"Standard" shower/tub valve repair or replace?

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by Chessiec, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. Chessiec

    Chessiec New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    durham, nc
    I would really appreciate the opinion of the plumbers here on whether to repair or replace my "Standard" (American Standard?) shower/tub valve.

    It is dripping from the tub spout when turned off. I haven't been able to get the escutcheons off. They have either plumber's putty or plaster packed in behind them. Rock hard. I can't tell if they pull off or are threaded on: pulling hasn't worked, and I so far can't just rotate counter-clockwise off, probably because of the plaster packed in the escutcheon. I hope someone here can tell me how they come off, so I can know if I need to carefully dremel or chip out that plaster.

    DEA plumbing has replacement valve stems. Does anyone know if they would fit this valve?

    If advice from this forum is to replace the valve, can that be done with the access panel as is, or does the header need to be removed and the access hole opened up more? This is a two handle 8" spread valve with diverter on the tub spout, and there is no need to change anything about the shower head and pipe to it. A plumber that I'm not sure about said he would have to open the hole up about 6 more inches to change out the valve.

    I hope my attempt to load up photos of this is successful. Thanks for any advice and help.

    Attached Files:

  2. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    The stems have to be taken out of the mixer valve to see if they can be matched. The one you have may be a Re-Nu in which case they tend to rebuild very well with great success.

    If you have the "Re-Nu" mixer it has a stem and barrel configuration and both should be replaced together.

    [​IMG]
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,843
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    standard

    The escutcheons unscrew. You have to remove the stems to see which of the several ones American Standard used matches yours. More than likely all you need is a washer and possibly a new seat or Re-Nu barrel.
  4. Chessiec

    Chessiec New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    durham, nc
    Appreciate the responses. Sounds like you two think this set is functionally fine to keep, even if old.

    Do the escutcheons unscrew just lefty-loosey as usual? I can't seem to get them to budge.
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,156
    Location:
    New England
    It may be functional, but personally, I'd replace it. Do you get some rust from that galvanized nipple, too?

    The replacements will be safer if you have children or elderly that might be affected by the occasional hot spurt when someone flushes a toilet or something like that.

    The new ones are required to have antiscald technology.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,843
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    unscrew

    In plumbing, as in most other things, almost everything unscrews to the left, unless there is an overriding reason to use a left hand thread, such as toilet tank levers.
  7. Chessiec

    Chessiec New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    durham, nc
    Okay! Chipped out the plaster last night, and with ample use of a rubber mallet, was finally able to get the escutcheon off. Then I realized why it had been so difficult. The escutcheon seems to have corroded onto the nut and threads farthest from the valve, so I was removing that nut and threaded piece from the stem, too.

    I put things back together so the house will have water, and tomorrow morning will have time to shut the water off, remove the stem, and go get a replacement.

    As far as replacing the fixture: I'm not worried about scalding. Flushing the toilet, etc. has never caused any temp or volume spikes or surges. I haven't noticed any rust. Where would it show up?

    If I run into trouble in removing the stem, I'll post a photo and call for help. I really appreciate this board and your responses. I tried two different plumbers, one of whom said that the faucet stems and seats couldn't be found, and one who wanted to open up the wall to replace the valve and would only install Gerber, which we didn't like the looks of. That's what caused me to try to fix it myself.
  8. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Oh Boy...
    You had to meet them 2 guys...
    Cross them off in your yellow pages!
    Keep looking for a good one.
    You should have this one covered yourself!
  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,156
    Location:
    New England
    Your picture shows a galvanized nipple (short threaded piece of pipe) in your setup. That WILL rust at some point, and nobody should use them in potable water today in preference to brass (which costs more but will likely last forever).

    When you remodel, you will need to replace the valve. When you sell the house, it will likely become an issue with the home inspection. So, if you have trouble finding repair parts, it may be time to bite the bullet and change it out.
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,843
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    galvanized

    That nipple ONLY has water in it when the valve is being used, and I have seen MANY, as in thousands, which were decades old and had no rust whatsoever. In addition, because it is vertical, there is no way for water to stay in contact with it to become rust colored. Now, however, the one to the tub spout could deteriorate and even rust off where it attaches to the spout, but that is a relatively simple replacement.
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