What Is A Shower Faucet Cartridge?
What Is A Shower Faucet Cartridge?
A shower faucet cartridge is a type of valve that controls the flow and temperature of water in a single-handle faucet.
It has holes that regulate water flow and temperature when you turn the handle, and it offers more precise control than other types of faucets.
The cartridge is connected to a handle and resides within a valve, which resides within the faucet. When you turn the handle of a faucet, the handle turns the cartridge within the valve to control the flow of water out of the spout of the faucet.
Cartridges tend to have o-rings and other parts that fail over time, which can result in leaks, hot and cold water mixing when they shouldn’t, even when the fixture is turned off.
Replacing a shower faucet cartridge is easy assuming mineral deposits and corrosion don’t hamper your efforts. Accessing the cartridge requires turning off the water supply before disassembling it.
The cartridge is behind the handle, but fasteners holding the handle are different depending on your faucet. Installing a new cartridge is simply reversing taking out an old one. If you forgot to note its orientation, look for an arrow on its front.
To identify which shower faucet and cartridge you need to replace, use a caliper or ruler to measure its length. Pay attention to its shape as well as any markings or colors on it. Use this information with a chart that identifies different types of cartridges by brand name or model number.
How To Clean A Shower Faucet Cartridge?
A clogged shower valve cartridge can cause low water pressure, leaks, or no hot water. Cleaning the cartridge can help restore the shower’s performance.
To clean a clogged shower cartridge, start by covering up the shower drain with a drop cloth to prevent any pieces from falling down the drain.
Remove the handles, escutcheons, and cover plate for the shower valve. Loosen the nut holding the shower cartridge in place with an open end adjustable wrench.
Carefully pull the shower cartridge straight out of the valve. Do this carefully to prevent any damage to either the cartridge or the valve.
Scrub the cartridge until all impurities are off of it. This can be done with any soft bristled brush, including a toothbrush, and a little bit of water.
In a bowl, mix a little bit of water and white vinegar. Soak the cartridge in the mixture for an hour.
Remove and rinse thoroughly with water while turning on your shower to flush out any debris that may have been dislodged during cleaning. We recommend opening only cold water side of the valve to avoid contact with hot water.
Another method is to place the cartridge in a large container and soak it in vinegar or citric acid for seven hours, then rinse it thoroughly with clean water and allow it to air dry.
How To Replace A Shower Faucet Cartridge?
Replacing a shower faucet cartridge is a simple process that can be done in three steps. The first step is to remove the handle of the shower. There’s usually a cover plate that can be pried off with a flathead screwdriver.
Then, hold the handle tight and unscrew the screw behind the cover plate with the same screwdriver. The second step is to remove the escutcheon plate by unscrewing it.
Look to see if there’s a water shutoff near the shower valve. If not, shut the water off at the main water supply line.
There’s a small clip holding the cartridge in the shower valve. Carefully pry that up. The third step is to replace the cartridge by gripping its stem with pliers and pulling it free from the faucet body by rotating it from side to side.
If you run into problems, you might need to purchase a special cartridge-pulling wrench designed to remove cartridges.
Some shower valve issues can be resolved when you replace a shower valve cartridge with a new cartridge – simply insert the new cartridge, replace the valve clip, refit and replace the trim plate then handle.
However, if you need to replace an entire shower valve assembly, then it requires more work such as disconnecting from piping and connecting to water supply using appropriate methods.
The time needed for replacing your shower faucet cartridge will be about 1 hour if all goes smoothly. Depending on which company manufactured your valve, there may be some variations on how your valve cartridge is replaced.
How To Fix A Leaky Shower Faucet?
To fix a leaky shower faucet, first turn off the water supply to the shower. Then remove the handle and unscrew the escutcheon plate.
Next, pull out the shower faucet cartridge and loosen it using needle-nose pliers to get it out.
After that, replace any worn-out washers or seals on the shower stem, reattach the knobs and valves, and seal where they touch the shower wall with caulk.
If neither fixing the showerhead nor replacing washers has dried up the drip, it may be time to swap your old faucet for a new one. This is usually a job for a licensed plumber but can also be done by an experienced DIYer.