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Fixing Tub & Shower Faucets


Three-handle shower faucet

A three-handled faucet type has two handles to control hot and cold water, and a third handle to control the diverter valve and direct water to either a tub spout or a shower head.  The separate hot and cold handles indicate cartridge or compression faucet designs.

Plumbing Pro Tips

If a diverter valve sticks, if the water flow is weak, or if water runs out of the tub spout when the flow is directed to the showerhead, the diverter needs to be repaired or replaced.  Most diverter valves are similar to either compression or cartridge faucet valves.  Compression-type diverters can be repaired, but cartridge types should be replaced.

Two-handle and single-handle types use a gate diverter that is operated by a pull lever or knob on the tub spout.  Although gate diverters rarely need repair, the lever occasionally may break, come loose, or refuse to stay in the UP position.  To repair a gate diverter set in a tub spout, replace the entire spout.

PLUMBING TRADE SECRET:  Two-handle faucet has valves that are either compression or cartridge design.  The single-handle faucet has valves that are cartridge, ball-type, or disc design.