Plumbing

My shower has dripped since it was originally installed. I should have had it fixed back then, but now I have waited too late. In the meantime, the pressure was never that great and it seems like it has gotten really miserable lately. I know that new fixtures are low flow, but this is well below anything like that. I screwed the showerhead off to see if there was anything blocking that. There was some little pieces of rust or grit that you might typically find, but removing that didn’t do anything to improve the situation. Even with the showerhead off, there wasn’t much water coming out of the pipe.

The diverter in the main bathroom tub (switches between tub and shower) had failed and I wound up getting a new part from American Standard that fixed it. So I was thinking maybe I needed new parts for the shower as well and wanted to take apart the handles to see if I could figure out the problem. I was really hoping I wouldn’t have to do anything that would make me get into the wall because I don’t have an access panel for the shower. But if solder was blocking the pipes or grout had gotten in there, that might be the only way to fix it. So first I needed to turn the water off and the easiest way to do that for me is at the street. Once it was off I wanted to drain the water out of the shower so it wouldn’t get on me when I took the handles apart, so I opened up an outside spigot that is lower than the shower fixture (a bunch of water came out because the expansion tank pushes water out as the system pressure is relieved) and then went inside and turned the shower on. This allowed water to drain out of the outside spigot and suck in air through the shower.


Now I was able to take apart the handles and pull the ceramic valves out. They were a little rusty, but didn’t look too bad otherwise. I didn’t see anything that could be causing really low flow. I took the showerhead off too just to check it out one more time and even tried sticking a piece of wire down it to see if I could dislodge anything, but the wire wouldn’t go very far, only to the first bend from the showerhead.

The only other thing I felt like I could do was just flush the line and hope that if anything was blocking the line, it would be free to pass out of the open handles. I thought I could put a bucket under the two handleless handle openings to see what was flushed out, if anything, but I didn’t want to go to the trouble. So I went back out to the street and turned the water back on for 5-10 seconds, which I thought was probably long enough to get rid of the air in the line and flush some water through.

I was curious what had happened, so with the water back off again I went back in the house and to the bathroom. There was water everywhere! It had splashed on the sink and walls next to the shower, the toilet next to the sink, and the wall at the other end of the bathroom. The bath mat was soaking wet. I guess I had opened up two firehoses and had 10 seconds of chaos in there. Even the roll of toilet paper was wet. It’s not a huge bathroom, but the toilet paper is probably 5 feet from the shower door. The good thing is bathrooms are pretty much made to get wet, so I dried everything off and reassembled the shower handles and showerhead. I didn’t see anything that looked like it could have been blocking the pipes. I turned the water on, figuring the results wouldn’t be much different, but now I had a really strong flow of water! So strong that when I open the handles all the way it makes a fairly loud whistling noise. It’s kind of obnoxious actually, but full blast is really too much water anyway.

Really great showers now and because there is more flow it also takes less time of running the water until it runs hot. We’ll see what it does to my water bill. Although I can take shorter showers now, the flow is so much higher that I still am probably using twice as much water.

And the shower still drips, so I didn’t fix that aspect.

3 thoughts on “Plumbing

  1. I could have, but I wanted to try to fix it myself first and it worked great except the leak is still there. I’m not 100% sure the leak can be fixed except by replacing some parts in the faucet, which I might be able to get free from American Standard.

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