How To Replace A Shower Faucet Cartridge

If you have a modern shower, the faucet likely uses a cartridge to regulate the flow of water. The shower faucet cartridge is a pipe with holes attached to the handle that converts water between the tub water supply and inner valve on the shower. The holes help manage the temperature when you use the shower handle.

Common signs the shower faucet cartridge needs replacing are handles that don't turn off and on easily, water spurting from the handle, and trouble controlling water temperature. Here are some steps to replace a shower faucet cartridge.

Turn Off Water

Cover the bathtub drain to avoid losing parts. You will need to shut off the hot and cold valves before you start working to prevent water spurts. Use a flat head screwdriver to shut off the valve behind each handle. If you can't find the shut off valves, turn off the house's main water supply commonly located near your water meter or in an access panel in the basement. Turn on the tub faucet to remove excess water.

Remove the Shower Handle and Cartridge

You will need a standard wrench, screwdriver, utility knife, cartridge puller, and replacement shower cartridge. Pry the face plate from the handle with a utility knife, which should reveal a screw. If the face plate is attached with caulking, cut it with the utility knife.

Carefully loosen the screw with a small wrench to remove the handle. Sometimes, the fasteners to the handle could be under the lever. Since bathtub screws are commonly made of soft copper, use the correct size screwdriver to avoid hardware damage.

The cartridge is the small pipe protruding from the wall secured with a lock nut or lock ring. If the cartridge is attached by a lock ring, remove it with a screwdriver. To remove a lock nut, lubricate it with penetrating oil, and use your wrench to remove it. If the cartridge won't budge, you will need a cartridge puller to remove it.

Replace the Cartridge

Use the old shower faucet cartridge as a guide to buy the replacement and put it back the same way you took the old one off. It helps to apply plumber's tape around the threads of a lock nut type to make the seal tighter. Turn the water back on and try the shower again.

Now that you have installed a new shower faucet cartridge, your shower should be as good as new. If doesn't solve the problem, you likely need plumbing services to find the trouble.