Replace a 3 Handle Shower Faucet Diverter Valve

3-handle shower faucet
  • 1-2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 100-200
What You'll Need
New diverter valve
Plumber's Teflon tape
Adjustable wrench of channel lock pliers

If your three-handle shower faucet is not properly diverting the flow of water to the shower head and bathtub spout the way it should, you should replace it. Replacing the diverter valve in the system is a straightforward task and is great for DIY enthusiasts. Here is a handy how-to guide to help you replace the diverter valve in a three-handle shower faucet system.

Step 1 - Cut Off the Water

Turn off the main water supply to your home. It should be located at ground level in front of your home and is the area that the water company uses to check your meter. To close the valve, simply turn it clockwise until it is completely tightened and the water pressure has been cut off.

Step 2 - Drain Water in Lines

You also need to drain the water from the lines in your shower to avoid a mess while working on the diverter files. To do this, simply open the faucet all the way and allow the water to drain out the spout or shower head.

Step 3 - Cover the Drain

When working on the diverter valve of your three-handle shower faucet, there are several small pieces that could fall down the drain. So, cover the drain opening in your tub with a cloth or other object that will prevent this from happening.

Step 4 - Remove Cartridge

The cartridge is a section of piping that is used to connect the handle of your faucet to the plumbing behind the shower wall. The front section of the cartridge is used to connect to the handle and turns whenever you turn the faucet handle. The back part of the cartridge connects to the diverter stem valve, and is used to direct the diverter on which way to open or close.

To get to the cartridge, you'll probably need to pry off the faceplate to remove the faucet handle. You can do this with a flat head screwdriver. Remove the screw and then the handle. Also remove any escutcheon rings or faceplates that may be blocking access to the cartridge and diverter valve. Remove the nut that holds the cartridge in place and then slowly pull it out from the shower wall.

Step 5 - Remove Diverter Stem

You'll need to remove the diverter stem valve. This is a small wedge that is made of plastic and is connected at the back of the cartridge with a nut. Remove the old diverter stem valve by removing the nut and pulling it loose. Use care when doing this because the pipes are usually made of very soft copper.

Step 6 - Install New Diverter Stem

Take the new diverter stem valve and place it in the same location as the old one. Once the new diverter valve is in place, tighten the nut and make sure that it is connected to the cartridge properly.

Step 7 - Replace the Cartridge

Finally, reinstall the cartridge in the reverse order that was used to uninstall it. Then, you can replace the handles of the faucet and turn the water back on. The new diverter stem valve should now function properly and direct the flow of water the way it was intended.