How to Fix a Shower Diverter: Identify the Problem and Fix It Step By Step

We explain how a shower diverter works, how you can check if it's not working properly, and how to fix it yourself
Deborah Beams
Deborah Beams
Research Writer
Deborah is an incredibly talented journalist who's been working for numerous online magazines for over 8 years now. She's also our main research writer who can turn any bori read more
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Charles Eggleston
Charles Eggleston
Expert Consultant
Charles's been a plumber his entire life. Thanks to his vast experience we can always rely on Charles' expert opinion when creating any of our articles. He's also a fantasti read more
Last updated: August 08, 2023
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The quality of plumbing equipment is an important parameter that noticeably distinguishes conscientious manufacturers. Any plumbing in apartments, private houses, or offices is used quite intensively, so it must be reliable and durable. From this article, you will find out how to fix a shower diverter.

Faucets are considered a weak link in the plumbing system. Over time, even a reliable and expensive one begins to leak. One of the most vulnerable parts of the device is the diverter. It happens for both the simplest and complicated modern shower systems. When this element of the mixer breaks, you have to take immediate action. The lack of an opportunity to take a shower does not please anyone. If it is not possible to urgently call a plumber, sometimes it is possible to fix the bathtub shower diverter yourself. Sometimes even beginners can do this if they have particular knowledge.

How Does a Shower Diverter Work?

How to Fix a Shower Diverter: Identify the Problem and Fix It Step By StepEach type of diverter Trusted Source What Is a Shower Diverter Valve? | HomeServe USA Your shower diverter works to ensure water is flowing freely between the shower head and the bath faucet. has its characteristics.

Spool Valve

Shower valve models are considered popular for mixers with two valves. Externally, a plastic or metal handle regulates the flow of water. Inside there is a spool consisting of an eccentric and a barrel, which often fail. It is a central problem of such a design. To fix diverter valve shower, you need special parts which rarely appears in shops.

Ceramic Cartridge

It is a wear-resistant and modern diverter. There are two types of ceramic diverters:

  • A disk diverter, in which ceramic plates are responsible for switching and water supply;
  • A ball diverter, which operates using a metal sphere with memorable holes.

Turning the lever changes the position of the cartridge, which then passes, then closes the water. This diverter is very sensitive to solid particles and sand in the water. Therefore, we do not recommend installing a cleaning filter immediately. You cannot repair the cartridge in the shower diverter in the wall. It does not mean that you have to throw out the mixer. It is possible to replace the damaged element and fix a shower diverter gate.


This system has a long handle (up to 10 cm) and a brass plug with a cutout inside the valve. When the pin rotates, its cutout is aligned with the water inlet opening, which begins to flow into the faucet. Fixing a shower faucet diverter is quite reliable, but if the nut is excessively tightened, the smoothness of the handle is disrupted, and the plug often wears out.

Push-button or Exhaust

How to Fix a Shower Diverter: Identify the Problem and Fix It Step By StepThe primary purpose of such devices is to mix water at different temperatures. There are two types of such diverters:

  • Automatic. It is mainly installed on cartridge-type mixers. It is located on the spout or in a separate unit. The peculiarity of the diverter is that when the water is closed, it remains in the “outflow” mode or returns from the “shower” mode. When the button is pulled out, the water comes out of the showerhead. When the button is pressed, the water flow switches to an outflow.
  • Plain. It is installed on cheap faucets. Externally, it almost does not differ from the automatic one. The difference is that the button does not switch on its own to the gander when the water turns off.

Not everyone likes the push-button system since pulling the handle is not always convenient, especially with wet or soapy hands.

Mixers with a rotary diverter have gained the most incredible popularity because simplicity in design ensures the most excellent reliability of the product.

These diverters have proven themselves perfectly. The only problem is that they are pretty sensitive to water quality. Suppose there are various mechanical suspensions in it. It is typical for heating water supply systems in houses. In that case, a significant part of the dirt can fall on the elements on which the supply adjustment depends.

If, for example, sand gets between the plates, then when they rotate, it will cause considerable damage to the surface. As a result, the fit of the disks to each other will become loose; there will be no tightness of the connection.

In addition, dirt and salts can clog the retaining gaskets and springs. Moreover, it is not only clogged but also deformed for the same reason. That is why when installing a cartridge mixer, we recommend installing cleaning filters in the apartment water supply system immediately.

Among other things, the problem may lie in the initial quality of the equipment. For example, the main element in the ball system must be made of perfect metal and perfectly polished. In fact, after disassembling an already used item produced by a not reliable supplier, we can find a wholly rusted part inside, which, of course, is unacceptable. According to many reviews and analytical researches, one of the most reliable and perfectly functioning shower diverters is manufactured by G-Promise Company, which cares for quality and lasting use.

How Do You Know That It Doesn’t Work Properly?

How to Fix a Shower Diverter: Identify the Problem and Fix It Step By StepHere, you will read the signs of the shower diverter not working. As a rule, a water leak indicates a malfunction of the diverter.

Repair begins with identifying the cause of this unpleasant phenomenon. The breakdown of the mixer diverter is considered difficult since it is located between the drain tap and the hose. This complex mechanism blocks the flow of water. Such a device has two positions: flow redirection and stops mode. When the “spout” is on, the “shower” mode is immediately blocked. The opposite action occurs. The malfunction of the diverter violates this concept.

The main enemy of plumbing products is tap water, which is not always of high quality. It contains impurities that can render any faucet unusable.

Things You Will Need for Fixing

Regardless of what type of device needs to be repaired, the same set of tools is used:

  • A gas wrench
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Pliers
  • Jackknife;
  • A screwdriver

Before repair, it is necessary to find out the cause of the malfunction. Professionals do not welcome self-repair of breakage, but in some cases, you can repair yourself.

If you are going to repair the diverter, make sure that the water supply is completely blocked.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Trusted Source HOW TO FIX A SHOWER DIVERTER GATE? - Ten to Twenty Are you worried and wondering, "How to fix bathtub faucet diverter?" Then fret not and take a look HOW TO FIX A SHOWER DIVERTER GATE? , you first need to identify the problem. In any case, if the shower diverter is faulty, it will have to be disassembled both for inspection and for troubleshooting.


  1. First of all, you need to remove the clamping nut located at the top of the device. It is necessary to attach the hose to the mixer body. It is easy to remove using a flat screwdriver or a stationery knife. After the shower hose and nut are removed, a hole in the mixer will become available. Through it, you need to remove the fluoroplastic plate using a hexagon.
  2. After that, you need to remove the decorative plate, then unscrew the bolt located under it with a curly screwdriver. Then proceed to unscrew the adjustment knob. It is not easy to fix a shower diverter knob. If the bolt is difficult to unscrew or does not lend itself to unscrewing, we recommend applying a little oil on it. You can remove it easily without a key by unscrewing it with your hands.
  3. The last stage is unscrewing the stem, which is located under the handle. After that, you can remove the element, inspect it and repair it.

All the mixer and shower diverter elements are pretty fragile, so if any fastening or feature is difficult to unscrew, do not put too much pressure on them. There is a possibility of equipment failure.

Repair, in any case, depends on the type of diverter since they differ in structural elements. Depending on what has failed and what kind of mixer is installed, it is necessary to carry out appropriate actions and replace the failed parts.

Regardless of the type of device, it will still have to be disassembled to understand which element should be replaced.


  • Shut off the water supply to the bath.
  • Disassemble the mixer.
  • Inspect and identify the cause of the breakdown.
  • Depending on the problem, you need to replace the failed elements with new ones.
  • Assemble the device back.

The video below explains how to fix a three-way shower diverter.

When Do You Need to Consider Replacement?

In any case, if water persistently flows from the diverter, it must be replaced. This mechanism is not subject to repair, regardless of its type.

To replace a shower diverter, you will first have to disassemble the mixer. Then pull out the cartridge and go to the store with it. The fact is that there are no specific standards for the manufacture of this mechanism, so there are different cartridges for different mixers. You need to pick up the same one that was in your plumbing product.

After purchasing a new item, could you not rush to put it in place? First, carefully inspect the rubber seals and springs located in the housing. If they are clogged with sand or other deposits, pull out these parts, rinse in a warm soapy solution, then rinse and dry.

After you have sorted out the seals and springs, install the new cartridge in its rightful place, assemble the system, and test its operability.

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, problems with the mixer are rather common. If the shower diverter is out of order, in some cases, you can repair it with your own hands. In this article, you read how to fix a shower diverter. The complexity of the repair depends on the type of device.

High-quality faucets rarely fail, but they still happen due to improper operation and high water hardness. There are cases when the water is on. It starts pouring immediately from the shower and tap. Most often, this indicates that the rings or the rubber valve have worn out. If the breakdown is severe, it is better to entrust the repair of equipment to professionals.


What Is a Shower Diverter Valve? | HomeServe USA
Your shower diverter works to ensure water is flowing freely between the shower head and the bath faucet.
Are you worried and wondering, "How to fix bathtub faucet diverter?" Then fret not and take a look HOW TO FIX A SHOWER DIVERTER GATE?
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