Finding Plumbing Issues Early

Fixing A Leaky Shower

by Chris Bowman

If the constant dripping of your shower keeps you awake at night, don't put up with it anymore. With a few simple tools and a couple of hours of your time, you can fix that drip. Here are the steps to quiet down that noisy shower.

Tools and Supplies for This DIY Project

  • flat-blade screwdriver
  • channellock pliers
  • a couple of rags for clean up

From the plumbing supplies or home improvement store:

  • replacement washers
  • tube of plumbing grease

Every plumbing fixture manufacturer makes their own faucet components. The best way to ensure that you have the right washers for your shower faucet is to take the cartridge to the plumbing supply store and have the staff there match the washers for you.

Removing the Old Faucet Cartridge

  1. Remove the decorative cap from the center of the shower faucet handle.
  2. Loosen the screw in the center of the handle.
  3. Pull the handle off of the cartridge and set it aside for use later.
  4. Pull the stop tube off from around the cartridge.
  5. Remove the clip that secures the cartridge in place.
  6. Pull the cartridge straight out of the wall.
  7. The cartridge has one or two rubber washers on it that need to be replaced to stop the leak. Take the cartridge to the plumbing supply store and get the right washers.

Reassembling the Faucet

  1. Place a dab of the plumber's grease on the new washers on the cartridge.
  2. Insert the cartridge into the hole and turn gently while pushing it into place. You'll feel a click as the cartridge settles into the correct position.
  3. Secure the cartridge in place with the clip.
  4. Push the stop tube in place around the cartridge.
  5. Replace the handle on the end of the cartridge and secure it with the screw.
  6. Replace the decorative cap on the handle over the screw.
  7. Turn the water back on to the shower and check for leaks.

Problems You May Encounter

If you experience any of these issues, you may need a plumbing service help you finish the project.

  • The handle won't come off or the cartridge won't come out because of corrosion. The plumber will have to force these components off, clean off the corrosion and install new parts.
  • The faucet is old and the cartridge and washers aren't made any more. You may have to have a plumbing supply company try to find a used cartridge or custom make a new one for you. You might consider having a plumber like Marcum Plumbing Services, Inc. install an all new shower system unless you're partial to your antique components.