Why does my shower diverter keep failing? (Explained) (2023)

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The most common problem with a shower diverter is water coming out of both the shower head and the tub faucet at the same time. This may be due to debris preventing the shower diverter lever from going all the way up or down, or wear to the internal parts of the shower diverter.

Why does my shower diverter keep failing? (Explained) (1)


How do I know if my shower diverter valve is bad?

Few things are as good as a shower at the end of a long day. Sometimes though, the shower doesn't cooperate.

You may have been wondering what was wrong with your shower when you turned it on and noticed that water was still coming out of the tub faucet.

The lack of pressure in the shower would probably annoy you the most because it makes it hard to take that refreshing shower you've been waiting for.

You likely have an outdated or faulty shower diverter valve if your tub faucet continues to run even after you turn on the shower..

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Valves are often present throughout the plumbing system, serving to turn on the sink, bathtub, and even the garden hose.

In addition, they help determine the temperature of the water when opening the shower or sink.

A shower diverter valve does exactly what its name suggests. It prevents the water from flowing through the bathtub faucet and instead directs it towards the shower.

You will operate it by pulling, pushing or turning, depending on the brand of shower diverter.

Shower diverter valves come in two varieties:

A three valve shower diverter.

To open or close the valves on a three-valve shower, you must turn three separate knobs.

One handle operates the hot water valve, another handle operates the cold water valve, and the third handle, usually between the temperature valves, diverts water to the tub or shower faucet.

You increase or decrease the opening of each valve by turning the hot and cold water valves, depending on the temperature of the water you want coming out of the bathtub faucet.

Depending on your preference, you can either let the water continue running into the tub or turn the diverter valve to change the direction of the water so that it goes up into the shower once it reaches your desired temperature.

The valve is open when water flows into the bathtub from the bathtub faucet. Turning the knob advances the valve and a rubber washer seals the tub faucet, preventing the ingress of water.

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Instead, the water passes through a small number of holes in the valve, which creates pressure and pushes the water through the shower pipe and out of the shower head.

shower diverter bathtub faucet

Different brands style this shower in different ways. Some brands have two temperature controls that open the hot and cold water lines independently.

Before the water comes out of the bathtub faucet, the hot and cold water have already been mixed.

Other brands will only contain a single handle that opens both the hot and cold water lines and determines how much each needs to be mixed with the other depending on how far the handle is turned.

The more you turn, the hotter the water gets. In either case, you'll find the shower diverter valve on the tub faucet.

To find out if your shower diverter valve is faulty, check the amount of water that comes out of the shower when you turn on the shower.

If there is poor or erratic flow and water is coming out of both the tub and shower faucet at the same time, you have a faulty diverter valve on your hands.

A faulty bypass valve can also generate insufficient or excessive amounts of hot water.

Unfortunately, because builders often hide pipes inside the wall, it can be difficult to access the valve and repair or replace it yourself.

Why does my shower diverter keep failing?

Shower diverter valves provide a great solution for managing water flows from your bathtub or shower faucet. On the other hand, if they fail, they can result in major problems in your bathroom.

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There are a number of reasons why your shower may have water simultaneously flowing through the tub faucet and shower head, or it may not flow at all.

If you are having problems with the flow of water from both outlets or are unable to direct the water to the shower head, your shower diverter valve may need to be replaced.

It's important to note that you won't have to personally evaluate why your diverter valve isn't working if you have a home warranty.If you try to fix the problem yourself and it doesn't work, your home warranty might not cover the repair!

However, if you file a claim with your home warranty company as soon as possible, you may be required to pay the nominal service fee and they will repair the shower for you.

The following are some reasons why the shower head may not direct the water towards the shower head.

diverter locked

Regardless of the type of shower diverter valve you have, if something prevents the diverter valve from fully closing or opening, water can flow simultaneously from the tub and shower faucet.

If you have a faucet with the diverter inside the spout, check to see if anything is preventing the diverter from closing all the way. To smooth calcium buildup,soak the faucet in vinegarovernight or clean thoroughly with a soft brush.

If you have the three-valve shower, you can easilyremove shower faucetand open the valve. Check for blockages inside the valve, which can be brushed off with a clean cloth.

broken sconce

Some shower diverters usenylon or rubber washersto make sure the faucet holes are tightly closed. These washers could be the source of your derailleur problem if they become bent, cracked, or come undone. If you notice a cracked or broken washer, you will need to replace it.


The screw threads that join the tube to the spout can deteriorate over time. The finish on the spout can peel off and cause clogs in the shower.

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If this happens and you don't replace the faucet, water can seep into the wall next to the shower and cause damage to your home, such as mold, mildew or rot.

Why does my shower diverter keep failing? (Explained) (2)

How long does a shower diverter valve last?

Like any other component in your home, a shower diverter valve will eventually fail due to normal wear and tear and time.

The shower faucet usually contains a valve cartridge that can cause the shower valve to wear out and malfunction. In some cases, you may find that the valve is backwards so when you turn on the shower and water comes out of the shower head, water comes out of the tub faucet as well.

You must be wondering: how often should I change my shower diverter valve?

It only takes a few minutes to clean your shower head or, better yet, replace it once every six to eight months to get the refreshing shower you deserve.

How is a faulty diverter valve repaired?

Fixing your shower diverter valve yourself may not be a good idea, especially if you're not well-versed in plumbing. Call a professional or your home warranty company to help diagnose the problem and check for underlying issues.

They can clean it out if there is a blockage or replace the valve to prevent further clogging.


Shower diverter issues can be a nuisance, but they're not here to stay. You can always repair or replace your shower diverter when it is faulty.

To avoid periodic repairs, you can reduce wear and tear on your shower valve by releasing the diverter to allow water to flow from your tub faucet for a few seconds before turning off the water.

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