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Shower Diverter Valve: 8 Things You Should Know Before You Purchase

You can relax your nerves by taking a nice, warm shower. But have you ever thought to yourself how the water reaches the showerhead? This is as a result of a plumbing part called the shower diverter. Knowing how it works can be useful since it can help you identify a problem in your bathroom before it affects the hot showers you love to take.

What Is A Shower Diverter Valve?

If you have a combination of bathtub and shower, your faucet handle can change the movement of water from the spout of the bath to the showerhead and vice versa. When you use this handle, you activate the shower diverter, which is the valve behind the wall that directs the flow of water.

With this valve, you can choose between filling your bathtub and showering. In short, it helps to direct water into the showerhead and prevent it from coming out of the tub spout.

How Do Diverter Valves work?

Diverter valves switch the water distribution between the bathtub tap faucet and the showerhead. The water pipe that connects to the bath faucet is also vertical to meet the showerhead.

Water flows directly through the tap and into the bathtub when the diverter valve is open. Or down the drain with an outdoor shower. If you only want to operate the shower, you will need to lift the lever near the diverter valve. 

This creates pressure, which in turn forces the flow of water up and out of the showerhead.

Types Of Showerhead Diverters

As you shop around, you will find that there are predominantly three types of shower diverter valves. These are the three-valve diverter, the two-valve diverter, and the tee diverter. 

a. Three-Valve Diverter

Most two-taps faucets have a three-valve diverter installed. The three-valve diverter is what is installed in most residential buildings and shower rooms. 

The role of this kind of diverter is to bring the water temperature to a comfortable level with the hot and cold faucets before the water passes through the valve and the showerhead.

Ensure you turn off the diverter and return it to its original position by turning it counterclockwise when you are done making use of the shower

b. Two-Valve Diverter

The two L-shaped valves that are located in the middle of a standard faucet are used to fit the 90% of the two-valve diverters. A single dial positioned between the two temperature taps helps a two-valve diverter to adjust, typically the water temperature. 

Two-valve diverters are found in older homes where the bathtub and shower are installed as one. With the two-valve system, you can direct water from the tub directly to the showerhead.

c. Tee Diverter

This type of shower diverter is not as common as the others. However, it is still frequently found in some properties and is usually installed as part of the bathtub spout. It is simply a straight pulling handle that only directs the water to the showerhead.

Simply push the tee back down to stop the water from flowing when the shower is no longer in use. To minimize wear and stress, it is advised to run the water through the valve after use before turning it off immediately.

It is also strongly recommended to adjust the temperature setting before standing in the shower or bathtub to avoid being scalded. If you ever observe water leaking from either end, whether showerhead or spout, you need to contact a local plumber.

Main Diverter Valve Advantages

To maximize space, diverter valves can have an impact on the rest of the bathroom. They can help improve the space available in the area. By installing a shower diverter valve, the showerhead can be positioned over the bathtub. 

Hence you don’t have to install extra faucets, pipes, and tiles. This is a particularly important benefit in a compact bathroom. It may even mean you can add a bathtub and shower combination to a smaller bathroom on the ground floor. 

Shower Diverter Valve Problems

Some of the common issues encountered with shower diverters are:

a. Leaks: If water leaks under your bathtub, it can cause significant water damage to the floor and walls.

b. Low water pressure from shower head: Sometimes, the diverter does not transfer all of the water to the showerhead, which at the same time results in low water flow from the tub spout and showerhead.

c. Difficulty switching between bath faucet and showerhead: the diverter may need cleaning or replacement if activation becomes difficult.

How to Install Showerhead Diverter Valve

This type of shower diverter valve is needed if you have multiple shower heads in your bathroom, or plan to install a few. Fortunately, installation is relatively easy, even for a novice, and there are several shapes to suit your design needs. Many shower diverter valves are also cheap and can be bought at any local hardware store or homeware store.

Follow these steps below to install a shower head diverter valve:

Step1: First, remove your regular shower head. You may need a wrench, but it is relatively easy to unscrew.

Step 2: secondly, you screw the diverter valve onto your water pipe. Also, ensure you have a tight fit to avoid dripping or water pressure loss.

Step 3: Now you should place the original shower head on the diverter valve and ensure you have a snug fit

Step 4: Install the hand-held shower head on the diverter valve. Again, make sure the fit is snug to avoid leakage.

Step 5: Test the shower diverter valve by running water through the regular shower head. If it works properly, use the lever or button on the diverter valve to switch the flow to the hand-held shower head. When testing, make sure none of the shower heads are leaking.

Step 6: Finally, test the diverter again the day after installation to make sure there are no leaks.

How To Replace A Shower Diverter Valve

Here is the procedure to replace a shower diverter valve:

Step 1: The first step is to determine that there is indeed a problem. Once that’s set, you’ll want to turn off the supply of water to your shower. Use tape to seal the drain to prevent screws and tiny parts from accidentally falling off. Then identify the type of diverter of your shower.

Step 2: Now, try to fix it. Ensure you clean the shower diverter and bring it back into top shape. Do this before completely replacing it. Tighten the screws behind the faceplate of the diverter valve if they are loose. Check to see if water continues to leak in both directions. If that doesn’t solve the problem completely, go to step 3.

Step 3: The next step is to take out the old shower diverter. Then dismantle the shower deflector. When the valve rotates, loosen the nut on the stem and remove the full valve. If it is a gate valve, unscrew the threaded tub spout.

Step 4: Get your new shower diverter. Install the new unit, making sure that the parts do not cross each other. You will need a wrench to tighten the valve. Be careful, and don’t tighten too hard. Make sure the valve is in the correct position by turning the slide or adjusting the plug.

Step 5: Finally, do a test run. Turn the water back on to activate the diverter. The water should flow to the showerhead. If the shower sprays well from the bathtub spout with no leaks, you’ve been successful.

 How to Properly Deactivate a Shower Diverter

Depending on the type of tub faucet you bought, you might get one of these three types of shower diverter valves. All of them are equally effective in holding the water through the showerhead until you release it. 

It is always advisable to release the diverter and let the water flow through the bath spout for a few seconds before turning off the water. This reduces the load and wear of the diverter valves.

If you come across a shower diverter and aren’t sure how it works, start the water while standing outside the shower to make sure you don’t get scalded by hot water. If you have a shower that has water flowing out of both the tub and shower, then there’s a need to either clean or replace your diverter valve.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is a three-way diverter valve shower?

With a 3-way wall Diverter, you can control the water flow between 3 shower outlets. This solid and sturdy brass construction shower valve is designed to last and works with ten types of American Standard shower trim kits for a look that perfectly fits any bathroom.

Can you replace the shower handle without replacing the valve?

Yes. You can use a universal replacement kit to replace the handle and trim for the tub/shower controls without redoing any plumbing. 


Lastly, the diverter works like a switch that allows you to open or close the flow of water to the shower or bathtub. With your shower diverter valve open, water flows straight through the tap into the tub when you take a bath.

When it is closed, it can create pressure, and as a result, water is pushed upwards when you want to shower instead. This happens when you turn on the shower lever or shower.