‘Spouting’ wisdom about the shower

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

My family and I had exactly seven days between the day we got our keys and the day we moved into our new house. We had to decide quickly what improvements we needed to prioritize, so we carefully assessed each room. We looked at what felt like was every square inch of the home. It was not until we moved in that we both noticed something in the showers for the first time: The levers to divert the water from spout to showerhead were missing.

Upon closer inspection, however, we figured out that these diverters were not missing after all. Unlike the traditional, pull-up levers we were used to, or even the extra knobs we have sometimes seen, these diverters were of the pull-down variety. Deciding whether we wanted to keep the existing diverters or replace them meant we would first need to look at what a replacement would entail. Whether you want to try a different diverter or you need a replacement for another reason, here are the steps to DIY:

To replace your diverter, you will need to replace your bathtub spout completely. Setscrew spouts are the easiest to install, so these instructions will tell you how to install this variety.

First you will need to remove your old spout. Look underneath the spout with a flashlight. If there is a screw underneath, then you have a setscrew spout. Use an Allen wrench to loosen the screw and then pull the spout off by hand. At this point, you can simply apply silicone grease to the pipe and install your new spout. Tighten the setscrew with an Allen wrench to lock it into place.

If you do not see a screw when you look underneath, then you have a screw-on spout. If this is the case, then you may have some extra steps to install the new one. First, remove the old by twisting counterclockwise. Use the wooden handle of a hammer to help loosen it and then fi nish by twisting by hand. Look at the pipe coming from the wall. If it is copper, then you may need to cut threaded fi tting from the pipe after removing the spout. Use tubing cutter to get the pipe down to 3 or 4 inches. Smooth it out with some steel wool.

Then, follow the same steps above, applying silicone grease to the pipe and installing the new spout. As always, consult a professional if you are at all uncomfortable or have any questions.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.