Moentrol, Only hot water coming from Moen shower

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gkryhewy

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Hello! Plumbing novice here- we moved into our house a couple of years ago, and I'm gradually learning to at least be able to fake competence at some handy tasks as things come up.

We have two Moen shower fixtures in our ~12 year old house that had begun to drip very slowly no matter where the handle was set. One of the fixtures is used daily and one hasn't been used for probably a year (spare room). From learning online, it seemed a cartridge replacement would likely fix this, so I bought two and opened the first fixture up (spare room).

When I did so, I realized I bought the wrong cartridges. I thought I had posi temp fixtures (1222 cartridges), but mine are moentrol (1225 cartridges). So I closed it up again and now need to replace the cartridges I bought.

However, when I closed everything up and tested the shower, I'm only getting hot water from the shower head. Full flow on hot, barely a trickle on cold, and that could have been residual. I believe I reconnected everything okay and didn't really touch anything once I realized I had the wrong cartridge. I did take the cartridge clip out before I realized my mistake and had trouble getting it back in, so it's possible the cartridge moved a smidge.

So I messed with it some more and discovered online that this might be a balancing spool problem rather than a cartridge problem, although it seems most people with balancing spool problems would get hot water when the handle is turned to cold, rather than no water on cold like I have.

I'm hoping someone can tell me whether I'm on the right track here. Might the cartridge swap fix this issue, or should I spring for the new balancing spool at 60 bucks, and resign myself to the hard battle of getting the old one out?

Also, when I reconnected everything and put the handle back on, I was getting much worse dripping than before I started- maybe somehow I didn't screw the handle to the stem enough, or over tightened, and the valve couldn't close all the way? Should I hand tighten those screws? Anyway I opened things up again and shut off the hot water valve for now to stop the dripping.

Thanks for any suggestions from the experts here.
 

rjbphd

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You have one of the best faucet on the market. The problem you are having is a stuck balancing spool. The escutcheon plate will need to be removed to access same.

moentrol-exploded.jpg
 
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gkryhewy

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Thanks for the quick sanity check- I now have a new balancing spool on order; we'll see how it goes.
 

jadnashua

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Some of the Moen valves can work with the H-C lines reversed (common in back-to-back installs). If the balance spool valve is stuck, normally, if you got anything out of the valve, it would be all cold, not all hot. So, it sounds like yours does have the ability to be reversed. The procedure to change it back, I think, is only to rotate the thing 180-degrees, but should be on the installation instructions. In the process, a tap on the balance spool valve might free it up. Got a plastic tipped hammer?
 

gkryhewy

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Huh. Well, I didn't change the original orientation of the cartridge (never got to remove it) and I'm not sure if our set up is reversible; it's not back to back. I will give a shot at tapping on the spool before swapping in the new one. Thanks!
 

gkryhewy

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That makes sense, thanks. So you all think that the no-flow from cold side issue is a balancing spool rather than a cartridge issue?
 

jadnashua

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Ideally, when working properly, a balancing spool valve will shut off all of the water when one side is shut off. It could be the spool valve, but more common is, it would fail at all cold, or no water, not all hot.

Some valves can be swapped to reverse hot/cold buy turning the valve stem in the cartridge...you don't have to remove it. This is helpful if you have a shower on the opposite wall to simplify the plumbing, but the capability is in many valves.
 

Terry

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How about some pictures of what you have.

index.php


This is what a Moentrol looks like.

index.php


1 Check Stops Spring-driven gaskets at the valve inlets prevent high-pressure hot water from crossing the valve into a cold supply line or vice versa. (Hot water is at higher pressure in recirculation systems.) Screws in the stops shut off hot and cold lines at the shower for work on the valve cartridge.

2 Pressure-Balancing Spool Hot and cold streams slide a graphite-composite piston in response to fluctuating hot and cold water pressure. In 0.1 seconds, the piston (inside the chrome sleeve) seals or opens inlets to maintain balanced pressure between the two flows, which are still unmixed. Lab tests to monitor internal movement show the piston constantly vibrating back and forth.

3 Cartridge Pulling the shower handle slides the cartridge forward, opening two inlets to let hot and cold water enter and converge. Turning the handle opens one inlet as it closes the other, allowing users to adjust the temperature.

4 Temperature Limit Stop Screwed into the cartridge's rod, this stop prevents a child from fully opening the valve to a scalding-hot setting

moen-balancing-spool.jpg
 
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gkryhewy

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Yes, I have the moentrol. It is exactly as pictured. I replaced the cartridge properly today and was able to resolve my original dropping problem, but now I seem to be at war with the balancing spool trying to get it out.

Managed to get the cap off with a chisel as screwdriver, and I managed to get the piston out with a bent safety pin, but the outer silver sleeve for the rest of the spool is stuck fast and seems too wide to pull out. Ugh.

I have a new spool ready to go but I can't seem to get this one out.
 

gkryhewy

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So I guess I would drill another hole into the end cap, thread that hole, and then screw in a bolt that I would then use to pull the spool out? Crazy if that's the only solution. I'm about ready to call a plumber at this point but I'm afraid they'd need to disassemble the wall of the shower and replace the entire valve.
 

gkryhewy

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I got it out!! For future googlers, I used a small pair of needle nose pliers. I put the head of the pliers into the spool, and expanded the pliers inside, wedging the outer tips of the pliers inside the tube and pulling the pliers wide and out towards me as hard as I could. I think there was a lip on the pliers which caught a lip inside and made this possible.

After I got it out, I shined a light inside and saw a small loose half-sphere of solder toward the back that I expect is part of my problem. Managed to fish it out with a bent safety pin tip, installed the new spool, and all is repaired.

Thanks for the moral support everyone, and for correctly diagnosing the problem as being from the spool.
 

Terry

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After I got it out, I shined a light inside and saw a small loose half-sphere of solder toward the back that I expect is part of my problem.

I once had a small plastic ball in the copper pipe leading to the cold side on a Posi-Temp valve. Since it floated back and forth, it made for sporadic water pressure from the faucet. Slow down one side of a balancer and the other side slows down too.
 
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