If your shower diverter is causing you problems, you should read on to discover the three key methods to resolve it fast. Shower units are probably one of our homes’ most used and necessary functions.
Therefore, when there is a sudden breakdown, it can be totally debilitating. Very often, shower issues are a result of fundamental mechanical issues rather than a problem with water flow. The most common issue is a stiff or stuck shower diverter.
This critical piece of our shower unit can quickly render you helpless and leave you late for work because you were forced to have a bath instead. This article will summarize the three primary methods of fixing this frustrating problem and getting your shower system back up and running.
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What is a Shower Diverter?
Shower units are often positioned over a bath. This is to save space in your home, not requiring additional space and units for a separate shower.
Combined showers and baths are most common in traditional homes, well before using eclectic heater showers. You will often find that it is the same pipe system that can be used for bath faucets or shower heads.
For this to function, there is a simple valve system or diverter set up to direct water to the correct outlet of your choosing. A remarkably simple mechanism is crucial for these systems to run.
When the diverter fails or is stuck, you will appreciate how important the job is. In addition, solving the problem is often feasible at home if you have the appropriate knowledge.
Dealing With a Stuck Diverter
If you encounter a stuck diverter, there are several methods you can employ at home before you call in the costly professionals. Even if you are not a keen DIYer, there are some simple techniques you can perform to resolve the issue.
Although dealing with plumbing systems can be very problematic if mishandled, it is safer than dealing with other household utilities. Electrical and gas issues have some undeniable fatal consequences. However, piping and waterworks are much more approachable. Read below for some of the most likely causes and most straightforward fixes you can do for yourself.
Scrubbing The Water Spout
One of the first ports of call should be to address the condition of the entire faucet system. Grime and scaling build-up is the leading cause of malfunctioning water systems.
It will not necessarily be due to poor cleaning practices on your part. Over time, particularly hard water areas will produce a build-up of minerals on the interior and exterior of the piping.
The build-up can simply prevent the valve movement. However, there will often be long-term symptoms as it will become harder and harder to move over time.
Fortunately, it is a reasonably straightforward process to resolve at home. The best method for dissolving mineral or grim build-up is to sock the system in corrosive agents to work their magic over time.
You will need elastic bands, white distilled vinegar, and small plastic bags to address this. Fill the bags with vinegar and attach them with the band over the diverter dial, the taps, and the faucet itself.
Ideally, as many of the openings should be sitting in a pool of vinegar, you should ideally leave them for around 24 hours for them to take effect. Vinegar is a naturally occurring acid that will corrode the build-ups over time while ensuring no damage to your metal piping.
After 24 hours, remove the bags and allow warm water to pass through the system for five minutes. This will dislodge the remaining blockage and should allow your water to follow freely.
Lack of Lubrication
If you find that the diverter is still stiff after the vinegar treatment, then there is likely to be an issue with friction. Before you move onto this stage, you must first complete the scrubbing and grime removal stage.
Although it is not a typical mechanical feature, the diverter and water taps are all simple pieces of metal that have to move. As any handy person will know, when two pieces of moving metal touch, it is essential that they have lubrication to prevent damage and allow freedom of movement.
When the divert system is manufactured, the internal movement is soaked in water-resistant lubricant for it to function optimally. However, this can be eroded either slowly over time or by a fault in the installation process.
To resolve this, you can use basic cooking oil or, ideally, some form of water-resistant spray lubricant. Coat the entire area thoroughly, focusing specifically on the joint between the diverter valve and the piping. You cannot over-lubricate, so you can be extremely generous.
These thin lubricants are excellent at penetrating tight spaces. After you have coated the area, wait around 15 minutes to allow the oil to get into the nooks and crannies.
Wipe off and since down the area with hot water. Hot water will help move the excess water and heat the penetrating oil, thinning it and allowing it to penetrate the stuck section even more deeply.
Now try and move the valve. It will most likely still be stiff and need considerable force to get it moving. However, this is normal, and once it has freed, you can rotate it a few times to ensure it is covered in new oil.
Replacing The Spout System
If you have attempted cleaning and lubricating the system, you may have to take slightly more drastic actions. It may seem like an extreme next step, but it might be time to replace the entire spout.
Do not panic. This sounds like a far more laborious task than you may think. However, it is a job you will have no problem doing at home, and it will certainly fix the problem permanently. Here are a series of steps for you to take, which are applicable for essentially every system.
- Turn off your mains water supply and run your bath taps to empty the system of water.
- Use the appropriate screwdriver or key set to remove the fixing screw and remove the entire spout system from the wall mount.
- Take your spout to your local hardware store to ensure you are purchasing the correct replacement.
- Inspect the exposed piping and assess for any grime and debris build-up. Utilize the same vinegar technique and wire brush to clean the area.
- Replace the spout with your new one ensuring that you fix the same screws as they came out.
- Turn the mains water supply back on and allow the taps to run for one minute. Then attempt to use the diverter, confirming that there are no leaks and that the water can be diverted freely.
Although it may seem like a problematic and unwarranted resolution, it is a crucial step to consider. Over time your plumbing system will develop faults and wear out. However, considering the frequency it is used, they are generally incredibly robust and will require very few replacements during their lifetime.
Nothing is Working
If you complete the three steps above and you are still experiencing issues, then you may have to resort to a different approach. If there are ongoing issues even after your diverter has been replaced, then there is likely to be a more serious issue.
Most often, this will not be the case, and the system will be back up and running. However, if it is a persistent issue, it is time that you call in the experts to evaluate and resolve a more complex issue with your water system.
A malfunctioning shower diverter is a devastating problem that will render your unit useless. However, this prevalent problem can generally be tackled at home.
Therefore, even if you are not a keen DIYer, you should be able to attempt the cleaning and lubricating methods, which are the most common causes with the most straightforward fixes.
So next time you are faced with this disaster, you can take a breath and follow the steps above to guarantee that you will fix your system quickly and easily.
Last update on 2024-03-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API