This post is one in a series on remodeling small bathrooms. As well as one within the sub-series on your options for bathroom remodeling materials. As well as one about showers. To access any of the lead posts, please select one of the links in the prior sentences.
The only part of your shower system that has moving parts, and therefore is susceptible to failing, is your shower valve.
The Solera Group provides expert bathroom remodeling services in the greater San Jose metro area.
Of course if you have iron pipes they will eventually rust away, but let’s assume for now you have copper.
The hot water comes in on the left. The cold water comes in on the right. There may be a down connection going to a bathtub spout, there is definitely an up connection going to the shower head.
The insides of a shower valve are much more complex than most people realize (which is why they’re expensive). They have to turn easily, allow water to flow where it should, and prevent water from flowing where it shouldn’t.
So what can fail?
The part that is permanently installed behind your wall is the casing. I’ve never seen one fail.
The part that inserts into the casing is the cartridge. They fail.
When a cartridge fails it is typically washers, o-rings and other forms of seals. It is possible to buy rebuild kits for cartridges, but it’s questionable (at least to me) if the time and effort required is worth it.
Although buying a new cartridge is more expensive than buying a cartridge rebuild kit, by replacing the entire cartridge you save time and perhaps more importantly, you get it fixed right the first time every time.
I have rebuilt cartridges only to have them still leak (or be blocked) and had to subsequently replace them anyway.
I recommend you simply bite the bullet and replace the entire cartridge straight away.
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