How to Replace a Shower Manifold

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Properly working showers are an important part of bathrooms.
Properly working showers are an important part of bathrooms. (Image: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Shower manifolds — or valves — connect to the hot and cold or combined hot/cold water handles, but are located within the shower wall. They mix the water for either shower or tub use. Like any plumbing part in a house, shower manifolds will eventually wear out and need to be replaced. If the bathroom plumbing is older than 60 years, repair parts may have to be specially ordered. However, if newer than 60 years, manifolds are readily available at home materials supply stores. With a basic knowledge of tools and plumbing, a home owner can replace a shower manifold.

Things You'll Need

  • Towels
  • Small ice pick or other similar small, sharp-pointed tool
  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Crescent wrench
  • New manifold appropriate for the existing shower valve to be replaced
  • Copper pipe cutting tools for unthreaded manifold installation
  • Channel wrench for unthreaded manifold installation
  • Soldering materials for unthreaded manifold installation

Shut off main house water valve.

Drain water from the shower pipes by turning handles on; turn handles to off position when all water has drained.

Place towel on shower or tub floor to protect the finish.

Pop the valve cap off with the ice pick. Remove the handle screw with the flat-head screwdriver. Take off the shower handle. Remove any other parts between the valve and the handle.

Remove any flanges or mounting nuts with a crescent wrench.

Remove the backside wall access panel or the front mounted shower panel to the interior wall shower plumbing.

Close any stop-check valves by turning them to the right.

Remove the lock nut from the valve body with a crescent wrench.

Insert a towel around the manifold underside to catch any water drips.

Unscrew the threaded manifold unit or cut copper pipes to the unit, if soldered.

Install the new manifold unit per product instructions; if soldering an unthreaded unit, remove the cartridge and replace after soldering the manifold in place. Crimp copper pipes for unthreaded manifold installation with the channel wrench.

Reassemble the shower handles, attaching to the new manifold in the reverse order from removing them.

Reattach access paneling. Repair any access holes made to reach interior wall plumbing.

Tips & Warnings

  • As you remove shower handle parts, lay them in order on a towel; this makes reassembly a snap.
  • If no access paneling is available, start a cutting hole with a 1/2-inch drill bit, and cut an opening with either a key hole saw or jig saw.
  • Plastic and rubber portions of the cartridge will melt if the cartridge is not temporarily removed prior to soldering an unthreaded manifold to existing copper pipes.
  • Avoid cutting through electric wires; proceed with care when cutting any new wall openings.

References

  • Black & Decker The Complete Guide to Plumbing: Expanded 4th Edition - Modern Materials and Current Codes - All New Guide to Working with Gas Pipe (Black & Decker Complete Guide); Editors of Creative Publishing
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