Summer is coming! You’re going to want to take some cool showers when the weather heats up, especially if you don’t like running the A/C on all day long. If you’re having an issue getting cold water in your shower, fixing that problem is going to become critical to your happiness when the weather gets warm.
The Solution Is to Replace the Cartridge
The most likely cause of your problem is a defective pressure balancing spool, which is a part of the cartridge inside your shower faucet. To fix the problem, you’ll need to replace the cartridge.
Replacing the Cartridge is Harder than It Sounds
Unfortunately, a build-up of corrosion may have caused your cartridge to become lodged inside the faucet over time. For most people, the hardest part of replacing a shower cartridge is getting the old cartridge to come out.
You’ll Need a Special Tool
To make it easier to remove your old stuck cartridge, you’ll need a special tool creatively called a “cartridge puller.” Cartridge pullers are designed to thread into the old cartridge, making it easy to pull the cartridge out. In addition to the cartridge puller, you’ll also need a Phillips screwdriver, needle nose pliers, and silicone grease. Once you’ve got the right materials, the process is relatively straightforward. See below:
- Turn off the water supply to the shower faucet.
- Use the screwdriver to remove the handle of the faucet.
- Take off the metal cover under the faucet handle to reveal the valve stem protruding from the wall of the shower.
- Use needle-nose pliers to pull the retainer clip out of the top of the valve body.
- Tug on the valve stem and pull it out. Removing the valve stem will expose a space inside the valve body. The cartridge is lining the wall of the space.
- Use the cartridge puller to remove the cartridge from the faucet. Different types of cartridge pullers will function in different ways, so you’ll need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to use your particular model.
- Take the old cartridge to a home improvement center or hardware store to find an exact match, and purchase a new cartridge.
- Line the inside of the valve body and the new cartridge with silicone grease to ensure that the new cartridge will slide into the valve body easily.
- Insert the new cartridge into the valve body and put back the outer parts of the faucet that you removed in step 1 and 2. Don’t forget to put the retainer clip back into the valve stem.
- Turn back on the water supply to the shower.
That’s it! Test the water to ensure that the cold water is now functioning. If the hot and cold water is reversed after reinstalling the faucet, this is an indication that the cartridge was put into the faucet backwards. To fix the problem, simply pull the cartridge out, turn it upside down and put it back in the valve body.
For additional help, take a look at this step-by-step tutorial with pictures.
There are Alternatives
There are ways to complete this task without buying a cartridge puller. If you have a tool called a tap in your home, this can be used to thread the inside of the cartridge. Once this is done, you can insert a bolt into the cartridge and pull the cartridge out of the wall. You can check out the process online in this YouTube video:
Finally, if you’re not interested in trying to replace the cartridge yourself, and you’re lucky enough to be a resident of Pittsburgh or the surrounding area, give us a call. We’ll be happy to help you get your shower back to full functionality.