle off the faucet.

  • Slide the metal tube off the faucet and then remove any retaining nuts using a wrench and slide off any metal washers. Pull out the clip or pin holding the faucet's cartridge in place using a pair of needle-nose pliers.

  • Twist the faucet's cartridge counterclockwise to remove it from the water pipe, using either a wrench or a cartridge puller. Coat the new cartridge's threads with plumber's grease and then turn it clockwise into the water pipe until it sits firmly in place. Replace the other parts of the faucet in the reverse order you removed them.

Tips & Warnings

  • Take the old valve cartridge with you to the store to find an exact replacement.

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