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Why Your Tub Faucet Leaks When The Shower Is On

Posted On: January 21, 2016

Here’s the scenario:

You turn on the water to take a shower, switching from the tub faucet to the showerhead. Doing so, you see water coming out of the tub faucet while the showerhead is on.

The tub faucet leaking while you’re taking a shower is a common household problem that most homeowners deal with at some point.

While not a high priority problem, it can be an annoyance. Not to mention, the water pressure coming from the showerhead is much less than it should be.

What is causing this? A leaky shower diverter.

A diverter may be an unfamiliar term. The diverter is a valve in your tub’s faucet that diverts water from the tub to the showerhead when the lever is pulled to turn on the shower. A small amount of water dripping out of your tub’s faucet is normal because the valve doesn’t have a perfect seal. But, if a large amount of water is coming out of the tub’s faucet then you most likely have a problem with that valve.

Fixing the diverter is a fairly easy fix. You have two options. You can either replace the part or the whole shower diverter valve.

Either way, the first step you’ll want to take is to figure out how the spout is attached. You will need to look for a small hole or a setscrew. If you find a small hole or a setscrew on the underside of the spout where it meets the wall you’ll want to follow these steps:

  • Cover the drain with a washcloth or plug and use an Allen wrench (Hex key) to remove the screw. The washcloth or plug is used to catch the screw so it doesn’t fall down the drain.
  • Twist the spout while pulling it straight out and off the supply pipe.

If your spout doesn’t have a small hole or setscrew then the spout is threaded onto the supply pipe. Grab the spout with a pipe wrench and turn it counterclockwise until the spout comes off.

Once the spout is off, take out the rubber washer and replace it. Oftentimes, this is enough to fix the problem. If not you will need to stop by a hardware store and get an entirely new shower diverter valve.

If this is a repair you are uncomfortable with contact Genz-Ryan, we have the expertise to help you with your plumbing repair.

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