Shower/tub spout/diverter repair/replace for n00bs?


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Old 07-12-08, 05:30 PM
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Shower/tub spout/diverter repair/replace for n00bs?

LOL what the subject says.

I just found this site and forum today and have been searching and reading all afternoon. I am a complete novice and am not looking for spoon-feeding by forum members; but please do point me to information that starts at the very beginning for rank beginners, if appropriate. I am willing to read and try and learn, if possible.

The situation: We bought new (almost finished being built), our now older home (1986). All-in-one fiberglass shower/tub enclosures with glass sliding doors in both bathrooms. The bathrooms share a side wall and are mirrors of each other... does that make sense? The shower/tub, toilet, and vanity plumbing is back to back on the wall shared with the other bathroom. Meaning there is not a way to get at the plumbing in the wall for either shower, without tearing out one of the fiberglass enclosures. But I'm hoping that won't be necessary?

The problem: The one bath that we use (the other is for guests and hardly used) has leaky temperature knobs (water leaking from underneath the decorative knob covers), leaking shower head (water drips from shower head), and tub spout diverter (pull up knob on top of the spout) sticks very hard and will only divert half the water.

See this page for PROFLO PFLL42A Double Handle Tub and Shower:

http://www.faucetdirect.com/index.cf...ished%20Chrome

I'm not entirely certain this is our exact brand. The appearance is remarkably similar to our set and I do know the contractor did not use expensive materials for this house :-) but I do not know if the 'innards' are the same as this brand.

My husband is normally a pretty good handyman, he feels it is risky to turn off the water to the house and disassemble the spout and knobs because there may not be an easy replacement without having to get at the plumbing in the wall.

???? I normally rely on his expertise but it seems many people on this forum are repairing or replacing these items quite a bit. Will we risk not being able to turn the water back out without tearing out the shower enclosure? We can move to the other bathroom temporarily, provided we can plug the water to the bathroom that would now have to be renovated!

Any ideas and information welcome, including whether I could do this myself (doubtful!) while he's gone to work :-) If there is a way it would be safe enough to turn off the water, and disassemble far enough to determine what type of 'innards' are needed, without risking that the water cannot be turned back on after reassembling from that point?

Obviously I don't know the right questions to ask or really where to start.

Thanks in advance for all information and ideas (except hire a pro plumber, my husband won't go for that, at least not yet). Regards,
--appyface
 
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Old 07-12-08, 06:05 PM
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There are possible problems no matter what you do, even if you do nothing.

It is highly unlikely that you can service this without turning off the water supply to the entire house, bathtubs rarely have individual shut-off valves like sinks and toilets do. There are always risks involved when working on water supply systems and that includes the main shut-off valve breaking internally and either preventing you from shutting off the water or turning it back on again. Or, you could get the water shut off okay and go so far as to get the tub valves taken apart and then find that you cannot put the tub valve back together for any of a number of reasons. Such things don't happen very often but you have to understand that it could.

I suggest that you go to your local library and check out several books covering home improvement and repairs. You may also find some that are specific to plumbing repair. Reader's Digest, Sunset Magazine and Black & Decker are all popular publishers. You can also purchase books from your local "big box" home improvement center. Read the chapters on faucet maintenance and repair thoroughly. You will find that many faucets need special tools for their repair and you will learn the proper plumbing terms.

If you have a "real" hardware store in your area with old timers staffing the plumbing department, or a plumbing supply house that is friendly to DIYers (some are and some are not) you can ask them about the valves that were typically installed in houses in your neighborhood at the time your house was built. They may have valuable information that you won't find in any contemporary book and have the exact repair parts you need and the expertise to help guide you.
 
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Old 07-12-08, 06:59 PM
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I think ProFlo is a generic brand of economy faucet sold by many distributors. I can't tell you without seeing what the actual parts would be. But repairing a 3 handle set like that is not very difficult. You could take that pic into a plumbing supply and maybe they can give you parts. Otherwise, start earyl saturday morning ( assuming the supply house is open Saturday!) turn off the water, take it apart, and take the parts in.


The tools you will need, besides basic screwdrivers and pliers, are possibly a shower valve socket set and a 3 step seat extractor. These tools are quite inexpensive and readily available at HD, ACE, etc.

A good basic book such as the HD PLumbing 1-2-3 or some of the Time-Life DIY books will probably get you through this. Lots of pictures on this site will get you plenty of help, also!
 
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Old 07-12-08, 09:45 PM
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Hi furd, thanks for responding!

Originally Posted by furd View Post
It is highly unlikely that you can service this without turning off the water supply to the entire house, bathtubs rarely have individual shut-off valves like sinks and toilets do.
Sorry, I thought I had communicated that -- I know I have to shut off the main.

Originally Posted by furd View Post
There are always risks involved when working on water supply systems and that includes the main shut-off valve breaking internally and either preventing you from shutting off the water or turning it back on again.
Yes I've actually experienced that, well close to it. The main shutoff valve broke "all by itself" (tree roots and an earthquake, actually) on a Thanksgiving morning! (And this was at the city's main, not my shutoff.) It cost a premium to have a fellow come out on a holiday to fix it.

Originally Posted by furd View Post
Or, you could get the water shut off okay and go so far as to get the tub valves taken apart and then find that you cannot put the tub valve back together for any of a number of reasons. Such things don't happen very often but you have to understand that it could.
Yes I understand it's possible -- this is the situation I was specifically asking about. My husband feels it is almost a certainty this will happen with old unknown fixtures. But how likely? I know no one can predict the outcome of my specific situation. So I was hoping for opinions from people with experience replacing old unknown fixtures, as to how often they have found it necessary to tear out the shower enclosure (or tile) to get at the plumbing behind the wall. 10% of the time? 80%? I'm sorry if I wasn't clearer, I was just looking for "typical odds".

Originally Posted by furd View Post
I suggest that you go to your local library and check out several books covering home improvement and repairs. You may also find some that are specific to plumbing repair. Reader's Digest, Sunset Magazine and Black & Decker are all popular publishers.

You can also purchase books from your local "big box" home improvement center. Read the chapters on faucet maintenance and repair thoroughly. You will find that many faucets need special tools for their repair and you will learn the proper plumbing terms.

If you have a "real" hardware store in your area with old timers staffing the plumbing department, or a plumbing supply house that is friendly to DIYers (some are and some are not) you can ask them about the valves that were typically installed in houses in your neighborhood at the time your house was built. They may have valuable information that you won't find in any contemporary book and have the exact repair parts you need and the expertise to help guide you.
Thanks, I've got quite a few of these books, and also the entire home repair series by Time Life books. I relied on that one once, to replace the water supply valve on a toilet. My husband was away on business when it started leaking badly. I tried everything I could think of but eventually it leaked even if it was shut off. The Time Life book on bathroom repairs, made it sound so simple. Go get another valve from the hardware store, take the old one off and put this one on. Their pictures were for ones that are threaded, there was no mention of compression fittings (something I didn't know about at the time). Of course mine had a compression fitting, but I also didn't know it at first because the nut on the valve covered it. I unscrewed the valve but of course could not put the new one on, it was a screw-on type like the one mentioned in the repair book :-)

Once I realized that, I went back for one with a compression fitting. Since I didn't know I could re-use the compression ring, I worked very hard to get it off the pipe, and succeeded in breaking a weld in the copper supply line somewhere inside the wall (and still did not get the ring off). Fortunately my husband was due home that night and was able to repair the copper tubing the following day, so the water was off for less than 24 hours, it could have been much worse!

I understand that compression fittings are quite common (at least in my area), however, I re-checked and there was no mention anywhere in the Time Life series, about compression fittings.

Thanks again for your response, I appreciate the fast reply.
--appyface
 
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Old 07-12-08, 09:54 PM
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Thank you 594tough! The ProFlo may very well be the manufacturer of my fixtures. Mine do not have any markings on the outside, that I can find, so I'm pretty sure I won't know what's inside until I disassemble. I'm glad to hear that type of set isn't "usually" hard to repair. I need to do something but am nervous to attempt anything without advice first (see horror story in previous post while attempting to replace the toilet water supply valve. Ugh!)

And thank you for the tip regarding the specialized tools. I will have to take a look at those! (My husband likely has them already, but there is no way I'm going to be able to locate them in his equipment shop, where he keeps all his tools.) Probably I will need my own. We have OSH and HD handy to me here, and not far away are ACE hardware stores also.

Thank you again for your help. I shall think about whether I want to attempt this :-)
 
  #6  
Old 07-27-08, 01:46 PM
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Tub Spout w/Diverter done! On to the faucets...

Hi All,

Just thought I'd stop back in. I just finished replacing the tub spout (while hubby was gone ) and had myself a shower with full pressure for a change. Nice!

The old tub spout did not have a set screw. I maintained my aerobic target heart rate for a good 10 minutes while I attempted to twist the old spout off by putting a length of wood up inside the spout for leverage. It did not want to budge. How hard is too hard? (I didn't want to break a pipe in the wall again!). The spout finally gave way, and without damage to the pipe in the wall. Whew!

The universal tub spout I bought had options for slip fit, threaded pipe, different pipe lengths, and adapters for 3/4" instead of 1/2" pipe. Thank goodness mine proved to be one of the simplest and I needed nothing except some teflon tape on the pipe threads (also provided), and to screw on the new spout.

I did have to use protective rags with some leverage to put the final turn on the spout to get it right-side up. I again wondered, How hard is too hard? When you don't have any experience there is not much to go on. But it worked out and apparently I didn't break the pipe in the wall this time, either!

In shopping for the new tub spout, I had noticed this one with diverter, which also featured a handheld personal shower connector:

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/...ctId=100346102

I have often wanted a handheld to use when washing pets in the tub, but didn't want to pull off the shower head and install a permanent connection there. So I thought, "This tub spout is perfect! I can attach the handheld shower whenever I need it."

I proceeded to locate a handheld shower that won't spray unless the handle is squeezed, it came with a quick-release connection so the handheld can be put on and off as I would like. Perfect again! Ka-ching... sold!

This actually works a treat, except not a heck of a lot of water diverts up to the shower head when the hand shower is not attached. D'oh!

That makes perfect sense now that I've seen it LOL. A connection to the tub spout seems intended to be permanent (for a bath that does not HAVE a shower head perhaps?). The handheld's quick-release connector, which is intended to go inline ahead of the shower head, of course has water flow to the shower head when the handheld is not in attached.

OK OK all of you out there knew all about that, right? I do too, now

Considering I'd still prefer not to leave the handheld attached to the tub spout full-time, I can solve this by 1) Purchasing some kind of chrome "stub" or cap for the personal shower connector on the tub spout -- IF such a thing exists. Or 2) I can replace the tub spout again, this time one with NO personal shower connector on it.

In the meantime, all works fine if I leave the handheld shower attached. That may end up being the third option after all...

On to the faucet handles. Those will be done with the help of a plumber. After this 'easy' tub spout repair, the faucet repair sounds too risky for this n00b. I gotta have water in the house when it's done

Thanks again to all, Best regards,
--appyface
 
  #7  
Old 11-23-08, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by appyface View Post
LOL what the subject says.

I just found this site and forum today and have been searching and reading all afternoon. I am a complete novice and am not looking for spoon-feeding by forum members; but please do point me to information that starts at the very beginning for rank beginners, if appropriate. I am willing to read and try and learn, if possible.

The situation: We bought new (almost finished being built), our now older home (1986). All-in-one fiberglass shower/tub enclosures with glass sliding doors in both bathrooms. The bathrooms share a side wall and are mirrors of each other... does that make sense? The shower/tub, toilet, and vanity plumbing is back to back on the wall shared with the other bathroom. Meaning there is not a way to get at the plumbing in the wall for either shower, without tearing out one of the fiberglass enclosures. But I'm hoping that won't be necessary?

The problem: The one bath that we use (the other is for guests and hardly used) has leaky temperature knobs (water leaking from underneath the decorative knob covers), leaking shower head (water drips from shower head), and tub spout diverter (pull up knob on top of the spout) sticks very hard and will only divert half the water.

See this page for PROFLO PFLL42A Double Handle Tub and Shower:

PROFLO PFLL42A Double Handle Tub and Shower Trim and Valve with Single Function Showerhead from the PROFLO Series

I'm not entirely certain this is our exact brand. The appearance is remarkably similar to our set and I do know the contractor did not use expensive materials for this house :-) but I do not know if the 'innards' are the same as this brand.

My husband is normally a pretty good handyman, he feels it is risky to turn off the water to the house and disassemble the spout and knobs because there may not be an easy replacement without having to get at the plumbing in the wall.

???? I normally rely on his expertise but it seems many people on this forum are repairing or replacing these items quite a bit. Will we risk not being able to turn the water back out without tearing out the shower enclosure? We can move to the other bathroom temporarily, provided we can plug the water to the bathroom that would now have to be renovated!

Any ideas and information welcome, including whether I could do this myself (doubtful!) while he's gone to work :-) If there is a way it would be safe enough to turn off the water, and disassemble far enough to determine what type of 'innards' are needed, without risking that the water cannot be turned back on after reassembling from that point?

Obviously I don't know the right questions to ask or really where to start.

Thanks in advance for all information and ideas (except hire a pro plumber, my husband won't go for that, at least not yet). Regards,
--appyface
appyface

It's been awhile since you posted, but I'm hoping that you see this anyway. I stumbled across this multi-purpose solution over two years ago. It's a removeable sprayer with diverter that connects ahead of your shower head. Hope this helps.

Shane

Power Sprayer System | Showerheads & Shower Cleaning | Shower & Bath Products | Rinse Ace | Idea Factory Inc.
 
  #8  
Old 11-23-08, 05:20 PM
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Hi Shane,

Yes I received notification of your response, thank you.

The multi-purpose sprayer with diverter is exactly what I wanted years ago, but could not get hubby to put it in for me :-)

So I thought I was being clever when I put one on the tub spout LOL LOL LOL Actually it's been handy after all. Even though it doesn't shut off the shower head, it still sprays quite well. I use it primarily for hosing down the inside of the shower so the shower head still being "on" really doesn't matter much.

Thanks again and regards,
--appyface
 
 

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