How to Fix a Leaky Shower Valve

The saying, “When it rains, it pours”, can actually become a reality in our home, especially in areas where water is used—the kitchen and the bathroom. As for the latter, one of the usual leak problems we encounter is a leaky shower valve. If you are in facing such a situation, here are the steps that you can take:

1. Secure the tools and items that you will need for the task, which include a vice grip, Philips screwdriver, flat-head screwdriver, jar gripper, rag, and bath and tub caulk.

2. Before you start working on any piece of your shower, locate first the water shut off valve and turn off the water supply to the bathroom. Afterwards, turn the water in the tub on to drain any remaining water inside the pipes.

3. Locate the set screw of the faucet handle, where it is sometimes exposed and also concealed, and you have to pry the center of the handle to access it. You can use a flat-head screwdriver for this task.

4. After removing the screw that holds the handle, pull off the handle. Then, unscrew the escutcheon, which is the collar fitting against the wall. By the way, this step is very easy that even your child can help you with it. However, if the escutcheon is stuck on tight, you can use your jar gripper to cover it and then use the pliers to loosen it without damaging the metal.

5. After removing the escutcheon, the stem will be exposed, so you will now be able to position the pliers over the rear nut and turn the stem counterclockwise to make it loose. If you have the stem hex nut recessed into the wall, it is necessary to use a stem wrench in order to reach into the wall. Make sure that you have a rag in hand to shove into the hole when you remove the stem to prevent any remaining water to drip into the wall cavity.

6. Having removed the old stem, take the piece to the hardware store or plumbing supplier to purchase a new one that is identical to it. Usually, this component has two washers, with one around the threaded portion and one at the end. In some cases, you can just replace the washers, but new stems are not so expensive, so it is best to replace the whole unit.

7. Thread the new stem into the wall in a gentle manner and do not force it or you could damage the plumbing threads. As much as possible, just hand-tighten the stem, though it is a standard to use pliers, and then reuse the threaded tube from the old stem.

8. Thread the old escutcheon back on, but be careful not to over-tighten it or you would crack your tile. Spread a thin layer of caulk on the connection between the escutcheon and the wall and then replace the handle assembly.

9. Turn the water back on to test if the leak the leak is fixed.

By following these steps, the task of fixing a leaky shower valve can be easy, sans the amount of money you could have spent on a professional.

How to Install Tile Ready Shower Pan

Are you getting a Tile Redi shower pan? Then, you should know that, like other products in its line, it also has specific steps to follow for its installation process. The following guide is intended to provide an easy-to-follow procedure to install such a bathroom component easily, whether you are a professional or one who wants to accomplish the task DIY way.

1. Frame out your bathroom shower stall area to fit your new shower pan dimensions and then clean any debris from your sub-floor.

2. Test fit the drain housing of the shower pan into the sub-floor bore hole and make sure that you align the pan properly to fit it snuggly against the studs of the shower frame on all sides. Take note that this step would depend on whether you have access to the drain connection below the subfloor, and if there is one, you should cut a section of drain pipe, which is long enough to extend below the sub-floor, offering you an easy connection to the wastewater pipe. If there is no access from below the sub-floor, then make sure that the drain pipe stubbed up from the sub-floor is adjusted to the right height to be able to fit properly into the drain connection of the shower pan.

3. Turning the shower pan over, take note that there are ribs under the shower pan floor, so make sure to measure the depth of the ribs under the floor from the rib bottoms resting on the substrate to the pan floor’s underside at the deepest point between the ribs. Once you get that value, calculate the thickness of your mortar base with the use of a formula that is appropriate for the type of shower pan you have. Take note that the mortar base must have a consistency that is close to peanut butter to get the best results.

4. If there is access from the sub-floor below, then the proper adhesive on the outside of the cut drain pipe and quickly insert it into drain connection, while making sure that the pipe extends far enough below the sub-floor to allow it to conveniently connect to the waste water pipe that follows the installation.

5. You can now place the pan in the mud base in a firm, but gentle and shimmy manner, to make sure that the drain will be fully supported by mud at the bore hole in the substrate and that the ribs are completely filled with the mud by applying hand pressure to the left and right sides of the pan floor until the ribs make contact with the subfloor. Level all sides of the pan and the let the mortar dry overnight.

6. Install water-proofing and the shower backer board according to standards. This means that you should water-proof and seal the joint between the Tile Redi splash walls and the backer board using silicone or the optional Redi Flash system.

7. Adjust the height of the drain as recommended to accommodate the marble or ceramic tile. Mix the included Redi Poxy trowel and adhesive onto the shower pan surface using the right square notch trowel. Finally, tile the rest of the shower.

In doing these steps, make sure you comply with the standards and recommendations by the indicated tile council.

How to Clean a Smelly Drain in Bathroom Sink

Sink problems are not only about clogs and leaks. Apart from these common issues, a smelly sink that can either emit a pungent smell as if coming from the sewage or resulting from a food leftovers stuck inside the drain pipe can be the problem. Here, we are going to find out ways on how to solve a stinky sink in the home.

3 Causes of a Sink with Bad Odor

Dry P-trap
One of the reasons of a smelly sink is a dried P-trap that emit the bad smell that comes from the sewage because the sink has not been used for a long period of time. A way to solve this is to ensure water runs through it regularly.

Gas Backflow
Sewer gas has the tendency to flow back to your pipe and out of your sink when the venting pipes become clogged with debris and particles.

Blocked or Broken Sewer Lines
Another cause of a smelly drain is the sewer line itself. If this is the problem, the smell can come out from all the sinks in the home and will require help for specialists.

Ways to Remove the Smell from a Bathroom Sink

1. Boiling Water
One of the simplest ways to address the problem of a stinky odor coming from the bathroom sink is boiling water. By simply pouring this into the sink, it can remove the smell coming from the sink. The temperature can help eradicate the smell as also flush away or loosen the debris inside the drain pipe.

2. Soap and Water
Another technique to remove the odor from the bathroom sink is soapy water that poured to flush through the drain pipe. If the sink is not clogged, replace the water stopper and pour hot water into the sink as well as soap powder. Remove the stopper to let the soapy water into the drain pipe and keep the water running for some time.

3. Vinegar and Baking Soda
Vinegar has acidic properties which makes it effective not only as a cleansing agent but also as a remover of odor. For managing the smell of your bathroom sink, vinegar can be used along with baking soda. First, set aside a cup of baking soda and two portions of vinegar. Pour the baking soda and then the vinegar. This will create a chemical reaction and you will see a fizzle. Let this sit for several minutes. After this, pour hot water or let hot running water flow. The mixture as well as the hot water can kill the bacteria that might have caused the bad odor that comes from the drain. This is also an effective way to solve a clogged kitchen sink. Adding coarse salt can also be done to ensure debris and gunk will be loosened and will break more easily.

4. Baking Soda, Boiling Water and Lemon Juice
If you do not want to use vinegar, you can check inside your fridge for lemons and juice them. Lemon juice also has properties that create chemical reaction the same as the vinegar. Pour the baking soda first and follow it with the lemon juice. Let it stand for at least 30 minutes. After the time has lapsed, pour in boiling water to wash away the gunk and dirt that have been loosened by the mixture.

How to Remove Silicone Caulk From Shower

Silicone caulk is an effective sealant for windows, sinks, tiles and glass door frames. However, overtime, molds and mildew can accumulate on the caulking especially when it is often gets wet or damp, like in bathrooms. If you want to remove silicone caulk and replace it with a new one, you can do it yourself. Some might be an easy job while others can require patience and more time. With these tips, you can handle this home maintenance project by yourself. First, here are some important things you need to know.

What is Silicone Caulk?

Also called rubberized silicone caulk, this sealing material is known for its flexibility and durability that can last for years. It serves as a water barrier and can also keep air inside or sealed. These qualities make them perfect from showers, sinks and the like. In installing new silicone caulk, it is important to remove the old one because the new installation will not adhere if placed on top of the old silicone caulk.

Removing Silicone Caulk from Shower

Step 1: Clean the tile thoroughly if you are going to install a new silicone caulk over the old one. Do this before removing the old silicone caulk. This is important to ensure grime and soap residue are removed.

Step 2: There is no product that can remove silicone caulk or dissolve it despite its rubberized property. However, there are products available like the caulk remover gel that will help soften the silicone and make it easier for you to remove it. Apply the silicone remover on the areas where the caulk should be removed. Although directions might include letting it sit for about three hours, you might prefer to let it stay overnight to ensure it can handle tougher silicone caulks that have been hardened and been applied thickly.

Step 3: Get a knife or a cutter to remove the caulk. It is important to handle the caulk remover tool correctly to prevent damaging the tub or the shower as you loosen the caulk. Just pull the caulk and remove it using pliers or tweezers.

Step 4: For the debris or the pieces of silicone caulk that are still on the shower, simply scrape them off with a toothbrush or a putty brush.

Step 5: Remove the mildew and molds using a portion of bleach mixed with a gallon of water and clean the surface with water.

Removing Silicone Caulk without Caulk Remover Gel

Step 1: Remove the excess silicone caulk with blade or knife. Pour hot water to loosen the caulk and make it easier to remove the material.

Step 2: Mix flour and water to create a paste. Create the mixture with about a cup of flour dissolved in several tablespoons of water just enough to create a paste. Apply the paste over silicone caulk and let it stand until it sticks with the material.

Step 3: After the paste has dried, remove it with water and the silicone caulk, by this time, has already attached to the paste and will be detached from the shower.

How to Install Grohe Shower Valve

There are many reasons why you should replace or install a shower valve, whether you are having drips or worn-out parts that you want to fix with a few inexpensive replacement parts or you want to bring in a new style and features into your bathroom, such as anti-scald protection and preset temperatures. While installing a new shower valve can be a straightforward process, where (sometimes) all you need to have is some basic plumbing knowledge and all you need to do is follow the manufacturer’s instructions, it is not that easy at all times, especially when you will be working with more complicated fixtures, such as the Grohe shower valve. But do not falter—we have here a step-by-step guide on how to install this type of valve.

1. Performing the Necessary Preparations

  • If you are dismantling an old unit, make sure you turn off the water supply first to your bathroom.
  • Before you dismantle your old unit, see if the cold water feed is on the right and the hot water feed is on the left, and if not, ask a professional about this.
  • If you are undergoing major work on your home, then make sure that your water network will be flushed of all impurities, as these elements can damage your mixer.
  • Prepare your tools, materials and parts with close access to the area where you will be working.

2. Marking the Location

  • To mark the location of the access panel, punch a hole into the wall behind the faucet by just slipping a long screwdriver alongside the spout nipple of the tub and then push.
  • In replacing faucets, one has to work inside the wall, with a removable panel in the next room behind the faucet. But if you do not have this access panel, you will be able to install your new Grohe shower valve by cutting a hole in the shower surround, though it is still best to install a paintable plastic panel behind the faucet. You can find it in various sizes, so you can choose one that suits your requirements, at plumbing suppliers or hardware stores near you. But if you do not want to install this panel because it is distracting to the eye, you can instead use an oversized cover plate inside your shower surround. If you already have an existing access panel, but is too low to offer easy access to your faucet, you can place a second one above it.
  • Do not take measurements to try to position the access hole, but instead, remove the faucet handle or tub spout and then punch a marker hole through your wall. If you have a plaster wall rather than a drywall, then you can use a drill with a long bit other than a screwdriver. However, before you cut a hole that is sized for the panel, cut a smaller hole first to see exactly where your valve and pipes are located. It is only after then when you can position the full-size hole for best access.

3. Securing the Mounts and Connectors

  • After the holes are properly positioned, screw the S union connectors into the fittings in the wall so that they can extend by about 42 millimeters. Then, screw the escutcheons against the wall.
  • Adjust the spacing to allow about 150 millimeters between the centers of the escutcheons and then check if they are level. Make some adjustments if needed.
  • Install the mixer and firmly tighten it, while making sure the nuts are not touching the escutcheons. Verify horizontal positioning and make adjustments if necessary.
  • Now, you can dismantle everything, but take note of the depth between the wall and the S union connectors.

4. Installing the Thermostatic Mixer

  • Now, you can seal the thread of the S union connector with the polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) tape wrapped in the tightening direction. Tighten the connector with a 22-millimeter open-end wrench.
  • Adjust the connector to the point where there is a space of 150 millimeters center to center, using the same depth that you have noted on your previous measurements. Determine of they are level with the use of a spirit level.
  • Apply a silicon seal between the eccentric connectors and the wall, and then screw the escutcheons onto the S union connector.
  • Remove the blue and red caps from the mixer and make sure that the filters are placed correctly with the rounded side facing inwards. Place the mixer on the connector without any extra seal and then tighten the nuts with the use of a 32-millimter open-end wrench.
  • With a spirit level, check if the mixer is level and make some adjustments if necessary. Check for leaks by turning the water supply back on to the mixer.

5. Adjusting the Thermostatic Mixer

  • To ensure that the thermostatic mixer will be operating properly, you can check the water temperature with a thermometer. Try to see if the 38-degree-Celsius handle guide is lining up with the same temperature on the marker of the shower body. If it does, then you do not have to make necessary adjustments.
  • If an adjustment is needed, then close the water evacuation outlet and remove the mixer handle cover using a small flat-head screwdriver. Run the water and adjust the cartridge by turning the notched black element to a temperature point of 38 degrees Celsius. Put the handle back with the guide pointing to the same temperature and then screw in the handle and then the cover.

6. Completing with the Finishing Touches

With everything put in place, make sure the hose seal is in the right position and then screw its end onto the mixer. Turn the water supply back on to see of the shower head is properly functioning.

Safety Notes

When removing your old shower valve, makes sure that everything is clean, especially the copper pipes. Sand them off to make sure they are free of burs and solder. You can do this by filing off or heating up the copper to wipe off solder blotches with a dry rag when it runs. Just be careful not to burn yourself and have a spray bottle or fire extinguisher, especially when you are using a torch.

How to Plumb a Utility Sink

Utility sinks have many uses in the home, in garages and laundry rooms, among others. Some homeowners connect them to their dishwashers or washing machines to make household chores easier. For people who are into gardening, a utility sink outside the home can be used to water plants that need to be soaked. A utility sink is also called a laundry sink since it is commonly found near washing machines. Installation can be a DIY project, although it needs some plumbing and handyman skills. Here is a step-by-step guide to installing a utility sink:

Materials and Tools

  • Wood blocks
  • Utility sink faucet
  • Utility sink
  • Plumber’s putty
  • Compression fittings
  • Compression valves
  • Teflon
  • Copper tubing
  • Y fittings
  • Wrench
  • Rubber gloves
  • Pipe cutter
  • Screwdriver

Step 1: Prepare the Pipe.

Ensure that the main water supply is turned off of shut off before any work is done. See to it that the utility sink to be installed is near the hot and cold water pipes as well as the drain pipe. Use wire cutter to remove the burrs from the end of the stub pipes and cut the existing rain pipe to give way to the installation of a ¾” double compression fitting. Measure both the existing drain pipe and both hot and cold water pipes.

Step 2: Create Hookups.

These hookups will be responsible to supply water and drainage to the utility sink. To do so, cut the drain pipe using a hand saw and the water pipes with a tube cutter. This is because these pipes are made of copper material. Next, using a film of primer and glue, attach the drain pipe which is of PVC material with the “Y” fitting. Also, fit a PVC trap to the newly installed “Y” fitting. Use a soldering iron, flux and solder to secure the attachment of the copper pipes to the fittings.

Step 3: Attach the Sink.

Place the sink on top of the counter and ensure that you use a sealant and line it on the edge where the sink will be set. Thread the faucet spot into the base of the faucet and secure it with the retaining nuts. Fit the base of the faucet and tighten the jamb nuts to secure the fixture. Install the sink tailpiece on top of the PVC trap and screw the compression nut tightly to secure the trap. This is where you need to use the plumber’s putty and apply it generously at the bottom at the faucet that you have also installed. If the sink has legs, keep it secure by drilling the floor where the anchor brackets for the legs will be positioned.

Step 4: Make the Final Connections.

After the sink is secure, the next step is to connect the flexible hoses to both the hot and cold water T-fittings and to the faucet. Ensure no leaks are present by turning on the valve and check for possible leaks.

How to Reglaze a Sink

Over the years, sinks accumulate rust and dirt which calls for reglazing to prevent replacement. Although this can be done by a refinishing sink specialist, repairing sink cracks and chips can be a DIY project.

Materials Needed

  • Screwdriver
  • Wrench
  • Plastic Liner
  • Masking Tape
  • Silicone Caulk
  • Cleanser
  • Acid Paste
  • Sander
  • Lint-free Cloth
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Epoxy Primer
  • Acrylic Coating
  • Paint Roller
  • Paint Brush
  • Rags and Old Newspapers

Step 1:

Prepare the sink to be reglazed. It is important to clean the sink prior to its repair. This includes using cleaning agents to remove stains that can be wiped off the sink as well as removing the old silicone caulk thoroughly. To ensure adhesion later, use an acid paste to remove the old silicone caulk. You might also want to use a degreaser to remove whatever dirt is left behind.

Step 2:

Secure the parts that will not be reglazed. If you will not work on the whole sink, protect the other areas with the use of a plastic liner or sheets. Also, include the other areas like the flooring, splashboards, walls and fixtures to prevent unnecessary splashes and damage. Cover the drain with a masking tape to keep debris and dirt from falling into the drain pipe.

Step 3:

Prime the sink. Before reglazing the sink, it is also important to apply primer to the sink. You can either use a spray epoxy primer or a paint brush to apply the primer. Before doing so, use a fine sand paper and sand the edges, rim and sink interior with circular motion. Then, with a lint-free cloth dipped in water, wipe off the remaining dust from the sink and the other areas. Allow at least an hour to dry.

Step 4:

Apply second and final coating. When the primer is dry, it is now time to apply a second coat of primer. This will even out whatever areas that have been sprayed with the first coat in need of coverage. Let it stand for some time with a minimum of an hour, depending on the humidity level present. After the second coating has dried, this is the time to apply the third or final coating. With the use of an acrylic topcoat, spray the last coat evenly on all the surfaces of the sink, in thin stokes. Let it dry before removing the adhesive tapes you have placed to cover some areas.

Step 5:

Replace the sink hardware. After the final coat has set and dried, you can now replace the sink hardware.

Step 6:

Apply caulk. After the final coating has dried and reglazing the sink is done, the last step is to secure the sink and ensure water will not seep through the tiles. Get silicone caulk and reapply it on the newly reglazed sink. To ensure proper application, see to it that the silicone caulk is applied evenly. After applying the caulk, let it seep in and push it into the joint and remove the excess caulk before it dries.

How to Install a Mortar Shower Pan

Built from concrete, a mortar shower pan, also known as a mud shower pan, is found in bathrooms and usually has a sloping design which serves as a shower base. Although there are pre-fabricated mortar shower pans available, a do-it-yourself shower base can also be built. Here are the steps in creating a DIY mortar shower pan.

Materials

For an area of approximately four to five square feet, an 80-lb bag of cement is needed as well as a vinyl liner about 12-inch in size and should be relatively wider than the shower.

To cover the floor, you will need a galvanized metal lath with a width of more than 12 inches that can be used to accommodate curbs. For forming the curbs, hardboard sidings as well as 2×4 material pieces are needed.

For cementing the board, fiberglass tape is needed for the seams and nails, 1-1/4-inch nails are needed to fasten the membrane and cement board.

Step 1:

Frame the shower curb. With several stacked 2x4s, build the core of the curb. Screw the 2×4 material into the subfloor and screw another 2×4 to the already fastened material.

Step 2:

Cover the shower pan plywood. Before constructing the shower pan, it is important to use a layer of roofing felt at the bottom of the pan. This is important to separate the subfloor from the shower pan and to keep the moisture in the mortar during the curing since the tar paper or asphalt felt serves as a moisture barrier. For the installation of the asphalt felt, there should be a cut around the drain base and the surface of the subfloor should be covered. Secure the felt to the wood with the use of galvanized staples.

Step 3:

Create shower pan box. Build a box with wood material, using it as a blocking for the wall framing. In this step, you will need plywood, around ¾” in size and 2×6 boards.

Step 4:

Base shower pan and wire the curb. Strengthen the mud layer of the base floor with a galvanized wired mesh. This will also support the mortar to the shower curb. Embed the mesh by bending it a little to create “waves” in the mesh and place the mesh over the framing of the curb. Secure using galvanized staples.

Step 5:

Prepare floor mix. Create a mixture of mud, cement and water for a clay-like consistency. First, mix the cement with sand with a shovel before pouring water. This will ensure a strong and stable mixture.

Step 6:

Build first layer of shower pan and install liner. Using the mud mixture, build the first layer with a slope towards the shower drain from the wall, with ¼ to 3/8 inch per foot. Ensure to cover the studs with stucco wire smoothen the surface. Let this dry overnight. After, lay the continuous sheet of liner to cover the floor and secure it using liner adhesive or silicone caulk.

Step 7:

Install drain clamp. Locate the drain and secure the drain clamp using bolts. After, insert the drain throat or drain riser.

Step 8:

Install backer board and second layer of the mortar shower pan. Secure the backer board in place and add the second mortar layer by pouring it on top of the mortar liner. Cover it with mud mixture and smoothen to finish the mortar shower pan. Let it cure for about two days.

How to Clean Swanstone Sink

If you’ve chosen to install a Swanstone sink in your kitchen, or if you live in apartment that has one, you have every right to be proud of it. Swanstone sinks are some of the top choices among homeowners because they have a sleek, elegant look that stays classically stylish even as years have gone by. They’re also durable and built to withstand heat, corrosion, and heavy-duty impact.

Still, just because your Swanstone sink has excellent quality doesn’t mean that you should just clean it however you want. Just like any other kitchen surface, it can look worse for the wear if it doesn’t receive proper care. Because of this, you need to know how to properly clean your sink. This way, you can keep it in good shape and get the most out of your investment. You’ll also avoid jeopardizing the limited lifetime warranty that the Swanstone company offers and ensure that your sink is backed by this warranty for years.

Not sure how to clean your Swanstone sink? Don’t worry since we got you covered. Here are some of the steps you need to take:

For Metal Sinks

1. Gather the things you need
Before doing anything else, make sure to obtain the materials you’ll need to clean your sink. You can use plain dishwashing detergent or buy a special kitchen antimicrobial cleaner. You’ll also need a nylon scouring pad, a rag, bleach, and some abrasive cleaning product like Ajax or Comet. If your sink shows some signs of rust, buy a rust remover like Lime Away.

2. Disinfect the sink
Mix the detergent with some water and use it to swab your sink. If you’re using a special antimicrobial cleaner, read the bottle and follow the instructions on the label to use it properly. Whichever you use, let it sit for a few minutes to allow the product to disinfect the surface, then scrub the sink with the rag. Rinse it thoroughly with water.

3. Remove rust and stains
Apply the abrasive cleaner on the sink and use your nylon scouring pad to remove stains. If stubborn stains still remain, you can fill one-fourth of the sink with equal parts bleach and water. Leave this for 15 or 20 minutes, then use the rag to wipe the sides of the sink. Rinse thoroughly. To remove rust or mineral stains, read the label on your rust remover and follow the instructions.

For Granite Sinks

Granite sinks look elegant, but they can be easily damaged compared to metal sinks. So, you can disinfect them with your detergent or special antimicrobial cleaner, but you should NOT use bleach and abrasive cleaners since they can destroy your sink’s beautiful surface.

If your sink has stains, you can remove them by putting some white vinegar on a paper towel and using the wet towel to wipe the stains. Let it sit for 20 minutes or more, then rinse with water.

A word of warning: whether you have a metal sink or a granite one, never use metal scouring pads since they will certainly damage your sink. Leave them for other purposes, like sharpening your scissors and cleaning your garden tools.

Final Word

A Swanstone sink is made to last, but it can’t do that without your help. Take the steps listed above to properly care for your sink and help it last for a long time.

How to Tighten Shower Faucet Handle

The humidity inside the bath room and the shower stall or tub enclosure can affect the shower faucet handle in a negative way. Aside from temperature factors, the hard water and its mineral deposits can turn it white, and the dripping water from the shower head can also contribute to its discoloration. However, the most serious among the factors affecting plumbing system is corrosion, which can damage the threads on the faucet’s valve stems, leading to loose handles.

Now, if you have a loose shower faucet handle, remember that it would gradually grind away the valve stem to which it is screwed. To avoid such a problem, you should take action as soon as possible to fix it. Try to tighten the screw that holds the faucet handle in place, and depending on the type of faucet you have, you will have to pry off the decorative metal button that is found at the center of the handle to have access to the screw or you will instantly find a set screw near the base of the handle. Keep in mind that a set screw would usually require an Allen or hex wrench to loosen or tighten in this matter.

Here is a step-by-step guideline that you can follow to get this job done:

1. Secure the necessary tools and materials for this project. These include an Allen wrench, a 4-in-1 screwdriver and a Teflon plumber’s tape. By having these items at hand before you start anything, you will be able to save time and avoid frustration.

2. Before you remove anything, make sure you turn off the shower water shutoff valve that is usually located inside the tub or shower access panel. You can turn it off by turning the handle clockwise. If you cannot locate the shutoff valve in the shower room, you can shut off the main water supply to your house instead.

3. Release the remaining water contained in the pipes and the shower head by slightly opening the shower faucet and letting the water drain. You will know that the water supply was cut off completely when you see that the shower has stopped dripping after about 60 seconds.

4. With everything dry now, remove the loose faucet handle by removing the set screw that is holding the handle in place. Usually, this screw is concealed, so look carefully on top of the handle and around the sides to find it. Using your adjustable wrench or screwdriver, remove the set screw. The handle set screw accepts a 5/64 inch Allen or hex key and would pop easily off the stem, revealing the non-corrosive plastic spline that is mounted on the valve stem.

5. With the set screw removed, pull the shower faucet handle straight out from the housing and then inspect it closely to identify what caused it to be loose. Clean the inside of the handle with a rag and check if the teeth inside the hole of the mounting on the handle are not stripped and still sharp. If they are already stripped, then the handle must be replaced.

6. Try to see if the shaft on the shower assembly holding the shower handle is completely tight, and if it is not, tighten it using your adjustable wrench. Make sure not to over-tighten it, as this is the diverting valve component that contains the ball or cartridge assembly that directs water flow, and over-tightening it may cause a leak. However, take note that tightening the screw in the cold water stem would open the valve, so make sure that you firmly wedge the splined mount using a specialized wrench. Another suggested alternative is dosing the screw with thread locker, so that you will never have to undergo this complicated step again, but you should remember that this type of screw has coarse threads engaging another plastic doodad, which also engages a couple of wings on the splined mount. This means that you still have to do some re-tightening in every certain number of years.

7. Again, check the teeth on the diverter valve that protrudes from the shower assembly that you have tightened, and if you see that they are broken or worn, then you must replace the cartridge or ball diverter valve.

8. With all components in proper order, re-attach the shower handle and make sure that it is fully seated on the diverter valve shaft. Tighten the set screw, while making sure that the shower faucet handle retains its normal range of motion.

9. Turn the water supply back on and test the faucet.

More Useful Tips

When replacing a shower valve, take note that the process involves 2 main steps, namely removing the old valve and installing the new one. There is a lot of reasons to replace the valve, such as being broken and not being pressure balanced, causing the shower pressure to fluctuate that can be uncomfortable. However, this is more of an advanced task that requires good copper soldering skills, so this should be left to the professionals.

Also, take note that pulling off a stuck shower faucet handle can be difficult in some cases, so might have to lever a screwdriver between the wall and the handle to get it off. When performing this task, you can place a piece of wood between the wall and the screwdriver to protect the wall and to make the job easier for you. If you notice a leak from the valve stem or see that the handle is wet, turn off the water supply and remove the stem to replace any worn washers. If you think of using vinegar to take care of corrosion on the inner parts of the handle, do not even bother as it will not be effective.

If tightening the shower faucet handle does not work, then the stem inside it is most likely worn, especially if it is made of plastic. To solve this problem, you can wrap the stem tightly with the Teflon plumber’s tape and then slip the handle back over the stem. Most of the time, just a single wrap is enough to creates a snug fit.