Dealing with a shower faucet that won’t turn off can be frustrating and even stressful, especially if you’re in a rush or have a limited budget for repairs.
However, with a little knowledge and some basic tools, you can often diagnose and fix the issue yourself, saving time and money in the process.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common causes of a shower faucet that won’t turn off and provide detailed instructions for troubleshooting and repairing each one. Whether you’re dealing with a loose handle, a worn cartridge, a faulty valve seat, or another issue, we’ve got you covered.
Common Causes of a Shower Faucet That Won’t Turn Off
There are several reasons why a shower faucet may not turn off, including:
Loose or Damaged Handle
If the handle on your shower faucet is loose or damaged, it may not be able to turn the valve inside the faucet properly. As a result, water may continue to flow and leak even when the handle is turned off.
Worn or Damaged Cartridge
The cartridge is an internal component of faucets that regulates water flow. Over time, however, this component can break down or become damaged, preventing it from properly shutting off water supply.
Faulty Valve Seat
The valve seat is an internal component of faucets that connects to the cartridge. If damaged or worn out, it can prevent the cartridge from sealing properly, allowing water to continue flowing.
If your showerhead is clogged with mineral deposits or other debris, it can cause water to back up in the pipes and prevent the faucet from turning off.
Water Pressure Issues
Water pressure can cause faucet valves to remain open even when the handle is turned off. If your home has a pressure regulator installed, it may need to be adjusted in order to avoid this from occurring.
How to Fix a Shower Faucet That Won’t Turn Off
Tighten or Replace the Handle
If your shower faucet won’t turn off, the problem may be a loose or damaged handle. To fix this issue, you can try tightening the handle with a screwdriver or replacing the handle entirely.
To tighten the handle, first, turn off the water supply to your shower. Then, remove the decorative cap from the handle and use a screwdriver to tighten the screw that’s holding the handle in place. Be sure not to overtighten the screw, as this can cause the handle to become stripped or damaged.
If tightening the handle doesn’t work, you may need to replace the handle entirely. To do this, you’ll need to remove the old handle by unscrewing the set screw with a screwdriver. You can then replace the old handle with a new one by inserting the handle onto the cartridge stem and tightening the set screw.
Be sure to choose a replacement handle that’s the same size and shape as the original, and that fits your shower faucet model. If you’re not sure which handle to choose, you can consult the manufacturer’s instructions or ask for help at a plumbing supply store.
Replace the Cartridge
If your shower faucet won’t shut off properly, the issue could be with a worn or damaged cartridge. This small valve regulates water flow through the faucet and if it becomes worn or damaged, it could prevent shutting off properly.
To replace a cartridge in your shower, first turn off the water supply and take apart the handle and trim. Using pliers or a cartridge puller, carefully take out the old cartridge and insert a new one in its place.
Make sure you select a replacement cartridge with the exact same size and shape as your original, which is compatible with your shower faucet model. If you’re unsure which cartridge to pick, consult the manufacturer’s instructions or ask for help at a plumbing supply store.
Once the new cartridge has been installed, reassemble the faucet and turn on its water supply. Test to make sure everything works as intended by pressing down on the handle in the off position to shut off water flow.
If you’re not confident with plumbing repairs, it’s best to hire a professional plumber to replace the cartridge for you. This way, the job will be done correctly and prevent further harm to your shower faucet or plumbing system.
Replace the Valve Seat
If you’ve tried all of the above solutions and your shower faucet still won’t turn off, the problem may be a faulty valve seat. The valve seat is a small component that connects the faucet to the plumbing pipes, and if it becomes damaged or worn, it can prevent the faucet from shutting off properly.
To replace the valve seat, you’ll need to turn off the water supply to your home and remove the faucet handle and cartridge. You can then use a valve seat wrench to unscrew the old seat and install a new one in its place. Be sure to choose a replacement seat that’s the same size and shape as the original, and apply plumber’s grease to the threads of the new seat before installing it.
If you’re not confident with plumbing repairs, it is best to hire a professional plumber to replace the valve seat for you. This way, the job will be done correctly and no further damage occurs to your shower faucet or plumbing system.
Clean or Replace the Showerhead
If your shower faucet won’t turn off, the problem may be a clogged showerhead. Over time, mineral deposits and other debris can build up in the showerhead, restricting the flow of water and preventing the faucet from turning off properly. In this case, you may need to clean or replace the showerhead to fix the issue.
To clean a showerhead, begin by unscrewing it from its attachment with a wrench or pliers. Next, soak the head in an equal mixture of vinegar and water for several hours or overnight. Finally, use a toothbrush or other small brush to scrub away any remaining debris, followed by thorough rinse with water.
If cleaning the showerhead doesn’t solve your problems, replacing it may be necessary. To do this, simply screw a new showerhead onto the arm of your faucet and tighten with either a wrench or pliers. Make sure the new showerhead matches exactly in size and shape to your original model; if unsure, consult manufacturer instructions or ask at plumbing supply stores for help selecting one.
Check and Adjust Water Pressure
If your shower faucet won’t shut off, the issue could be high water pressure. When water pressure is too high, the faucet may continue running even when turned off. To resolve this problem, check and adjust your home’s water pressure settings.
To check the water pressure, you can use a pressure gauge attached to a hose bib or other water source. All you have to do is attach the gauge and turn on the tap. This will measure the pressure in the water and display its results.
If the water pressure in your home is too high, you can lower it with a pressure-reducing valve (PRV). A PRV is an electronic device installed on the main water supply line that reduces pressure to an easily manageable level. Installing a PRV is a complex task best left to professionals; thus, we suggest hiring an experienced plumber for this task.
If your water pressure is still too high, you may need to adjust it. To do this, locate the PRV and use a wrench to turn its adjustment screw clockwise; turning counterclockwise will decrease pressure. Be sure to make small adjustments and test your water pressure frequently until you achieve your desired level.
If your shower faucet won’t shut off, there may be several potential causes and solutions to consider. From tightening or replacing the handle to cleaning or replacing the showerhead, each issue requires a different approach for fixing it. It’s essential that you take time to diagnose the issue accurately so you don’t end up replacing an otherwise good faucet or spending money on unnecessary repairs.
By following the steps outlined in this article, you can troubleshoot and fix many common issues with a shower faucet that won’t turn off. However, if you’re not comfortable with plumbing repairs, it’s best to hire a professional plumber to assist you. Remember to always turn off the water supply before attempting any repairs and use caution when handling tools and equipment.
With a little effort and the right tools, you can get your shower faucet working properly again and enjoy a comfortable, refreshing shower without any worries.
If tightening the handle doesn’t work, you may need to replace the handle entirely.
You can replace the cartridge yourself if you’re comfortable with basic plumbing tasks. However, if you’re not confident in your abilities, it’s best to hire a professional plumber.
A pressure regulator is a device that’s installed in your home’s plumbing system to regulate the water pressure. It works by reducing the pressure of the incoming water to a safe level.
It’s a good idea to clean your showerhead at least once a year to prevent mineral buildup and ensure optimal performance.
Yes, a clogged showerhead can cause water to back up in the pipes, which can lead to other plumbing issues like low water pressure and slow drainage.