possessed diverter

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by slemmer, Feb 1, 2007.

  1. slemmer

    slemmer New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Sorry for the long thread - Here are the facts: Cuthbert 3 valve shower; 35 yrs old fixture in a condo; Diverter was replaced last year; noticed water coming out of the spout is strong and steady. When the water is sent to the shower head, the pressure is noticeably less. Noticed the temperature is not balanced - I have to turn up the hot water all the way, while decreasing the cold water to almost nothing in order to get a comfortable temp. When I divert the water back to the spout, the temp is very hot.

    Without any changes to the water flow, the shower temperature will all of a sudden go to 'freezing cold' (this is where it's possessed). I turned off the cold water to still receive cold water for another 15 seconds before the hot returns. If I turn to diverter to the spout and turn it back to the shower, the water temps is fine, only to go back to cold.

    I replaced the diverter only to get the same result. The diverter has four 1/4" holes opposite to each other. Thinking it was positional, I aligned the holes at 90 degrees to the hot and cold, 45 degrees, and in-between to no effect. I looked inside the housing for all three valves - no clogs can be seen - if it works for the spout could it be the pipe going to the shower? Doesn't make sense that I have to turn down the cold water.

    Replaced both hot and cold valves and they look fine.

    To summarize, water temp and pressure is 100% ok when coming out of the spout; sending it up to the shower is less than ideal. It's almost as if the cold water overrides the hot water. I've tinkered with it for a couple of hours to no success. It looks simple enough in design.

    What gives?

    Stephen
  2. I'd say replace the diverter again; 35 years, it's time to retire that faucet and put in a pressure balanced/anti-scald valve.


    Otherwise, do a full rebuild.
  3. perrycat

    perrycat New Member

    Messages:
    39
    Im getting alot of the same things in the apts. I work at. I might be wrong, but I've replaced alot of diverters trying to solve this same kind of thing, and it finally occured to me, the diverter is doing it's job.....diverting. From the tub spout to the shower head. I'ts job isn't to regulate the temperature, so as far as that goes, I've figured I've been barking up the wrong tree for that.

    Now, that being said, does ALL the water stop coming out of the spout when you turn on the diverter? Or does it still come out of both the spout and the shower head? If it is, what I've been thinking along this line is alot of the hot water is getting wasted going out the spout when you want it to come out the shower head. If it's still coming out of the spout, there's a little plastic washer that sits behind the cup on the stem that holds the washer you change when you change washers does that make any sense?....anyway if that washer is broken, OR if someone didn't seat it right when they installed the new diverter stem, it won't operate correctly......take it out and see if it's broken.

    If that's not what it is, I think the heck with trying to figure it out, do like that guy before said and just get a pressure balancing valve, that's what I'm going to start doing for the apts. A good tile guy can fix the wall if there's no access in one day and you can get the whole tub surround reglazed if you can't match the tile, and it'll look good as new.

    You said its condos, I wonder if you have one of those Apollo water heaters that heats the apartment and gives potable hot water too....that might be the culprit too I don't know.
    Steve
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,267
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    diverter

    Is this a British system with a gravity water feed? You describe a situation where the hot pressure might be affected by the height of the shower head above the spout.and also the cold pressure overpowering the hot and filling the hot lines, which is why the cold would continue to flow, after the cold faucet is closed, until the cold water is flushed out.
  5. slemmer

    slemmer New Member

    Messages:
    5
    That looks like the end result if everything that is replaceable is replaced.
  6. slemmer

    slemmer New Member

    Messages:
    5
    I'm not engineer, but the diverter looks like a basic piece of brass that doesn't appear damaged. The washer and white plastic ring is intact. The diverter is definately doing it's job - sending water up to the shower when called and vise-versa, without any leaks. The mystery continues after I replaced the diverter yesterday without any improvement.
  7. slemmer

    slemmer New Member

    Messages:
    5
    No, it's not gravity fed - everything is coming from the basement floor. We're on the 11th of a 12 storey builiding.

    The thought of one line's pressure higher than the other is possible, however, it doesn't make sense that the pressure, flow, and temperature is constant and strong when it comes out of the spout but requires more hot water and less cold only to have lower pressure at the shower's end. I also checked for any blockage in the shower head, lines, and valves - took all the valves out, turned on the water and it looked like the Hoover Dam's gate had busted out.
  8. perrycat

    perrycat New Member

    Messages:
    39
    Well, since you're not on your own metered water supply in these condos, and you're having the same kind of symptoms I am, I'll bet it's not a problem in your condo and it's a problem in the building. Ask your neighbors if they're having the same symptoms, if they are, I bet there's a pump that pumps water up to the say 6th floor and a holding tank like for a well, and then jacks up the pressure again to make it to the 12th floor....that second stage pump might be set way too high maybe, and that's something you dont have any control over. If that was the case, the people "before" the second stage pump would be doing fine, and the people "after" the second stage pump would be experiencing these same problems.....

    now, here's an idea, the pressure "reduction" you're talking about, where that loss might be coming from is like the guy before said, and some of that water is maybe being pushed INTO the hot pipes ( or cold if the hot is the higher of the two presssures) and so it's appearing as if the pressure is less, when infact it's the same pressure but less VOLUME coming out.

    I could be totally full of beans, I'm trying to figure out the same thing in my apartments. But.....if you don't know....call a plumber I guess!
    Steve
  9. perrycat is on the right track with his thinking. I bet if you gauged the hot and cold and watched the pressures fluctuate with others using their plumbing you'd probably see sharp jolts in pressure reduction.

    But I do know the pressure balanced shower valve will resolve the matter. The only thing is, when you install those and hot drops off significantly, you won't notice a temperature decrease but you will notice a pressure decrease for sure.

    It's okay though, the valve is doing its job, protecting from extreme temperature changes to either hot or cold.
  10. slemmer

    slemmer New Member

    Messages:
    5
    The other alternative, and will work, would be to install a spount with built-in diverter and shower hose attachment. The drawback to that solution, would be the gap I would get by sweating a threaded connector to the 1/2" copper outlet. This solution will guarantee a strong pressure, but not visually pleasing, unless I open up the wall and fix that piece alone.

    Updating the entire shower kit assembly, given the stress I've gone through, may be the last recourse.
  11. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

    Messages:
    1,047
    Location:
    Alabama
    Sounds like you need to use a gauge to check the pressure on hot and cold. In the end you may benefit by adding a pressure regulator to the cold and maybe also to the hot water lines. But, I would hesitate to make these decisions until I had a measurement of the psi on both lines.
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