Getting a shower and bath at the same time.
October 15, 2008 10:26 AM   Subscribe

When I turn on my shower, water still pours out of the bottom faucet. What gives?

Renting a house which was built somewhere between 1977 and 1981. The bath/shower seems to be having trouble with turning on "shower mode" entirely, and water continues to pour out of the bottom faucet. Here is a short video (youtube link) that shows what's going on.
I've heard from some people that it's something in the actual shower itself, something about a stopper being worn down. Is there a name for the part? How difficult is it to fix?
posted by itchie to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Try turning on the water first and then popping it into shower mode, could be it needs the force of the water to keep the shower "switch" in place.
posted by Iteki at 10:37 AM on October 15, 2008

Here's a video tutorial on repairing a "tub and shower valve."
posted by contraption at 10:38 AM on October 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

Contraption delivers the goods, but if you're lazy (like me), yank it from endpoint to endpoint a couple of times with the water running at full blast. You don't want to tear it out of the wall, just let the water dislodge any small pieces of dirt that might be clogging it up.

IANA plumber, but I own a shiny red wrench.
posted by ghost of a past number at 11:02 AM on October 15, 2008

It's also worth mentioning that this falls squarely under the category of Things Your Landlord Should Deal With. Landlord-tenant relationships can be complex and you might not want to complain about it to them for various reasons, but if you do a repair yourself you should at the very least mention that you fixed their house for them, and consider sending receipts for the parts you bought (and optionally the time you spent) with a request for reimbursement.
posted by contraption at 11:11 AM on October 15, 2008

It is a Tub and Shower diverter. This is something that your landlord should fix for you (or at the very least talk to them about it before you fix it so that you can negotiate compensation).

I will say however that you are lucky that it looks like you still have nice water pressure coming out the shower. That helps make the problem more tolerable.
posted by mmascolino at 11:35 AM on October 15, 2008

Oftentimes replacing a shower diverter is as easy as replacing the spout if you have the diverter mounted on the spout, like these (which is pretty standard where I live). Unfortunately looking at you video you appear to have the diverter in the wall with a three-handled setup like this. You might just need a washer or cartridge in the diverter which is not too hard to repair if you have some basic plumbing skills, but if the valve is too work to repair, replacing the whole thing is a big job that involves cutting a hole in the wall and sweating pipes, so is a more advanced project. It is usually repairable though, just like a faucet.
posted by TedW at 12:52 PM on October 15, 2008

Hey, not to hijack but I have a similar problem with my kitchen sink. When I use the sprayer, water still comes from the faucet. Similar?
posted by CwgrlUp at 4:50 PM on October 15, 2008

call plumber , send bill to landlord
posted by patnok at 6:46 PM on October 15, 2008

I have that same problem CwgrlUp. What's weird for me is that my landlord is a plumber, and he did the place up right before I moved in, so I can only surmise that it was by design that the faucet continues to flow even when the spray is on. Mysterious.
posted by hAndrew at 11:43 PM on October 15, 2008

Much of the time the sink sprayer can be fixed by just replacing the head, but there is also a diverter under the sink that can be replaced if need be; instructions here and here.
posted by TedW at 2:54 AM on October 16, 2008

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