A shower that’s running non-stop is a prominent issue that will have a severe impact on your water bill whether your shower trickles or flows like a stream. This problem can hurt you in many ways.
A shower that won’t stop running can not only increase your water bill but can cause mildew and mold through humidity. Also, water damage is a concern which in some cases will force you to rebuild parts of your bathroom completely.
It is vital that you fix this issue as soon as possible. This article will cover all the possible causes of a non-stop running shower and how to fix these frustrating problems.
Why Won’t My Shower Faucet Turn Off?
By inspecting your shower’s faucet, handle, and showerhead itself, you may find loose parts. Loose handle screws are pretty common and can keep your shower from turning off completely. Other loose parts of your shower can cause leaks. Components of your shower can get loose through wear and tear but are usually easy to fix.
A Damaged Faucet
Your shower’s faucet has parts such as O-rings, valves, and gaskets that can give out, causing water to continue flowing after you turn it off. The faucet’s stem can also get damaged, and the handles can develop cracks which will result in continuous leaking.
If your faucet has suffered from severe damage, you will need to replace it. Damaged faucets can also cause mold and mildew.
Your shower faucet has a cartridge that controls the flow of hot and cold water. The cartridge also has the pivotal job of stopping water once you turn your shower off. These cartridges will give out over time.
Faucet cartridges are a common cause of showers that won’t turn off, and if you have not changed the cartridge in a long time, it is likely the source of your problem.
Over time your faucet can get clogged up with rust, dirt, sediment, or other debris. If left unchecked, this rust and debris will damage your faucet. Damaged faucets will leak and often develop handles that won’t turn off all the way.
Clogged faucets are the least common cause but are still a possibility. Most of the time, we only clean our faucet once a problem has arrived, but preventive maintenance is critical. Unclogging your faucet will also improve water flow.
A shower diverter valve controls how much water flows into separate outlets such as a bathtub and showerhead. Most diverter valves are set up for one to three outlets. Sometimes these valves develop issues and can leak or even refuse to turn off.
Any problems with a diverter valve should be addressed immediately as water damage can develop. One definite sign of a bad diverter valve is water coming out of both outlets.
How to Fix a Shower That Keeps Running After I Turn It Off
Tightening Loose Parts
Before performing any work on your shower, turning your water supply off is a good practice.
To tighten your faucet’s handle, remove the faceplate, which can usually be done by turning the bonnet counterclockwise and removing screws that hold the faceplate. Next, check the screws under the faceplate that actually hold the handle in place with a screwdriver or Allen wrench to make sure they are tight. Once you are done tightening your handle’s screws replace the faceplate.
You can fix loose showerheads with the use of expansion foam. Apply masking tape around the hole that your showerhead comes out of to help catch any excessive foam. Handheld showerheads can be tightened with seal tape and an adjustable wrench.
Replacing a Damaged Faucet
Begin by turning off your water supply or the cut-off valve for your bathroom if you have one.
Remove your showerhead by turning it counterclockwise. You must also remove the handle by unscrewing the faceplate and the handle itself. You can replace these parts with new ones if that is your issue. Make sure to install new O rings and gaskets included with your new product.
If your valve stem or pipes are damaged, you may be best off hiring a professional plumber as replacing these parts involves removing valves and copper pipes with specialized tools.
Replacing a Faucet Cartridge
Turn off your water supply and cover your drain, so you don’t drop small screws or pins down it.
Remove the faceplate and the handle using a screwdriver or Allen wrench. Once the handle and faceplate are removed, you will have access to your cartridge, which rests just inside your wall. There is a metal sheath around the cartridge that can be removed by hand or gently with pliers.
Once the metal sheath is removed, there is a U pin holding the cartridge in place. You can remove this pin with a pair of needle-nosed pliers. Once everything is removed, you can use your needle-nosed pliers to remove the old cartridge, replace it with a new one, and put everything back together.
It is important to note that you also have access to your diverter valve by accessing your cartridge.
Cleaning a Clogged Faucet
There are a few methods to clean a clogged faucet but removing the faucet’s aerator itself is the most effective way.
You can remove most aerators with a plumber’s wrench. It helps to put a cloth between the wrench and an aerator to avoid damaging it. Once you have removed the aerator, you will need a chemical product that removes calcium lime and rust. Soak the aerator in the chemical product.
The length of time you need to soak your faucet’s aerator will depend on the product, but it’s usually for a couple of hours. Afterward, rinse your aerator with water and reattach it.
Inspecting Your Diverter Valve
It is important to remember to shut off your water supply to avoid a possible flood or water damage.
You can get access to your diverter by cutting a small hole next to your shower handle. But it is much more cost-effective to remove your shower’s faceplate, handle, and cartridge. Behind the cartridge, you will find the diverter.
Inspect your diverter valve closely. Tightening all the nuts on the diverter valve can stop it from remaining on, and your shower is turned off. If you see damage such as cracks that cause leaks, you will need to replace your diverter valve.