A three handle tub shower faucet can make your showering experience nice and convenient. Want to take a shower? Easy: just switch the handle one way, and water comes shooting out of the faucet. In the mood for a bath instead? No problem: turn the handle the other way and within minutes you’ll be soaking in a nice warm bubble bath. The problems start, however, when something goes wrong in the faucet and boom: you switch the handle to the shower, and water still leaks out of the bathtub faucet, meaning water wasted and less water pressure for your shower.
Or the opposite might happen, you’re trying to relax in the bathtub only to face the annoyance of beads of water hitting you on the head. Nine times out of ten, the problem is located in the diverter valve, or the little mechanism that shifts the water from one faucet to another.
Before you give up bathing altogether, take heart; this isn’t just a problem that can be fixed, it’s a problem that you can fix yourself. Keep reading this guide to find out how to repair a three handle tub and shower faucet diverter valve all by yourself in about an hour, and for as little as $15 or less.
Step 1 - Cut the Water
This may seem obvious, but it’s all too easy to forget. Before you get started pulling faucets and knobs right out of your shower, make sure to switch the water valve off. Otherwise, you might have a stream of water gushing straight into your face.
Step 2 - Remove the Diverter Knob
Next, you’ll need to remove the diverter handle, which is probably located in the middle of the three knobs. This may be the trickiest part of the job, since some force needs to be applied to get the knob out of there, but you don’t want to damage the tiles underneath, either. Everyone has their own method for removing shower knobs, but the best way is to use a gear puller to wrench it right out of the wall. Then take your utility knife to cut out the old caulk that remains in the wall.
Step 3 - Take out the Diverter Valve
Take the valve out of the diverter handle. This will vary slightly according to what model diverter you have, but you’ll probably have to use a wrench to unscrew a front and back bolt. Use some cleaning fluid, rags, and if necessary Q-tips to clean any residue or build-up inside the valve that was blocking water flow. If needed, replace the rubber washers around the valve.
Step 4 - Reassemble the Valve Handle
Once the valve has been cleaned out and outfitted with new washers, reinsert it in the handle, use the wrench to secure the bolts and reinsert the handle in the wall. Use your caulk gun to apply new caulk around the handle to keep it protected from water.