Shower Cartridge and Valve
Do you have a leak in your shower, the tub faucet or shower head just continue to have that slow drip that wont stop? You have a leak below that’s showing on your ceiling? You see water spots on ceiling everytime you turn on the tub faucet but shower is good?
We hear these often, they’re all related to your cartridge or valve for your tub/shower. There are three important parts to understand shown below
Valve – this is in the wall and has your cold water, hot water and then pipes leading to shower head/faucet. Typically if you have a tile shower or fiberglass surround these can only be accessed from behind via an access panel or creating an access panel to not ruin the tile/fiberglass in the “front”. These are the more expensive option to replace and can cost upwards of $1000 or more
Cartridge – this is a mixture of metal/plastic with o rings on it that allows you to control the amount of hot/cold water mixing that you want and turning the water off. These are much easier to replace and can cost around $300-$500 to have someone do this work
Trim Kit – this is aesthetic typically more than anything however the important thing to remember is that the cover that goes onto the valve/cartridge for you to adjust water typically can only be installed on “like” branded items and sometimes older units do not allow newer. This is a common misconception that these can easily be changed out.
When you just have a slow leak, it’s the cartridge most likely and when you have water damaging drywall or something below it then you’re typically looking for a new valve.