Few things in life are as relaxing as a nice, hot shower. But have you ever wondered how the water makes its way up to the showerhead? It’s thanks to a plumbing part called a shower diverter. Knowing how it works isn’t just fun trivia – it can help you identify an issue in your bathroom before it impacts the hot showers you know and love.
What is a Shower Diverter?
If you have a combo bathtub and shower, your faucet handle has a way of changing the flow of water from the tub spout up to the showerhead, and the other way around. When you use this handle, you are activating the shower diverter, which is the valve behind the wall that directs the water.
Here is How Shower Diverters Work
You should be aware that there’s a water pipe that sends water to your tub faucet. What you may not know is that this pipe also extends vertically to your showerhead. When you open the diverter valve, water is diverted to the showerhead. When the diverter valve is closed, it stops the flow of water up to the showerhead and redirects it back down to your tub spout.
There Are Three Different Types of Shower Diverters:
- Three-valve diverter – These are usually found when there are separate knobs for hot and cold water. After you find the right combination of hot and cold water, you turn the third handle clockwise to send the water to the showerhead. When you’re done showering, turn the handle counterclockwise to redirect the water to the tub.
- Two-valve diverter – This type of diverter is usually found with a single-handle faucet. The larger handle on the assembly will control the temperature while the smaller handle or level will control the direction of the water.
- Single-valve or T diverter – This is the most common type of diverter. If you have a handle that pulls straight up from the tub faucet, you likely have a T diverter. When you push the handle down, it opens the flow of water to the tub spout.
Noticing Problems With a Shower Diverter
Over time, it’s not uncommon for the shower diverter to wear out, especially rubber parts like washers. When this happens, you may notice leaks or changes in your shower. Here are some of the most common signs that it’s time to replace your shower diverter.
- Leaks from below the bathtub
- Showerhead with decreased water pressure
- Trouble switching the water from tub to showerhead
These issues aren’t just annoying, they can lead to water damage, which is why you should have the shower diverter replaced right away. The part isn’t very expensive but there can be significant labor to gain access behind the shower faucet or wall.
Signs It’s Time to Change Your Showerhead
There are times when it’s a good idea to consider changing your showerhead. Knowing the signs of when it’s time can help you ensure that you have the best possible experience while taking a shower. Here are some signs that it might be time to upgrade your showerhead:
1. Low flow – Are you noticing a decrease in water pressure from your showerhead? If the flow is no longer strong, it may be time to upgrade and get a new one.
2. Heavy staining – Have you noticed unsightly discoloration or staining on your current showerhead? This could indicate that there is a buildup of minerals or other substances that need to be removed, and it could also mean that the showerhead needs to be replaced.
3. Poor water temperature – Do you find yourself struggling to get the right temperature for your shower? If so, this could be an indication that something is wrong with your current setup and you need to get a new showerhead.
4. Leaks and drips – One of the most obvious signs that it’s time for a new showerhead is if you are constantly dealing with leaks or drips. If you have water pooling on the floor after each shower, then it’s definitely time for an upgrade.
Local Plumbing Experts
If you’re experiencing issues with your shower, don’t ignore it and hope it will go away on its own. Instead, call the plumbing pros at Rick’s Plumbing. We proudly serve New Haven and Fairfield Counties in Connecticut. You can reach us at 203-874-6629.