Claw foot tub plumbing weirdness
September 4, 2019 7:03 PM   Subscribe

The hot-water faucet on my shower slowly reduces in flow rate over days & weeks. Slightly loosening & retightening the hex head fixes the problem temporarily, but it gets worse again before long. Here's what it looks like under that hex head. The tightness of that brass piece underneath doesn't seem to affect things. Everything inside looks sound & clean & functional. The cold water side is always fine. Can I fix this more permanently?
posted by jeffjon to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
Can you just replace the cartridge? Your local home supply store should have a replacement (or it may be under warranty depending on the maker). It’s generally a diy job (shut off the water first!).
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:25 PM on September 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

Have you checked the rubber gasket on the inside of the hot water faucet? It may simply need to be replaced. If you are unsure how to do that look for a you tube video for help.
posted by JayRwv at 7:26 PM on September 4, 2019

I think something in your hot water pathway is generating particles a bit too large to get through the hot water valve, and as these particles gradually accumulate, they choke down the flow.

When you unscrew the hex head, the valve is able to open wider and the particles are washed out.

I'd guess your hot water heater is responsible, and that you could get rid of the problem for a long time by flushing the tank through the valve at the bottom of the tank.

There's a good chance your shower head is partially clogged too, so don't forget to check that out.
posted by jamjam at 8:06 PM on September 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

Removing that chrome hex cap hasn't given you access to the parts that count. You'll need to pull the valve stem to get at the real issue. Find the shutoff valves for the supply lines, shut them off, open the tap to depressurize it, then unscrew the valve stem using the smaller hex surfaces that are under the cap you've already removed, and pull out the whole assembly. I suspect you'll find some damaged seals that should be easily replaced at a decent plumbing supply store.
posted by jon1270 at 3:21 AM on September 5, 2019 [1 favorite]

I've taken out the cartridge & inspected it & gaskets more closely. Still no signs of damage, wear, cloggedness, etc. Going to take it to the plumbing supply store & see if they have replacements.

Flushing the tank is a good idea; it's probably been 5+ years. I'll give that a try. Shower head has been fine though.

Still no idea why loosening & tightening that outer hex fixes the problem temporarily.
posted by jeffjon at 9:46 AM on September 6, 2019

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