Replacing old shower valve

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by Dave, Sep 9, 2004.

  1. Dave

    Dave New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Hello. I need to replace an old Delta shower valve body. The valve cover cannot be removed as it appears hard water deposits have 'sealed it shut'. Anyway, the valve is leaking to the shower head and needs to be replaced. The connections are sweated copper pipes with threaded connections to the valve body. I do not have access to behind the valve and will need to do the repairs from the shower side of the valve. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Dave
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    I assume when you say valve cover you mean the dome-shaped nut which holds the ball-and-seats assemly in place. It would be a shame to have to install a new valve just because the seats are bad, but I understand the problem with the "crust" . Try spraying the dome nut with vinegar or CLR. Allow to soak, and repeat this process every hour for as long as you have the patience. Finally, allow to set overnight and see if you have any luck. If you can get it apart, all the internal and external components are readily available as replacements.

    Replacing a body through the access hole in the tile or fibreglas is not fun. Not impossible, but probably also not a job for an amateur.
  3. Dave

    Dave New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Jimbo,

    Thanks for the response. I'll give that a try to stop the leak. Unfortunately in my zeal to remove the cap I inadvertently twisted the valve assembly so that the faucet now works at an angle instead of up and down. I was hoping that there was a method where by I did not have to resweat the fittings. Maybe compression fittings? Anyway, what I have not figured out is how do you prevent water from going down the wall after you have turned the water supply off and have loosened the existing fittings. I know there will be some water in the line and I don't see how to avoid having it go down the wall once the fiitings are loose.

    Dave
  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    1. NO compression fittings inside the wall.

    2. Just use lots of rags.

    3. You may have damage here that will force the opening of the wall from one side or the other.
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Location:
    New England
    To get as much water out of the lines as possible, after you turn off the main line, open a valve in the basement or one thatis lower than your shower, then open the shower valve. Most of the water between the shower and the lowest valve you opened will drain out, leaving very little left there to run down the inside of the wall. Think of the pipes as a straw - the water stays in it while you have a finger over the end, but when you lift up, it all drains out.
  6. e-plumber

    e-plumber DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    137
    Location:
    New York
    New Shower Valve

    I vote to replace the complete valve w/ a pressure balanced type, especially since the existing one is now damaged, (twisted tubes that connect to body). Replacing it from the front without opening the wall further will require an experienced individual, think about hiring it out :rolleyes:
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    valve

    Your other option is to find a plumber who knows how to repair those twisted tubes. It takes about an hour and a half, but still cheaper than installing a new valve through the hole in the wall.
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,814
    Location:
    New England
    Depending on the state of your plumbing, and the number of people in the house, it really may be a good idea to replace the valve with either a pressure balance (less expensive) or a temperature controlled valve. One or the other of these is now required for any new construction or replacement. You can still fix your old one, if you can get parts (which you should for the Delta), though. Either of these has some real safety benefits over a standard valve assembly.

    I first experienced a temperature controlled shower valve in London. Liked it so much, bought one for my current remodeling project - works great. You set the temp you want, and then just turn the water on. The same every time - no futzing around if your are the 2nd or third one to take a shower and the tank is getting colder - it just adjusts the supplies on its own and (trys) to keep the water the desired temp. You'd never have to worry about getting a hot or cold spike, either. The pressure balance valves prevent hot spikes, but do nothing to keep the temp the same if the supply starts to run out of hot water. Course, it doesn't heat it! But if you are often the last of a train of people taking a shower, then it makes the best of the situation automatically for you.
  9. LonnythePlumber

    LonnythePlumber Plumber, Contractor, Attorney

    Messages:
    319
    Location:
    Wichita, Kansas
    HJ cando

    hj can fix these twisted Delta valves and he feels the rest of us should be doing it also instead of replacing the valves. My retired plumber father feels the same way, "You kids don't want to fix anything. Just replace it all". I'm in my 50's and what hj can do is too tedious for me.
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,263
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Why?

    I'm in my 50's and what hj can do is too tedious for me.[/QUOTE]

    I am going to be 70 in a couple of weeks and an hour repair should not be tedious to a youngster like you. Besides it is a good challenge to prove you can do it.
  11. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,814
    Location:
    New England
    Repair or replace is always a decision. Delta is okay quality wise. If it is old, it is not a pressure balance or temperature controlled valve. Now, if you don't have people flushing toilets or turning on other water sources while you are taking a shower, then it probably won't bother you. The old and young are especially sensitive to a hot water spike. Kids because their skin is thinner, older because they may not be able to move out of the way as easily. So, if you are going to spend a bunch of time trying to fix an old valve, to me it makes more sense to replace it with one that has the (now required) safety features. It will also make the house easier to sell when the time comes. A house inspector may likely point out this deficiency, and then you'd be replacing it anyways.
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