Are you frustrated because the shower diverter in your tub is stuck?
You’re not alone!
Many people face this annoying problem and it can put a damper on your morning routine.
If you’re looking for a way to cut down on costly repairs and unwanted stress, we’ve got good news: with just a few simple steps, you may be able to troubleshoot and repair your shower diverter yourself easily.
We’ll explore why shower diverters become stuck in the first place and how you can attempt basic DIY maintenance at home to get things running smoothly again.
Why is the Shower Diverter Stuck?
A shower diverter is a small device used to control the water flow between two different showerheads or showerheads and handheld shower wands.
It works by allowing either one outlet to be active at a time or both outlets simultaneously for more intense spray options.
The diverter has multiple settings that will enable you to choose the type of shower experience you want.
Shower diverters are typically made of plastic but can be found in some high-end models made from metal or other materials.
They are usually controlled through a small dial on the side of the diverter, allowing you to switch between showerheads with your fingers easily.
Some shower diverters also include special settings, such as a massage setting or a pause button that temporarily stops the water flow.
While shower diverters are generally quite simple and easy to use, they require some maintenance to keep them functioning properly.
It is essential to clean the diverter regularly with a mild detergent or cleaning solution to remove any mineral build-up in the device.
You should also check the diverter to ensure no cracks or other damage could compromise its performance.
So, what could be causing your shower diverter to remain stuck? Here are the most common issues you could encounter.
1. The Shower Diverter is Corroded
One of the most common problems causing a shower diverter is corrosion.
Corrosion is caused by water, which results in the formation of rust.
This rust can impact the diverter and make it start to stick or get jammed when you try to turn it on.
Fixing a stuck shower diverter can be challenging, especially if your metal pipe is corroded.
In these cases, you may even need to replace the diverter altogether.
2. The Shower Diverter is Clogged
The shower diverter can get clogged by hair, dirt or minerals.
This can make it difficult to control the water flow to different shower heads by moving the diverter back and forth.
A clog can cause the shower diverter to stick and you may need to take it apart in order to clear out the blockage.
You can remove the clog using a small wire brush or bottle-cleaning brush.
Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to unclog your shower diverter and get your water flowing freely again.
3. The Shower Diverter is Damaged or Broken
If the shower diverter keeps getting stuck, it may be damaged or broken.
In this instance, you will need to replace the diverter.
Many factors could cause the diverter to break, including age, high water pressure and exposure to hard water or chemicals.
If you notice that the diverter is getting stuck frequently, it may be a good idea to replace it sooner rather than later.
This will help prevent potential damage to other parts of your shower system, such as the faucet or handles.
4. There is a Loose Component Inside the Diverter
If you have a stuck shower diverter, there could be a loose component inside that needs to be tightened or replaced.
To determine what’s causing the issue, you’ll need to take apart the diverter.
This can be done by removing any covers and screws around the diverter and gently pulling out the entire assembly.
5. Faulty Shower Diverter Valve
A shower diverter valve is a small part used to switch the water flow from one shower head (or outlet) to another.
However, when it doesn’t work properly, the result can be a frustrating and inconvenient situation where both showers don’t work at all or only one works.
If you’re experiencing problems with your shower diverter valve, it may be clogged, broken, or just not seated properly.
There are a few things you can try to fix the problem yourself, but if it is seriously clogged, cracked or defective in any way, it will probably need to be replaced.
How to Fix a Stuck Shower Diverter
In certain situations, you will have to leave the task of fixing your stuck shower diverter to a plumber.
However, there are certain beginner-friendly and intermediate-level methods you can try in order to get your shower diverter to work properly again.
1. Check the Diverter for Corrosion
The first step in troubleshooting the shower diverter would be to check for signs of corrosion.
Corrosion is the process of a metal reacting with its environment and deteriorating over time.
In many cases, this deterioration can be very gradual.
However, even in those cases where it happens slowly, corrosion can still cause significant problems.
For example, suppose you have corrosion on a metal pipe or other component that leads to a shower diverter.
In that case, it could prevent the water from flowing through properly and make it difficult or impossible for you to adjust the settings on your shower.
To check for corrosion, closely examine your shower fittings and pipes.
Are there any visible signs of rust or other discoloration?
If you do find signs of corrosion on your shower fittings, there are several steps you can take to address the issue.
First, you may want to try cleaning the corrosion using a specialized rust remover product.
You can also try applying a protective coating to help prevent further corrosion from occurring.
Finally, if these measures are unsuccessful, you will likely need to replace any damaged components to restore proper function to your shower diverter.
With some time and effort, you should be able to resolve any problems with corrosion and get your shower back on track.
2. Remove any Clogs
If you’re having problems with a stuck shower diverter, it could be because your shower head or faucet has some clogs that need to be removed.
Start by shutting off the water supply to your shower to fix the problem.
Then, remove any clogs inside your diverter using a straightened paper clip or a toothpick.
Once you’ve removed any clogs, turn the water back on and test your shower to ensure it’s working properly.
If your problem persists, try adjusting the diverter knob to help get rid of any remaining air bubbles in the system.
If this still doesn’t work, you may consider calling in a plumber to troubleshoot the issue.
It is important to clean all shower elements regularly – shower diverter included.
Cleaning a shower diverter usually involves removing it from the wall, washing it off with soapy water and then putting it back in place.
Some clogs can be difficult to remove, especially if they have been there for a long time.
To get rid of stubborn clogs, you may need to use more force or use different tools, such as a plunger or a wire brush.
While cleaning your shower diverter can be time-consuming and sometimes frustrating, ensuring that this key element is functioning properly is essential.
A clogged diverter can lead to serious plumbing problems down the road.
3. Remove the Faulty Shower Diverter and Install a New One
Doing your own home repairs might seem intimidating, but it can actually be quite simple with the right tools and some patience.
One of the most common plumbing issues that homeowners face is a stuck shower diverter valve.
If you notice water leaking from underneath your shower head every time you turn on the tap, your shower diverter might be the culprit.
Fortunately, there are ways to fix a stuck shower diverter without calling an expensive plumber or tackling the project yourself.
Here are the steps to remove your old shower diverter and install a new one in its place:
- Turn off the water to your shower using the main shutoff valve. This is often located near the floor, just behind or under your bathroom vanity. If you can’t find it there, look for a similar fixture in another part of the house.
- Unscrew and remove the shower head from its bracket by hand. Be sure to set the head aside safely, as this will make reassembling your shower much easier later on.
- Take out the old diverter using needle-nose pliers and a wrench or screwdriver if needed. Most modern shower diverters are attached by simply turning them counterclockwise until they come free from the valve. You may have to remove a piece of metal or plastic casing before you can reach the diverter mechanism itself.
- Lubricate and insert the new shower diverter into place, and carefully line up any gears with their slots correctly. Tighten or screw on your new diverter until it is firmly in place.
- Turn on the water to your shower and test it out by rerunning the tap once all the pipes have been reconnected. Turn off the main valve if you notice that any leaks or drips are coming from the new diverter valve, so you can make adjustments as needed before re-sealing your fixtures.
- Reattach the shower head by screwing it back into its bracket or ensuring the fixture is firmly in place against the wall. If you notice any seepage, tighten the screws and make any other adjustments needed before turning on the water again to check for leaks.
4. Check the Diverter for any Loose Components
Fixing a stuck shower diverter can be tricky, but it’s not impossible.
To start, check the diverter for any loose components.
If there are any loose parts, you’ll need to remove the diverter assembly (you can remove the diverter as described in the previous step) and replace or tighten these components as needed.
Once this is done, reattach the diverter assembly to your faucet and test the diverter to see if it’s working properly.
5. Inspect the Shower Diverter Valve
If your shower diverter is stuck, it’s likely due to a clogged or stuck diverter valve.
This can happen if the valve is made of plastic and has sediment build-up inside or if there’s mineral scale build-up on the inside of the pipe leading to the showerhead.
It is necessary to remove any clogs you find in the valve to get the shower diverter working again.
To clean a clogged diverter valve, you’ll need first to identify where the clog is located in your valve and remove it.
If there’s a sediment build-up inside the valve, you can use an old toothbrush or pipe cleaner to scrub away and loosen any debris.
If there’s mineral scale build-up, you can use vinegar and water solution to dissolve the scale so it can be flushed out of the system.
Once you’ve removed the clog from your valve, reassemble your shower diverter and test it for proper function.