Repairing A Tub Diverter Valve

MATERIALS: Compression replacement kit, white vinegar solution, plumber's putty, silicone grease

TOOLS: Screwdriver, stem socket set, utility knife, water-pump pliers, toothbrush

Replacing one cartridge? Replace them all; you’ll save time and effort. If the stem is damaged, take it with you to the store to buy a replacement.

1 REMOVE THE HANDLEAND ESCUTCHEON CAP. Shut off the water supply. Pry the cap off the diverter handle. Remove the screw and slide off the handle. You may have to unscrew the escutcheon to remove it. If so, wrap the jaws of the pliers with masking tape.

2 DISCONNECT THE BONNET NUT. Use a shower stem socket set to remove the bonnet nut and stem. If the handle keeps hitting the tub or another faucet, put a stem socket over the one you're using as an extension.

3 UNSCREW THE STEM FROM THE BONNET NUT. Hold the bonnet nut with one hand. Use your other hand to remove the stem from the bonnet nut with water-pump pliers. Inspect the threads of the stem for damage. If there is evidence of damaged threads, replace the stem. Check the valve seat with a flashlight to make sure it's OK. It may need resurfacing or replacement.

4 REMOVE THE BIB SCREW. Clean mineral deposits on the stem with a white vinegar solution, or buy a solution to dissolve mineral deposits at your local home center. A toothbrush easily removes deposits.

5 REPLACE THE OLD WASHER. Seat the new washer in the stem. Apply silicone grease to the washer so it seats properly. Replace the bib screw with a new one. Reassemble the faucet, sealing the escutcheon in place with a bead of plumber's putty. Turn on the water supply and check for leaks and drips.

Installing A Tub Spout

MATERIALS: New spout, pipe compound, silicone caulk

TOOLS: Small screwdriver or alien wrench, water-pump pliers, rags or towels

Tub spouts come in two basic types—screw-on and set-mounted. Examine the underside of the spout. If there is a hole in the bottom, it’s mounted with a setscrew. Slide the fitting over the pipe until it’s snug with the wall. Then tighten the setscrew with a small screwdriver or alien wrench. If there is no hole under the spout, screw it hand-tight. Spouts with setscrews are easier to install because they’re easier to square up than the threaded variety.

1 DISCONNECT THE OLD SPOUT. Check the underside of the spout to see if there is a setscrew. If so, loosen the screw and slide off the spout. If there isn't a setscrew, use a pipe wrench to unscrew the spout from the threaded pipe. Twisting too hard can potentially bend the spout nipple, especially if it's copper. Apply joint compound to the nipple threads.

2 INSTALL THE NEWSPOUT. Slide the new spout over the pipe and snug to the wall. If it has a setscrew, tighten it. If the pipe is threaded, screw on the spout hand-tight. If further tightening is required, put tape over the teeth of water-pump pliers to prevent scratching, and tighten until the spout is snug. Run silicone caulk around the spout or escutcheon plate if there is one.

Cleaning A Showerhead

Showerheads, like faucet aerators, in areas with hard water will eventually become clogged with mineral deposits. Not all showerheads break down the same way, but what’s shown here is a common example. Newer showerheads come with a water-conservation device, called a flow restrictor, that cannot be removed.

• Unscrew the swivel ball nut and remove the showerhead.

• Disassemble the internal parts.

• Soak overnight in white vinegar or a lime-dissolving solution.

• Reassemble the showerhead. Apply silicone grease to the shower arm threads and install the showerhead. Turn on the water and inspect for leaks.

Use a small wire brush to clean mineral deposits.

Use a paper clip to remove mineral deposits from holes in the disk. Inspect for damage and replace components if necessary.

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