A leaky shower faucet isn’t just annoying, it wastes water. The culprit is typically a worn cartridge. Removing and replacing a cartridge is fast and easy. After a quick trip to the hardware store for a replacement, all you’ll need is about 20 minutes and some basic supplies. Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand for this inexpensive project:
TOOLS & MATERIALS
- Tongue & Groove Pliers
- Allen Wrenches
- Phillips Screwdriver
- Replacement Cartridge
- Cartridge Puller (if needed)
- Spray Lubricant (if needed)
When taking on this DIY task, be sure to equip yourself with the proper safety gear.
- Eye Protection
Turn Off Water Supply. Start by turning off the water supply to your shower. If you’re lucky, shut off valves will be located in an access panel behind your shower faucet. If this is the case, turn off both hot and cold water supplies. If you don’t have an access panel, you’ll have to turn off your home’s main water supply. You’ll find this in either your basement, utility room, or in an outdoor buffalo box. Once you shut off the main water supply, turn on a faucet on a lower level of your home to release water pressure in your pipes.
Remove Handle. Now that the water supply is off, you’ll remove your shower handle. Most are held in place with a small socket head screw. Turn the handle upward to find the screw and remove it with an Allen wrench (you may need to try two or three to find one that fits). To remove the faucet faceplate, unfastened screw, or release the retainer clip.
Remove Metal Adapter. Remove the cylindrical metal adapter, using pliers if needed.
Remove Cartridge. To remove the cartridge, grip the stem with pliers, and, without straining the faucet body, pull the cartridge toward you until it releases. If it’s stuck, spray with lubricant. If you can reach the top of the cartridge with long-nose pliers, you might be able to turn the cartridge in its housing to release it. As the cartridge comes out, be sure to note its orientation. Many have “HC” imprinted on the top. It’s crucial that you buy the correct replacement cartridge for your repair. We recommend bringing your old cartridge to the hardware store so you can find the right replacement.
Install Cartridge. You’ll now push your new cartridge into place. Apply lubricant as directed, and, orienting it correctly, push into its housing and reinstall the retainer pin. Then, set the metal handle adapter in place.
Turn on Water Supply. Restore the water supply and turn on the faucet. Allow trapped air to escape, then turn the faucet off, and on, a couple of times to test your repair.
Reassemble Faucet. Now that your repair is complete it’s time to put everything back together. Reinstall the face plate and handle.
Your project is finished step back, and admire your newly-repaired shower handle.