You don't always have to contact a plumber or local handyman to fix or replace equipment in your bathroom. It is a life skill learning how to replace shower faucet, and having other useful parts to fix up bathroom fixtures are a necessary thing. You don't want to suffer through a project that is easy to execute on your own, because you neglected to keep washers, screwdrivers, or other essential tools on hand.
If your shower faucet is suddenly displaying less than stellar performance, it may be time for a change. And all is not lost if you have to learn how to replace shower faucet on your own. A shower faucet and necessary components are relatively inexpensive and provide an opportunity to update or upgrade the look and functions of your shower.
Shower faucets are available for purchase as a complete kit, or you can mix and match different parts if you feel more adventurous. As long as the pieces match up the needs of your bathtub or shower to function, you should be okay.
You can choose from shower faucets in metals like chrome, polished brass, or stainless steel. An updated shower faucet change may allow you to enjoy multiple sprayer functions from the head, a different style of knob or handle to turn on the water or update the look of your bathroom.
Most shower faucets come with an included valve, a shower head, and other parts for proper installation. Shower faucets that come with an extendable hose may create a more comfortable shower experience, than an older model with a fixed shower head that is stationary.
Reasons Why A Shower Faucet Needs Replacement
Your old shower faucet needs an overhaul if you are living with inconsistent water flow from the spout, dripping is spotted coming from the handles, or the handles are visibly cracked and wearing away.
Bathtub shower combinations get a lot of use, and the diverter in the spout can go bad over time. Although many parts for a shower have a reasonable shelf-life if correctly installed and maintained, over time wear-and-tear and water can destroy vital parts.
Debris and sediment coming from the main water pipe to a shower can cause buildup to form within the shower valve, or cause damage to the spout.
Washers, O-rings, and threads inside a spout can crack or wear away over time. Eventually, as parts age, they break down and show visible signs of degradation and function more poorly.
If your shower has significant water damage, you will need to know how to replace shower faucet with or without assistance.
Water damage may show itself as the sound of water trickling alongside pipes within the wall, water stains, tile damage, or rust and corrosion around the shower faucet.
If you observe that it becomes harder to turn the controls of your shower faucet, there is inconsistent water pressure, or the water temperature fluctuates often, you may want to give your shower faucet a closer look.
When the shower is on, you should not experience water coming out of the spout and the shower head at the same time. The diverter may need replacement, a new sealant, or adjusting. It is possible to patch some parts up, whereas other plumbing issues require installing a new faucet set-up.
Replace Your Shower Faucet
First, before jumping into replacing your shower faucet, you will want to familiarize yourself with the styles of shower faucets and assess what you already have installed.
There are three common styles of shower faucets:
Single-handed faucets use a single control to control the temperature and water flow
Two-handled faucets are discernible because they have two separate controls for hot and cold water
Three-handled faucets use a handle to control hot water, cold water, and to divert water to the showerhead.
It is better to install a shower faucet that is similar to the one you are replacing. Otherwise, you may have to go through the wall and overhaul the existing shower valve, pipe set-up, and points where equipment must be located to function.
Before you make any changes to your shower faucet, make sure to cut off the main shut-off valve. You don't want to deal with a spurt of water flooding your workspace, or possibly scalding you. If the main shut-off is on when you begin work, you may cause unwanted water damage to the walls located behind the shower faucet.
Gather the following tools to help you get the job done right:
A Phillips-head screwdriver and flathead screwdriver
A new faucet unit to be installed
An adjustable wrench and slip-jaw pliers
Take a flathead screwdriver and slip it between the space of the old faucet handle and trim cap. Pop off the trim cap carefully for both handles, one at a time.
Next, you will want to take the Phillips screwdriver and remove the screw inside the faucet handle. You may want to rotate the screw in a counterclockwise direction to loosen things up. Once the handle is loose enough, pull it off the mount. Do this for both faucets.
There will be an escutcheon which covers up the hole in the wall which gives your handle mounts the space it needs. Without using excessive force, you will want to carefully pry the escutcheon away from the wall for each handle. Singular shower control setups for the faucet will only have one escutcheon.
Take your time with removing parts. Although you will be replacing the old model, you don't want to be too rough or go too quickly, because you may risk damaging the walls, pipe fixtures, or yourself.
You'll want to locate and loosen the retaining nut that is on the faucet posts. It should be inside the hole that was covered from view by the escutcheon. It will be helpful to remove this nut using an adjustable wrench. Afterward, pull out the tip of the faucet handle's mount using slip-jaw pliers, pulling the post entirely out of the plumbing.
Replace the faucet post with the one available to you in the new faucet kit, and in the same location as the older model. Make sure the post is securely fastened by attaching a new retaining nut. Use the adjustable wrench to remove and replace the posts as needed.
Place new escutcheons over the newly installed faucet posts, and then attach the new handles.
You can make sure to keep things tight by using your Phillips screwdriver to secure the mounting screws. Don't forget to replace the trim caps over the new handles.
Step back and inspect your work. Make sure that everything is in its proper place, securely tightened, and looks good.
Once you are satisfied with your installation, it is time to test your handiwork. Turn the shut-off valve back on, and turn on your new shower faucet replacement.
Troubleshooting During A Shower Faucet Replacement
If a single-lever style shower faucet has poor temperature control, the cartridge could be faulty or damaged. A valve can become clogged because of debris from the water main. It is also possible that the valve was installed incorrectly.
Sometimes the reason that a shower faucet set-up is leaking or has poor pressure is that the shower valve behind the wall is damaged. It is possible to fix-up a shower valve with replacement parts, or the entire valve may need replacing.
Keep extra O-rings, washers, and screws on hand in case something manages to slip away from you.
If lighting is poor, feel free to use a flashlight. And have a bucket and rag in case you need to clean up an unforeseen mess.
Even if you turn off the main cut-off for the water before starting your home project, unexpected leaks from breaks in the pipe, shower valve, mold, mildew, or rust may be present. Be prepared for the possibility that you may have a more massive project than a simple shower faucet replacement on your hands, especially with older plumbing fixtures and buildings.
Take your time during the installation of the replacement shower faucet, and do things step-by-step in order, to lessen the chance of skipping something important.
Maintain Your Shower Faucet For Longevity
Most shower faucet units enjoy a life expectancy of 10 years or more, provided that your plumbing is in working order, there is no extensive water damage and have been correctly installed.
Older shower faucets and valves may not be hardy enough to endure frequent hot showers at a high water pressure.
Aging shower faucets may be susceptible to corroded washers and O-rings, clogging from sediments and debris from the water main, expose dripping water, or become chipped and cracked. In many cases, you may have to do some light maintenance to keep your shower faucet working it's best.
Sometimes other problems with your set-up are the problem, such as a damaged shower valve cartridge, leaking or clogged pipes, mold, mildew, rust, or a poorly-functioning water heater.
Being able to replace a shower faucet successfully allows you greater understanding and appreciation for indoor plumbing, and is a simple way to give your bathroom a makeover without much effort.