Exploring Emergency Plumbing Services

Ways To Repair Problems With Your Shower Diverter

by April Rivera

If you have a combination tub and shower, the same plumbing services both the tub and shower through the use of a diverter. The diverter might be a third knob handle or a pull-up pin on the faucet. When you turn or pull the diverter, water stops running in the tub and comes out of the shower. Here's a look at why the diverter can stop working properly and the repairs that might help.

Why Your Shower Diverter May Stop Working

The diverter changes the direction of water flow with a rubber stopper. If the rubber stopper gets worn down or cracked, water can leak from the tub faucet even when you have the diverter in the shower position. This causes you to have weak shower flow too. If the diverter breaks or gets stuck, water may not go up the pipe to the shower at all.

Another thing that causes problems with the rubber plug besides age and wear is hard water scale. When scale builds up on the plug, it can't get a tight seal and divert the water. It's possible for the scale to cause the diverter to get stuck so you can't operate the pull-pin at all.

Ways To Repair A Diverter Problem

If you know you have hard water and scale is a frequent issue with your plumbing, then you might try soaking the diverter in vinegar to break it up. This may work with a pull-pin diverter when you can place a plastic bag of vinegar around the spout and let the vinegar soak into the diverter for several hours. It may also be necessary to remove the spout or knob diverter so you can soak the parts in vinegar to get rid of the scale buildup.

Another thing to try is to spray penetrating lubricant on the diverter as best possible and turn the knob or move the pin until the clog breaks up. You may need to spray the lubricant inside the faucet as well as on top of the pin.

These methods might work if there is scale buildup, but if the rubber plug is damaged, it has to be replaced. A plumber can take the knob or pull-pin apart and clean it or replace the plug as needed. Another option is to replace the faucet so it comes with a new diverter and pin.

If the plumber replaces the diverter plug, a new one should last for many years before it deteriorates. However, if the issue is hard water, you may want to look at how hard water is affecting your entire home and talk to a plumber about whether you need a water softener.