What can I try next for a shower head leak?

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by undercoverplumber, Sep 5, 2006.

  1. undercoverplumber

    undercoverplumber New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Hi everyone-
    I've read previous posts and didn't find my exact problem (though it may be because I don't understand all the words - seats, valves, washers, o ring).

    We have a stand-up shower with one middle turn on knob for hot/cold. There has been a slow leak from the shower head for a month. It was a gross old head, so I decided to replace it anyway and replaced the shower arm at the same time. I used teflon tape on both sides of the arm.

    During the installation I noticed that there was water "sitting" at the top of the pipe and it began dripping out of the arm when I installed it, so the head obviously wasn't the problem. Now the water is dripping (when the knob is in off position) a little faster.

    My question is, what should I try next? Should I take off the cover of the knob and try to tighten it? Should I take off the whole knob and see if there is a bad ring or washer? Does a shower knob have a "shut off valve" similar to a toilet? Maybe this has gone bad and is no longer "shutting off" the water to the shower? I'm just not sure what I'm supposed to be looking for.

    As you can see, I need your help and would love to be able to fix this myself and learn a new skill.
    Thanks for your help.
    Amy
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,266
    Location:
    New England
    The knob you turn for adjusting the temp/volume is the shut off for your shower. If water is coming out of the head, that valve is not shutting off. Fixing it depends on the brand and model. If that isn't obvious, can you post a picture? Most of them have a replacement cartridge that should restore operations to like new (except for the looks, and then you can buy a new handle, too, if you want). Once we figure out what you have, we can tell you how to fix it.
  3. undercoverplumber

    undercoverplumber New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Thanks. I'll take a look tonight to find the brand/model or take a picture to post.
  4. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    If you can't find a brand, here's what you can do:

    1.Turn off the water to the shower. If there is no shutoff valve just for the shower, you will have to turn off the water to your entire house.

    2. Remove the shower handle (knob) and backer plate.

    3a.If there is a cartridge, you'll have to remove that and take it to a hardware store, so you can replace it. Probably a Moen cartridge. There's a little horseshoe-shaped clip that must be pulled out using a needlenose pliers that must be removed prior to pulling out the cartridge.

    OR

    3b.If there is a large, round, silver brass nut that looks like a "cap" remove that with a channel locks. Then pull out the metal ball valve. Under that are springs and rubber seats that must be replaced. These are most likely Delta parts.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2006
  5. undercoverplumber

    undercoverplumber New Member

    Messages:
    6
    It is a Delta, but I can't find any other numbers or letters except MP-6.

    When I take off the knob there is a brass fixture that has a piece going straight across & a hole in the middle (where the knob screwed into). This brass fixture is surrounded by what looks like a white plastic. There is also a small screw that is vertical and attaches to the right side of the brass fixture.

    So, should I turn off my water and then try to take out that small screw?

    Thanks.
  6. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    I'm not really sure what small screw you're talking about. But if you feel brave, you can start taking everything apart to get at the bad seats and springs. It would be best if you had another shower to use in case you mess up.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2006
  7. Lancaster

    Lancaster New Member

    Messages:
    164
    The small screw is just a rotational limit stop.Thats not going to help you.You need to take off the big round bonnet nut to remove the cartridge.Then you can refer to the instructions referenced above.
    If you dont feel comfortable doing this,you should hire a pro.Its quite easy to damage the bonnet nut and things can get troublesome if that happens.
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,266
    Location:
    New England
    Few showers have individual service stops (shut-offs), so if you take it apart, you have to turn the house water off. If you don't get it back together, you don't have any water in the house. This can get troublesome. It's not particulary hard, but keep this in mind. When they get old, it is sometimes a bear to loosen things up.
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,047
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    delta

    Be very careful when you try to take it apart. That model Delta will break into two pieces if you get too violent with the wrench. And if that happens, unless you have a good plumber who knows how to put it back together again, you will have to replace the faucet.
  10. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

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    Location:
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    Whatever you do, DON'T CUT THE RED WIRE :D .
  11. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    Wait, I think I hear the theme to mission impossible: oooooo da da dada da da da da da da dada da da da da oooooo ooooooo
  12. undercoverplumber

    undercoverplumber New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Thanks for all the advice. I will have to turn off the main water supply, so I'll be sure I have a good plan before proceeding. Any tips on loosening a tough part? Is there something you can use to loosen it up before getting out the tools?

    I'll keep you posted.
    Amy
  13. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    The only thing that might need "loosening up" is the chrome cap that must be unscrewed with a channel locks (with a rag underneath the teeth of the channel locks, so as to not ruin the cap.) If that cap is frozen, it might require a propane torch to loosen it.
  14. undercoverplumber

    undercoverplumber New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Okay, I decided to take and post a picture so I'm sure to do the right thing. I didn't see a bonnet nut based on what I've seen before, so does anyone recognize this part and what I should do next? Should I unscrew the large silver part that's in the middle?
    Any advice appreciated. Thanks.

    Attached Files:

  15. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    I wish you would have posted the photos earlier. That Delex model is a different kind of setup than I thought.

    It looks like you have to remove the two long screws that hold the trim plate on, and then remove the trim plate. I can't tell from the picture if that round, chrome piece in the middle with the ridges is a nut that must be unscrewed or a sleeve that must be pulled out. If it is a nut, then, with the water off, you need to unscrew it using a rag under a channel locks. Then, take a pliers and pull out the cartridge slowly--don't jerk it. They make cartridge pullers if it is frozen. Note: There may be a clip that is holding the cartridge in place. If there is, you need to pull it out first with a needlenose pliers. I don't think there's any springs and rubber seats with this model. You probably just need to replace the cartridge. I could be wrong, though. Let's hear what others have to say.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2006
  16. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

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    2,734
    Location:
    Central Florida
  17. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    That's a really neat tool for installing shower arms and shower heads, etc., but I doubt you'd get enough "bite" out of that non-marring pad to remove frozen or semi-frozen nuts like you often find in Delta faucets. Usually, I just end up doing away with the rag in those situations and having to replace the nut (cap) when I'm done, or file it down if the damage is slight.
  18. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,266
    Location:
    New England
    Those are designed to unscrew (or tighten) electrical connectors which typically have some sort of knurling on them. It should work on the Delta dome thing since it also has some knurling. Because of the curved jaws and somewhat resilient jaws pads, it is not supposed to mess with the finish. But, at the cost of the pliers, you can buy a new replacemenet part after getting the old one off and still get a cup of coffee and a doughnut.
  19. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,734
    Location:
    Central Florida
    The padding on the jaws looks like a hard neoprene. True, they're intended for knurled things, but... I had to disassemble a Moen sink faucet a couple of days ago, and the smooth chrome collar nut holding everything together was cemented with a few years' hard-water deposits. These pliers gripped great and left absolutely no marks. Of course, $.50 worth of 1/4" neoprene would allow you to pad the Channelock jaws similarly...
  20. undercoverplumber

    undercoverplumber New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Well I got into the faucet this weekend and found a pretty bizarre looking situation. I had the replacement cartridge and an extra set of of seats & springs ready. I used the rag trick and the nut came off just fine, then I slipped the sleeve & plate off.

    When I took off the plate I saw the old cartridge, but instead of two "tubes" in the part attached to the wall pipes, there were 3 "tubes"; two on top and one below in the middle (see pictures).

    It was obvious the replacement cartridge was not going to fit on there because it only had two blue "tubes." Most of the other parts of the cartridge looked the same, though.

    So, I decided to try to replace the seats & springs. There were seats but no springs, so I decided to replace the seats since I was in there. However, the old seats didn't look cracked or worn.

    After putting everything back together, there is no leak! Maybe the seats helped or maybe just getting in and tightening some things up. I'm not confident that it won't come back, but I have a couple questions if it does:

    1) Is it common to have seats but no springs?
    2) Based on the pictures, does it look like I will need to do something more to make the current cartridge compatible with what's in there now? Did there used to be 3 "tubes" instead of 2 on old models?
    3) If the leak comes back how can I go about replacing the new cartridge? Will I need to call in the pros?

    Thanks for your help Verdeboy, Jadnashu, Mikey, hj, and Lancaster

    On a side note for people who are new to all of this (like me), taking some time to look around in the store at some of the plumbing parts is a very educational experience. It gave me an idea of what I might see and encounter when getting into a job like this.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 10, 2006
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