Types of Shower Diverters and How To Replace a Shower Diverter Valve

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Installing a new shower involves a lot more than just picking the shower and faucets. Figuring out the water flow and plumbing are possibly the most complicated factors. There are many different types of shower diverters on the market these days.

It cannot be easy to decide which one is right for your needs. In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of shower diverter valves and their functions. So, whether you are looking to buy a new shower diverter or just want to learn more about them, read on!

What Is A Shower Diverter Valve, And Why Do I Need One?

Firstly it is important to mention that a lot of people confuse shower diverter valves with shower valves or simply don’t know the difference. They do look very similar; however, they are very different in functionality. The main difference is a diverter valve directs the flow of water between outlets while a shower valve controls the water pressure and temperature.

If you have a small bathroom with a tub, using a shower diverter valve will allow you to install a shower over the tub, eliminating the need for any extra pipes or faucets.

Types Of Shower Diverters

Delta Shower Arm Diverter for Hand Shower, Chrome

These diverter valves usually sit behind the wall. There are different types of shower diverter valves on the market and we will cover the most common ones.

1. Tee Diverter / Single-Valve Diverter

Tee Diverter / Single-Valve Diverter

The tee diverter is usually located in the tub faucet. Pushing the handle will open the water flow to the tub, and pulling it up will divert the water to the shower handle. This is the most simple form the diverter valve comes in.

2. Two-Valve Diverter

Two-Valve Diverter

The valve is comprised of 3 ports: 1 inlet port & 2 outlets, and the body is made of brass. The water enters through the inlet, and the valve then diverts the water to the different fixtures. You can use 4 port diverters as 2-way diverters simply by plugging the unused ports.

3. Three-Valve Diverter

Three-Valve Diverter

This type of diverter typically sits in between the hot and cold tap and can be activated by turning it 180 degrees diverting the water to the showerhead and turning it anti-clockwise.

The water will be diverted back to the tub faucet.

4. Push Button Diverter

Push Button Diverter

The push-button diverter is typically used for a 2 function shower system using a pull or push mechanism. The diverter valve comes already attached to a pressure balance valve, making it very user-friendly and easy to direct the water from one faucet to another.

The one downside is that the water flow is either fully on or completely off, not allowing control of the water flow.

How To Properly Turn Off A Shower Diverter

Once the valve is released, the water will flow to the tub faucet; however, it is good practice to release the diverter to let the remaining water flow back to the tub before shutting off the water.

This will minimize strain on the diverter valve extending the lifespan of the valve while giving you fewer problems.

How To Replace A Shower Diverter Valve

You have checked and determined that the shower diverter valve is the cause of the problem.

  1. Turn off the water supply.
  1. The first thing to check is if the diverter can be repaired and cleaned. Usually, tightening the screws that sit behind the faceplate will solve the issue. If you are still experiencing problems, then replacing the valve may be your only option.
  1. Remove and disassemble the old shower diverter. If you have a valve that rotates, then unscrew the bolt at the base and remove the valve. The other type of valve is a gate-type valve that you unscrew at the threaded tub spout.
  1. Install the new shower diverter valve by tightening the valve in place using a wrench. Make sure the valve is in the correct position by either tweaking the stopper or twisting the gate. Additionally, you will need to make sure that the parts are not cross-threading, and remember, NEVER overtighten.
  1. It’s time to switch the water on and do a test run. Check there are no leaks from the tub faucet and the water is flowing seamlessly to the showerhead. You’re done with the installation.

Common Issues With Diverter Valves

Diverter valves are generally quite durable and should stand the test of time. However, high sediment content in the water can clog the valve over time and cause it to eventually malfunction.

Typically the most common problem is when the diverter valve is unable to completely close on either side due to residue build-up resulting in loss of water pressure in the showerhead; alternatively, it can cause the water to flow out the tub spout and showerhead simultaneously.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are there no 4-way Diverters?

The simple answer is because there is no demand, the manufacturer just does not make them. There are not a lot of bathrooms that have four outlets, so there isn’t any need for a 4-way diverter.

How do I know if my shower diverter valve is bad?

If your shower diverter is faulty, then one of the first signs will be loss of functionality. 

When you try to use the diverter, the water won’t flow through to the bathtub faucet or the showerhead, and you may also start to see rusty water coming out of the faucet. 

Can a shower valve get clogged?

If you live in an area where the water is particularly hard, then the high mineral content in the water will build up over time within the faucet and diverter valve, causing it to stick and finally completely stop working. 

Can you clean a shower diverter valve?

To properly clean a shower diverter valve that is full of grim or calcium build-up, you will need to remove the faucet and place it in a deep bowl or small bucket of distilled white vinegar. 

Leave the faucet in the vinegar for an hour, and then, using a small brush and sprinkles of baking soda, clean out any areas you can reach. 

Wash the faucet with water before attaching it back to the pipes and the bathtub.

Why does water come out of my shower head and the spout at the same time?

There are a few reasons that your showerhead and bathtub faucet are running at the same time. This phenomenon is known as ‘shower rise’. If water is unable to flow freely through the faucet, then part of the water will be forced out of the showerhead.

  • Most of the time, a blockage is usually the culprit. This could be mineral build-up or something stuck. 
  • An incorrectly installed valve
  • Piping installed with too many 90-degree angles

In Conclusion

In conclusion, there are a few different types of diverter valves that are available on the market, not to mention the different brands. Make sure to buy the same brand valve and trim and check that they are compatible.

If you have any specific questions or problems with your diverter valve, then it is always best to seek professional help.

We hope this article helped explain the basics of diverter valves and how they work. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to us. We would be happy to help you in any way we can.

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