How to Change a Diverter Valve

Written by bobby parker
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How to Change a Diverter Valve
Three knob combinations are common in older showers. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Diverter valves in showers are a source of joy and pain. A diverter valve sends steaming hot water to the showerhead when you climb into the shower at the end of a long day. They can also leak, causing high water bills and a shorter supply of hot water. In his book, "Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Audits," David S. Findley says that a leaky diverter valve can allow one quarter of your water to bypass the shower head and pass straight into the drain. Changing a leaky diverter valve can save you money and make your showers more enjoyable.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Hammer
  • Caulk
  • Screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench
  • New diverter valve
  • 6-inch piece of 2-by-4

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Locate the waterline that supplies the shower. Turn it to the off position by rotating the knob clockwise.

  2. 2

    Unscrew the diverter knob with a Phillips screwdriver. In a shower with a three-knob combo, the diverter knob is in the middle. Set the screws in a safe place.

    How to Change a Diverter Valve
    Most shower knobs require a Phillips screwdriver. (Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)
  3. 3

    Slide the knob off. If your shower is old, there is a chance the knob has corroded and melded with the diverter valve. To remove it, you will need to careful pry it loose; there are several effective methods. Hold a wooden block against the tile and slip a hammer behind the knob. Gently pry the knob forward in increments. Another method is lightly hammering the knob off. Place the hammer behind the knob and leave a one to two inch space between the hammer and the knob. Tap the knob until it begins to break free.

    How to Change a Diverter Valve
    A straight claw hammer will be easier to use. (Jupiterimages/ Images)
  4. 4

    Unscrew the old diverter valve by using the adjustable wrench. Some models may have an extra bolt that you must remove before proceeding.

  5. 5

    Screw in the new diverter valve with the screwdriver. Slide the knob onto the new valve. Screw the knob into place. Recaulk the shoulder of the base back to the wall, if necessary. Restore the water supply to the shower.

Tips and warnings

  • Be careful not to over-tighten the new diverter valve.
  • Be patient when removing the old diverter knob; if you rush, you might end up damaging it.

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