How to Fix a Shower Diverter

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Turning on your shower should be as easy as the flip of a switch. But when your shower diverter breaks, taking a shower goes from easy to frustrating as water continues to pour from your tub’s faucet after you’ve switched the diverter. Luckily, repairing a shower diverter is quick and fairly simple.

What Is a Shower Diverter?

A shower diverter reroutes water from your bathtub faucet to your showerhead. Many shower diverters are controlled by a pin knob that you pull, but there are many types. They may also be activated with a button or with a third faucet handle between the bathtub’s hot and cold knobs. Whatever the shape of your diverter, they all perform the same function.

How to Determine If Your Shower Diverter Is Broken

This one’s easy. If, after you trigger your shower diverter, water continues to flow from the bathtub spout rather than the showerhead, the shower diverter is not working properly.

This could mean that the inner rubber stopper isn't creating a good seal to fully block and redirect the flow of water, or it could be another problem. Follow the steps below to troubleshoot and address the issue.

Step-by-Step Guide to Fix a Shower Diverter

Once you’ve determined that your shower diverter is broken, don’t delay in fixing it. Though it might be an easy task to put off, a broken shower diverter wastes water and creates a poor shower experience.

Repairing a shower diverter is a home improvement project that you can complete in just one day. Here’s a seven-step guide you can follow to repair a broken shower diverter:

  1. Turn off the water supply to your shower. Typically, there is an access panel near your shower or basement. Once located, turn the valve closed to stop the water flow to your shower.
  2. Seal off your drain with tape so that small screws or other important parts are not lost down the drainpipe.
  3. Tighten the screws behind the faceplate of the diverter valve. If you attempt this fix but the water continues to pour or leak slowly from the bathtub spout after the shower diverter has been engaged, move on to the next step.
  4. Disassemble the shower diverter. If your diverter has a rotating valve, unscrew the nut at the stem of the diverter and remove the entire valve. If it has a gate-type valve, unscrew the threaded tub spout.
  5. Replace the diverter. To be sure you purchase the correct replacement, bring your old diverter with you to the store.
  6. Install the new diverter, making sure that the parts do not cross-thread each other. Use a wrench to tighten the diverter. Be careful not to overtighten it. Twist the gate or adjust the stopper to ensure that it is in the correct position, depending on whether it is engaged.
  7. Turn on the water supply. Engage the shower diverter, directing the water flow to the showerhead. If your shower flows well and no water leaks from the bathtub spout, then your shower diverter replacement was successful.

If replacing the diverter did not solve the problem, we recommend contacting a plumber for assistance.

Prevent Shower Diverter Wear and Tear

To reduce strain and wear on your shower diverter and help prevent the need for shower diverter repair, always release the diverter to let water flow from the tub faucet for a few seconds before you turn off the water.

If you’re not up for doing shower repairs yourself, call Mr. Rooter® Plumbing for help. Our plumbers are dedicated to exceptional customer service while they provide you with expert plumbing repair. Call Mr. Rooter or request an estimate today.