Tub faucet leak when shower is on?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum' started by sbattisti, Sep 20, 2008.

  1. Sep 20, 2008 #1

    sbattisti

    sbattisti

    sbattisti

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    Hi folks, first post here.

    I fall squarely into the category of "severely home improvement inept". So, if you are kind enough to respond to this thread, please assume the following:

    a. If it's a tool other than a hammer, I probably need detailed instructions about what the tool is. :)

    b. If it's something I have to buy that could POSSIBLY have more than one size, type, or model, please help me figure out exactly which one to buy, because I am genetically predisposed to selecting the wrong one!

    So, in other words, while I appreciate your help in advance, please don't say "Oh, no problem, just whammus the frammus with a 3/8" circular frindebund!"

    OK, caveat over, here's my deal:

    I just moved into an 18-year old townhouse, with various small projects I need to tackle. The first thing I'm curious about is my shower. It's a standard bathtub, with the faucet with the little plug you pull up to turn the shower on. The knob is a push-off/pull-on single knob.

    I have two problems:

    1. When I pull up the plug with the water running, about half of the water comes out of the faucet, instead of the shower head, with the result that the shower has very poor water pressure. (Well, I'm not 100% certain the two are related, but I suspect this to be the case.)

    2. The entire shower unit seems to be "loose." That is, if I grab the shower knob and pull gently, both the knob and the faucet will move simultaneously. I can push/pull them about 1/2" in either direction.

    So, any suggestions as to how I can fix these issues, or is this plumber material?

    Thanks very much in advance!

    Steve
     
  2. Sep 21, 2008 #2

    majakdragon

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    sbattisti, we have all been where you are at one time or another. That's why DIY sites are so popular.
    Your problem is in the tub spout. It is called a diverter and when you lift the knob, it blocks off water through the spout and directs it to the shower head. The fastest and easiest way to fix it is by replacing the spout. There are two types. Look under the spout where it meets the wall. If there is a slot in the bottom of the spout, there is an allen screw that holds the spout on. To remove the spout, unscrew the screw and "twist and pull" on the spout. There are "O" rings that make a seal and these make it a bit stiff to remove. If there is no slot, the spout is threaded onto a pipe. Use channel-locks or a pipewrench and turn counter-clockwise to remove. Take the old spout with you to a Home Improvement store for a replacement. Reverse the procedure to reinstall. The movement you spoke of is probably due to the pipe not being secured to studs when installed. Tough to repair without cutting into the wall.
     
  3. Sep 21, 2008 #3

    sbattisti

    sbattisti

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    Great, thanks very much for this, I'll give it a try!
     
  4. Oct 2, 2008 #4

    sbattisti

    sbattisti

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    This may be a tremendously stupid question, but before attempting something like this, do I need to shut off the water to the shower?
     
  5. Oct 2, 2008 #5

    majakdragon

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    Nope. Just make sure you don't "bump" the on/off handles while working on the spout. The only time water is at the spout is when the handles are on.
     
  6. Oct 2, 2008 #6

    sbattisti

    sbattisti

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    Sorry, one more question before I tackle this this weekend.

    I noticed that the place where the spout meets the shower wall is currently caulked. Is this something I should repeat once I install the new spout? If so, are there special types of caulk used for such things? I literally have never used caulk in my life, so advice here would be appreciate!

    Also, is this the sort of operation that would require "flux"? If so, what's the story there?

    Thanks, as always?

    Steve
     
  7. Oct 2, 2008 #7

    majakdragon

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    You will want to cut/remove the caulk since it will allow easier removal of the spout. Pick up a tube (squeeze tube will work) of tub and tile caulk. Squeeze a bead of the caulk around the new spout to prevent water from running into the wall when using the shower. I like using a spoon dipped in water to smooth out the bead of caulk for a nice finished look. A finger will work but spoons are not as messy. No flux or soldering is necessary.
     
  8. Oct 3, 2008 #8

    sbattisti

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    For what it's worth, it turns out it IS the kind of spout that has the slot with the allen screw. I'm tackling this this weekend, wish me luck!! :)

    majakdragon, when I replace, I ONLY need to replace the spout, right? There should be no need to replace the knobs or anything like that unless there is a problem?
     
  9. Oct 4, 2008 #9

    majakdragon

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    You should have nothing but the spout to work on. Remove the caulk, remove the allen screw, twist the spout to break loose any calcium deposits that may be holding it, and then twist and pull steadily outward on the the spout. You don't want to jerk on it since you could break something inside the wall. The "O" ring(s) that seal the spout may give you a bit of a problem but the spout should slide off.
     
  10. Oct 6, 2008 #10

    sbattisti

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    Yay, it worked! Thanks so much for your help. It didn't quite go as smoothly as I'd hoped, but it worked out in the end. (Caulk is harder to apply neatly than you might expect...) Can't beat that for $15 and a half an hour of my time.
     
  11. Oct 6, 2008 #11

    majakdragon

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    Glad I could help.
     
  12. Mar 31, 2011 #12

    lava

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    Sorry to necro-bump this thread guys, but I'm in this same predicament; my bathtub spout leaks when the shower is on. I can fill a few buckets full of water in one shower! It's kind of out of control. My tub spout is the kind that threads onto a pipe and has no diverter control. The diverter control is a knob higher up on the wall. Do I have to take that knob off to get to the diverter?
     
  13. Mar 31, 2011 #13

    Redwood

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    Your problem is probably quite different from that of the original poster.

    While your diverter valve may be leaking there are many other places that the problem could also be including stem packings, the riser, and the shower arm where it connects to the riser. Another possibility is also the sealing of the walls and escutcheons against water from the shower.

    In any case you should stop collecting buckets of water and get the leak fixed before your floor rots out and the tub lands in the basement.
     
  14. Mar 31, 2011 #14

    lava

    lava

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    So if the tub spout is leaking, then it's likely that something inside the wall may be as well? Good point! I will look into it.
     
  15. Apr 1, 2011 #15

    Redwood

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    Rereading this you are saying that water is coming out of the tub spout while the shower is selected?

    The diverter valve needs to be replaced/repaired.

    I thought you were talking about it leaking elsewhere...
     
  16. Apr 1, 2011 #16

    lava

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    Yes, that's what I'm saying. Can I find the diverter valve behind the knob on the wall that controls it?
     
  17. Apr 1, 2011 #17

    Redwood

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    Yes but repairs are usually accomplished under the handle without opening the wall up...

    Do you know what kind of valve you have? If not post a picture of it...
     
  18. Apr 1, 2011 #18

    lava

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    Redwood, I went ahead and opened everything up. Didn't have the right wrench so I got one for $6 at Lowes. Once I pulled the diverter out, it was obvious that I had some cracked gaskets. Replaced them for $0.79 and everything is fixed now!
     
  19. Apr 2, 2011 #19

    Redwood

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    Nice! :clap:
     
  20. May 17, 2011 #20

    colocowgirlinalaska

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    Is this the same thing to do with a pull down faucet? Mine is cheap plastic and the water control is not a hot and a cold. It is a rotatin temp. control above the faucet.
     

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