When a shower faucet starts to leak or drip even when shut off, it may be cracked or broken. It may be time to replace it. When purchasing the shower faucet replacement, keep in mind that you need the exact same measurements in order for it to fit into the valve. Also consider the kind of shower faucet that you have currently installed. If it only has one handle and functions to dispense both cold and hot water depending on how far you turn it, then it is a single lever shower faucet.
There are many types of single lever faucets but regardless of their minor variances, they function the same way. Below are the general steps on how to replace this type of shower faucet.
Step 1 - Turn off the Water Source
Locate the water heater and tighten the valves to cut off the water going into the faucet. Also turn off the water at the water main where it enters the home. Turn the shower faucet back on and drain the remaining water in the pipes by allowing all the water to flow out.
Step 2 - Prepare to Remove Shower Faucet
Lay out all the tools and materials needed for easy access. Cover the drain with an old towel to prevent screws from slipping down into it and to protect the tub from falling tools.
Step 3 - Remove the Faucet Handle
Using a small flathead screwdriver, poke its tip into the side of the plastic cover located at the top part of the faucet handle. Pop off that plastic cover and set aside. Inside the hole, locate the screw and, with a Phillips screwdriver, turn the screw to the left to loosen and take it out along with the handle. With a channel lock, grab onto the cover plate, if there is one, and pull it out. Line up the faucet handle parts for easier re-installation later.
Step 4 - Remove the Old Shower Faucet
Locate the metal retaining ring or retainer clip or nut, whichever applies, that holds the cartridge in place and, with an adjustable wrench, loosen it and take it out. With a pair of pliers, grasp the tip of the old shower faucet, and pull it straight out from the valve.
Step 5 - Install the New Shower Faucet
Put the new shower faucet or cartridge into the open valve. Slip back in the retaining ring or retainer clip or nut, whichever applies, and tighten to secure using an adjustable wrench.
Step 6 - Replace the Faucet Handle
Put the screw, faucet handle and cover plate back on. Tighten the screw with the Philips screwdriver and push back the plastic cover over it.
Step 7 - Turn on Water Source
Open the water valves controlling the flow of water into the house and those on the water heater. Turn on the new water faucet to test its flow.
If you want to replace just the shower handle, you can discard the old faucet handle and follow steps 6 and 7 using the new shower handle. Otherwise, just refer to the manufacturer's instructions that come with the product and install accordingly.