Do You Have to Replace Valves When Replacing Shower Faucets

No matter how good your shower may appear, various things can enhance your shower experience. A superior sponge, a nice shower head, the archive of shampoos and soaps, and a functional shower faucet that doesn’t leak. The great news is that you can easily replace this shower control and its elements without spending your precious time. But the question is: do you have to replace valves when replacing shower faucets?

You need to replace the valves when replacing your shower faucet to fix plumbing problems such as leaks, when renovating the bathroom, when there are mineral deposits, and for aesthetics. A faulty valve will not only lead to higher water costs, but can lead to a rotting wall too.

Why Do You Need to Replace Shower Faucets?

There are various reasons why you may consider replacing your shower faucet. Here are some of the common reasons:

To Fix Plumbing Problems

Irrespective of your bathroom’s aesthetic and fancy appearance, it won’t offer a comfortable experience if it has inherent performance and plumbing issues. You might consider replacing your shower faucet to ensure everything is functional.

Bathroom Renovation

If you consider remodeling your bathroom after too many years, you will want to have each feature in the most recent design. Thus, you may consider replacing your shower faucet to match your updated style.

Mineral Buildup

Hard water can leave behind some mineral residues that can alter the usability and appearance of your fixtures. After some time, this mineral buildup can accumulate on your shower faucet, necessitating replacement. 

Ignoring it will affect your water flow and make your shower a frustrating task.

Aesthetics

Sometimes, you may consider upgrading your shower faucet to leave your bathroom with a significant facelift. You may consider this when proposing to sell your house, or you’re exhausted by looking at a similar design. 

Replacing your shower faucet with a new design can add curb appeal to your bathroom. Therefore, you can consider replacing your faucet when repairing the cartridge or a valve.

Do You Have to Replace Valves When Replacing Shower Faucets?

Although not necessary, you can consider replacing valves when replacing your shower faucet. When remodeling your bathroom, you’ll pull down the walls underneath the shower, giving you an excellent opportunity to check the valves. The valves are generally located within the area where the faucet is fixed. 

Failure to attend to dysfunctional valves can leave you in serious trouble, such as wastage of water and abnormal changes in water temperature in your shower. Also, if you are seeking a perfect update, you should ensure that all parts on the wall are functioning normally.

First, you must check out leaks on the valves when you turn on the water. If you notice drips, this is a clear sign that you should also replace the valve. A leaking valve can lead to high water bills and the growth of harmful mildew or mold on the walls. 

A delayed changing time of the water temperature is also another indication of whether you need to replace the shower valves. The valve will require a replacement if an abrupt change in water pressure in other parts of your house triggers a sudden shift in water temperature in your shower.

How to Replace a Shower Faucet

Before replacing your shower faucet, you need to understand the kind of work you’ll handle when replacing it. You will also need to carry out some research and review the installation procedure of your new shower faucet to determine whether you can handle it on your own. 

Nonetheless, here is the step-by-step process for replacing a shower faucet:

1. Prepare the Working Area

You will require to place a cloth on the shower drain to prevent small parts from flowing through the drain. In addition, place another fabric next to your shower for laying out your tools.

2. Turn Off the Water

If you have an access panel on the shower faucet, remove it to identify whether there is a shutoff valve. If you don’t have it, you must turn off the primary water source to your house. 

After turning off the water, ensure it is completely off by opening a faucet on the water entry point in your home and leaving it open.

3. Take Out the Old Shower Head

Most shower heads are mounted on a pipe penetrating from the wall. Place a dry cloth on the connection and use a pair of pliers to remove it. You can loosen it by turning the pliers to the left or counterclockwise. 

4. Remove the Old Shower Faucet

Depending on its model and the installation design, the old shower faucet will require a unique removal approach. Some come with removable covers that you can easily remove using a screwdriver. Others come with a screw below the handle that you can withdraw using a perfect-size Allen wrench.

After removing the handle or cover, you can easily access the components and parts below. These parts will unscrew or pull out. Remove each element until you access the shower valve located at the plumbing pipe slightly above the wall.

You can remove the shower faucet using channel locks and a rag by unfastening it counterclockwise. However, you should check for any screws that are required to be removed before removing it.

5. Install the New Shower Faucet

Study the installation instructions that come with your new shower faucet. Some faucets will require the old faucet cartridge, while others come with a new cartridge. 

If your new faucet comes with a new cartridge, remove the old one and replace it. Then, drive it firmly into the valve until it is tight, and tighten the nut using channel locks and a rag.

Next, use the manufacturer’s instructions to install the cover over the handle valve or sleeve. Place any clip items, such as the escutcheon, in a secure place.

Now, mount the handle and hold it firmly in position by tightening the new screws. If the faucet comes with covers, attach them over the opening.

If your new adapter is incompatible with the old one, you will need to remove and replace the existing one. Screw the shower faucet adapter until it is firm in the proper position. Affix the set screw if your new faucet comes with one.

6. Put the New Shower Head

Wrap some Teflon tape around the plumbing pipe’s threads where the head is mounted. Next, mount the new shower head and tighten using your hands. Use a rag and a pair of pliers to continue tightening it.

7. Turn on Water and Inspect for Leaks

After turning on your water source, allow the faucet to remain open for a short time before turning it off. Then, check for any leakage around the faucet handle and the shower head. If you notice any leaks, tighten the parts appropriately. Finally, turn on the faucet to ascertain that the water flows appropriately from the shower faucet and shower head.

Options for a New Shower Valve

There are two main options for replacing your shower valve. They are:

  • Pressure-balancing Valves: They function by maintaining a steady temperature by equalizing the ratio of cold and hot water. These valves come with a diaphragm or piston which reacts to pressure variations inside cold and hot water pipes. This adjusts the flow appropriately to ensure you are not chilled after a sudden pressure drop in the opposite water pipe.
  • Thermostatic Valves: These are less common but offer excellent water temperature control systems compared to pressure-balancing valves. These valves allow you to conveniently adjust the water temperature without rationing the hot and cold water. They are designed with a heat-sensitive material that restricts the flow of hot water until it acquires an appropriate temperature for more hot water to flow within. This helps maintain a constant water temperature.

Any of them work well for your water needs in the home.

Summary

You may consider replacing your shower faucet due to plumbing issues or the need for a new design. This gives you an excellent opportunity to replace the shower valves too. Fortunately, we have discussed simple steps to go about it alongside available options for shower valves. Hopefully, this guide has helped you acquire the best design in your bathroom for a fascinating shower experience.

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