There’s nothing worse than waking up to a cold shower.
If your shower has been running with only cold water and the sinks in the same bathroom are still giving you hot water, the cartridge in your shower handle has likely seen its better days.
Despite the inconvenience of a cold shower, the cost of a plumber may be intimidating.
Thankfully, you can replace the cartridge yourself in less than an hour.
Note: These instructions are for a single-handled shower valve.
Be sure to consult an associate at your local hardware store to make sure you buy the correct replacement parts.
What You’ll Need:
- Replacement parts
- Allen keys
- Screwdriver (the kind will depend on the screws you see on your handle)
- A washcloth
Step One: Shut off the water to prevent it from spraying everywhere when you take the handle off.
The simplest way to do this is to cut off your main water supply.
To do this, locate your water shut-off valve.
Most of the time, it will be above your water meter.
Step Two: Turn the water on to drain the valve.
Let any remaining water drain out, then turn it back off.
Step Three: Remove the handle.
Different handles will be fastened on in different ways, but most of the time, a single-handled shower will fasten its handle with screws, set screws, or both.
You will likely find a set screw on the underside of the handle.
Loosen this with an Allen key and slide the handle off.
Be sure to set the handle and other parts down where you will not lose them, and onto a washcloth so that nothing gets scratched or damaged.
Step Four: You will see a rotation stopper ring over a center screw with a groove to which the set screw was previously attached.
The stopper ring controls how hot the water in your shower gets.
Slip it off and set it aside. Use a screwdriver to remove the center screw and set it aside.
Step Five: The next piece you will see with be a metal ring with threads on the inside.
This centerpiece is what holds the backplate against the wall.
Turn the ring counterclockwise to remove it and loosen the backplate. Set both pieces aside.
With your cartridge now exposed, you may see a paper stuck to the front of it that will tell you what model the valve is.
This may be helpful in buying replacement parts.
Step Six: You should see four screws at the corners of a metal bracket holding in the cartridge.
Remove each of these screws and set them aside. The front plate of the bracket should slip off easily after.
Step Seven: Grip the cartridge firmly and wiggle it a little to loosen it as you pull it out of the wall.
Check the back of the cartridge to make sure that the two rubber seals are still intact. If they are gone, they are likely stuck inside the wall.
Be sure to remove them before proceeding.
Clean out the gap where the cartridge was to make sure there is no debris before installing the new one.
Step Eight: Line up the screw holes with the wall bracket and slide the new cartridge into the wall.
Fit the bracket’s faceplate back in place and screw in the four screws to hold everything snug. Be sure not to overtighten.
Step Nine: Put the handle back on. First, slip the backplate over the cartridge and hold it against the wall.
Ensure the gap in the backplate’s seal is facing downward so that any loose water drains down into the shower.
Take the centerpiece ring and screw it into the wall to fasten the backplate. You can do this by hand.
Step Ten: Refasten the center screw with the groove in it.
Make sure that the groove is facing down.
Turn it by hand and then tighten it with a screwdriver.
Remember not to overtighten.
Slip the rotating stopper ring back over the screw and adjust it to your preference, or you can remove it altogether to get your shower as hot as possible.
After that, slip the handle back over the centerpiece and tighten the set screw with the Allen key.
There you have it!
Turn your water supply back on and test out your brand new water cartridge.
The hot water will run normally, and your mornings will be saved.