Repairing a Cartridge Tub and Shower Faucet


Cartridge faucets generally use an up/down motion to regulate water flow and control temperature with a left/right motion. If you have a two-handle faucet and the handles turn 90 degrees, you have either a cartridge or ceramic disk faucet.
Repairing a cartridge tub and shower faucet is a project many homeowners who are handy with a few basic tools can do themselves. Cartridge faucets typically develop leaks because the O-ring that cushions the faucet stem becomes worn or breaks. Repairing a leaky cartridge tub and shower faucet is usually a matter of removing the cartridge and replacing any worn or damaged O-rings.
As long as you’re removing the cartridge for repairs, you may find it easier to replace the cartridge itself. If you want to replace the cartridge, take the old cartridge you’re replacing to the store so you can match it to the exact cartridge you need. You may also want to pick up a repair kit, which has everything you need to replace all the parts in your faucet at one time, so your repair will last even longer. If you cannot remove the cartridge, and there is a visible mineral buildup, apply a calcium and lime remover to the affected area. Do not apply petroleum-based solvents, as these can damage parts of the faucet.




Step 1: Turn Off Water

Step 1: Turn Off WaterTurn off the water at the shut off valves. These valves can usually be found in the basement, utility closet or crawlspace, or in a closet behind the bathroom wall that holds your tub’s plumbing fixtures and accessed via a removable panel. If you don’t have an access panel, you can turn off the water at the main water supply. To learn more about shutting off the water, watch our
How to Shut Off a Valve video.

Step 2: Remove the Handle

Step 2: Remove the Handle1.  Pry off the handle cap.2.  Remove the screw holding the faucet handle in place.3.  Remove the handle.

Step 3: Remove the Decorative Trim

Step 3: Remove the Decorative Trim1.  Remove any screws holding the decorative trim behind the handle in place.2.  Use a plastic putty knife to pry off the cap.3.  Clean any old caulk off the cap with the putty knife.

Step 4: Remove the Retaining Clip

Step 4: Remove the Retaining Clip1.  Expose the retaining clip by removing the sleeve from the handle.2.  Grip the end of the retaining clip with a pair of pliers and pull it out.

Step 5: Pull the Cartridge Out

Step :5 Pull the Cartridge Out1.  Pull the cartridge straight out of the housing with a pair of pliers or a cartridge
wrench.2.  Use a soft bristle brush to remove any mineral or lime deposits.

Step 6: Replace O-Ring

Step 6: Replace O-Ring1.  Replace the old O-rings with new ones coated with silicone grease.2.  Install the O-ring on the cartridge.3.  Reassemble the faucet.4.  If the hot or cold water is reversed, remove the cartridge, rotate it 180 degrees
and reassemble the faucet.

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