How to Replace Single Handle Shower Faucet

A single handle shower faucet is the type only has one handle to dispense both cold and hot water depending on how far it is turned. When it starts to drip or leak even when shut off, it might be broken or cracked, and the best way to solve this problem is by replacing it. Now, when buying a replacement, remember that it has to have the exact same measurements as the one currently installed to fit into the valve.

For this DIY project, you will need the right tools and materials to get it done, including sheets, towels, rag, Phillips-head and flat-head screwdriver, pliers, needle nose pliers, adjustable wrench, Allen wrench, pipe wrench, Teflon tape and of course a single handle shower tub faucet kit. With all these things in hand, you can start working.

Removing the Faucet

1. Shut off the water supply to your shower, which can be found behind the same wall that your tub faucet is mounted, which means that the access panel is found in the adjacent room sharing the wall. If there is no shut off valve in the room, then you can turn off the main water supply to your home instead.

2. Locate the set screw securing the shower faucet handle, which is usually found near the curve of the handle. Using a Phillips-head screwdriver or an Allen wrench depending on its head, remove the screw. There might be a cover plate hiding the screw, so you have to pry the cover with a flat-head screwdriver. After you remove the securing screw, pull the handle away from the wall.

3. Find the securing screws (usually Phillips-head or Allen-head) holding to the wall the escutcheon plate, which is the cover plate behind the faucet handle. Using the right screwdriver, remove the screws. If there are no Phillips-head screws on the face of the escutcheon, you can feel around the plate’s edges for the set screws, which are most likely to be removed by an Allen wrench. If your plate has no screws, then you can just turn it counterclockwise to remove it from the mount. After you pull the plate away from the wall, remove the screws that secure the mount and then pull it away from the wall.

4. Locate the C-clip securing the faucet cartridge to the bathroom’s plumbing system and then pull it out with a pair of needle nose pliers. To gain access to the clip, you should first slide the sleeve covering the cartridge of the faucet away from it. Using a pair of pliers, get hold of the end of the cartridge and then pull it away from the wall. Take note that some cartridges have up to 3 pieces of C-clip.

5. If your spout uses a set screw, you can find it in a recessed area under the spout near the wall, so inspect the bottom of the spout for this part. Using a Phillips or Allen-head screwdriver, remove the screw and then pull the spout away from the wall. If your spout is not secured with a set screw, then the spout is most likely secured to your house’s plumbing system. If this is the case, use a pipe wrench to remove the spout, turning it counterclockwise until you can turn it by hand. Continue doing it until the spout is free from the pipe and then clean the threads of the pipe of the old plumber’s tape using a wire brush.

6. Remove the connecting nut that secures the shower head assembly to the shower arm with an adjustable wrench. Using one of your arms, grab the shower arm close to the wall and then turn the shower head connection counterclockwise with the wrench in your other hand.

Installing the New Faucet

1. With the old shower faucet removed, insert the new cartridge into the plumbing system in the wall, pushing it in until it seats properly. Secure it to the plumbing system by inserting the retaining clips and then sliding the decorative cartridge sleeve over it. The recess on the back of the escutcheon plate should secure the sleeve, with the curved part of the sleeve pointing to the wall.

2. If your new shower faucet uses a mounting plate, then install it to the wall first and secure it with the supplied fasteners. Slide it over the cartridge and turn it clockwise to secure the escutcheon to it. It is also possible that your escutcheon plate would simply snap over the mounting plate and is secured with set screws on its edges.

3. Position your faucet handle over the cartridge and secure it with the retaining screw. Place the cover over its center, if you have a knob-type faucet.

4. Wrap some Teflon tape around the spout’s threads and the shower arm, and then thread the spout onto the plumbing system until it is hand tight. You can turn it a little more using a pipe wrench until it points down.

5. Thread the shower head onto the arm until it is hand tight, and with a rag placed over the connection, turn the shower head connection a little bit more with an adjustable wrench. To prevent turning the shower arm, hold it while tightening the head.

Purchasing New Single Handle Tub Faucet

When purchasing your new single handle shower faucet, bring the old spout with you as you have to compare it to the new one and ensure it will fit your existing plumbing system. You can also look for a faucet that uses an anti-scald mechanism, which prevents it from being scalded by accidentally turning the handle too far to the hot side. It is also great to match their finishes.

Important Tips to Remember

Replacing your faucet is one way to cut down on repairs. While many people associate faucets as just the handle, you should find a shower faucet handle that matches your current fixtures. It is also a good idea to replace your spout and shower head at the same time, which is why you should get a replacement faucet kit. Moreover, you should always refer to the instructions that come with it for specs on your unit.

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