How to Replace a Shower Valve Stem

Written by jeremiah blanchard
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How to Replace a Shower Valve Stem
(Jupiterimages/ Images)

Some showers have one valve stem, while others use two valve stems and a diverter to switch between shower and tub use. Many homeowners can confuse the shower valve stem with the neck of the shower; however, the shower head and neck do not contain a valve. The valve itself is purposely placed below the shower head, to naturally increase water pressure through the use of gravity.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Socket wrench
  • Flathead screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Shut off the water supply to your shower. (Your shower may have an independent shut off valve switch located near the shower; if not, go outside to your water-main and shut off the water supply to the entire house. This may be located in your front yard under a small metal covering.)

  2. 2

    Remove the handle covering by unscrewing it and pry it off with a flathead screwdriver. Remove the screw in the centre of the handle with a suitable screwdriver, then take off the handle.

  3. 3

    Pull off the flange, a hollow metal tube that covers the stem. Remove the nipple by twisting counterclockwise then pulling. The nipple is a plastic, threaded tube, that sits under the flange.

  4. 4

    Remove the valve stem with a socket wrench long enough to fit over the valve stem. Attach the wrench to the hex on the valve stem. Turn the wrench counterclockwise to remove the valve stem.

  5. 5

    Take the valve stem to a hardware store or a plumber to identify the brand, then purchase the appropriate brand. Using other brands will not work. Replace with the new valve stem by screwing it back into place clockwise.

  6. 6

    Replace the nipple by pushing it back on and turning clockwise. Replace the flange by sliding it back onto the stem.

  7. 7

    Replace the handle cover by sliding it back on, then replace the handle and screw it back into position by turning the screw clockwise.

Tips and warnings

  • Consider replacing the entire valve stem assembly while changing out the shower valve stem. This will keep you from having to take the whole thing apart again if you incur any more valve problems.
  • Replace the parts tightly or the shower valve stem will leak.

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