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Old 04-03-2013, 10:59 PM   #1
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Tub fixtures: water coming out of shower head when faucet is on


I need some help on how to troubleshoot a tub/shower fixture set. When the diverter is not on (aka, set to tub spout), I'm still getting water flow out of the shower head. It is also very low flow. I've just replaced the whole fixture set, valves included. I had the problem before changing everything out, and it's pretty much stayed the same since the change out.

Other info: Faucet is two handle faucet with pull diverter valve built into the spout. Plumbing is all 1/2" CPVC, though when I did the change out, I did change several of the elbows and fittings to Sharkbite fittings. Bathroom is on the end of the only plumbing run that goes to the 2nd story (everything else runs in the ceiling of the basement aka floor of the main story). Tub layout is fairly normal, very short run from mixing valve to spout, with one elbow. Run to shower head is about 4' from mixing valve, one elbow.

Though not an uncommon problem, the answers seem to be 1) water pressure too high and defeating diverter valve; 2) bad diverter valve; 3) more obstruction or flow restrictions between mix valve and spout than mix valve and shower head. I've ruled out the first two. As far as I could tell, there's nothing abnormal restricting flow to the spout, but I'd have to take it apart again to be sure.

Any other thoughts or troubleshooting suggestions? It may be that the flow/pressure is too low to the bathroom, but I've not seen anyone ever link that to this type of problem. Before anyone suggests it, I absolutely hate CPVC, especially only 1/2", but that's what the house is plumbed in. I've upped a few places to 3/4" and used some PEX as well, but none of that seems relevant to this bathroom.

Thanks all!

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Old 04-04-2013, 12:42 AM   #2
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Tub fixtures: water coming out of shower head when faucet is on


What's your water pressure?
Why do you hate CPVC?

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Old 04-04-2013, 08:54 AM   #3
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Tub fixtures: water coming out of shower head when faucet is on


what brand of valve is it? what did you run from the valve to the spout? any restriction in that line will cause the water to come out of the spout.
valves used to come with a little cone shaped restrictor that went in the top of the valve body to prevent that.
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:10 AM   #4
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Tub fixtures: water coming out of shower head when faucet is on


Water pressure in the house is 65psi at the regulator, I believe (need to go back and check). This bathroom is at the end of a long run, so while the pressure should be the same, I know flow is significantly reduced.

My dislike of CPVC comes from working with in the last couple of years (DIY repairs & retrofits). The house is less than 15 y/o and I'm already seeing brittle pipes throughout. Plus I only have about a 75% success rate on cementing new joints, and every time I get one wrong, I have to cut it out and start over with less pipe. At least if it was copper I could save the fitting and pipe. I'm starting to use the Sharkbites more, but they are big $$$.

To be honest, it's an off-brand, because we had a hard time finding something we liked in HD or Lowes. But I had the same problem with the Price-Fisher that I just took out, and the valve body is the exact same.

Good note on the cone-shaped restrictor. That is likely exactly what I need, to put some additional back-pressure on the shower line. Now, what are my chances of finding it anywhere?
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:26 AM   #5
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Tub fixtures: water coming out of shower head when faucet is on


Anyone have any luck with using something like this:
http://www.plumbingsupply.com/tubshowerparts.html to help solve this problem? Just found it online.
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Old 04-04-2013, 02:03 PM   #6
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Tub fixtures: water coming out of shower head when faucet is on


is it possible that the valve was installed upside down?
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Old 04-04-2013, 03:11 PM   #7
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Tub fixtures: water coming out of shower head when faucet is on


I've done dumber things before, so I suppose it's possible. But the supply lines were fixed into a down position, which matched instructions, so I doubt that's the case. Though, in truth, I'm not sure it would matter. As I understand it, the valve just provides two outputs and there's no significant difference in the two that would provide more or less backpressure.
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:04 PM   #8
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Tub fixtures: water coming out of shower head when faucet is on


You should not have used sherk bit fittings on the tub spout piping---you need to replace that with copper and your problem will vanish.

This is a common problem when folks use PEX for the tub spout---you need full flow---the fittings are restricting the water-----Need full onside dimension.
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:13 PM   #9
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Tub fixtures: water coming out of shower head when faucet is on


On a side note, next time you work w/ cpvc use Flowguard Gold, its a one step cement that doesn't require primer. I've had 100% success rate with it, and I'm just a DIY'er.
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:20 PM   #10
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Tub fixtures: water coming out of shower head when faucet is on


I'll look at that when I go back to troubleshoot, but the previous install didn't use sharkbite, only cemented cpvc fitting. Same result. Though I guess the question is whether cpvc was the wrong material in the first place. There is literally no copper in the house, so I've been working under the assumption that if I'm doing my work in pex and/or sharkbite fittings on new cpvc, I've come out even or better.

If I change out to copper, I only need to do so from the output of the valve to the spout, correct? Shouldn't need to do anything on the supply-side of the valve?
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:53 PM   #11
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Tub fixtures: water coming out of shower head when faucet is on


Just the valve to the tub spout----copper----
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:03 PM   #12
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Tub fixtures: water coming out of shower head when faucet is on


Thanks all for the help! I'll get back into trouble shooting this in the next couple of days, but now I have several things to try, especially going to copper to the spout. I'll blame that one on the notoriously cheap previous owner. I'll let you all know how it went when I'm through it all.
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Old 04-04-2013, 07:54 PM   #13
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Tub fixtures: water coming out of shower head when faucet is on


how far from center of diverter to spout ..it should be at least 4-6 inches or you will get back pressure to the shower...
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Old 04-04-2013, 10:25 PM   #14
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Tub fixtures: water coming out of shower head when faucet is on


Don't forget to check the spout itself to be sure the diverter flap is opening up all the way when not in shower mode.

Double check to be sure that there are no flow restrictors (water savers) in the path from faucet assembly to spout.

Sixty five PSI system pressure seems high to me. Maybe just this together with your turning on the faucet really high is enough to send so much volume to the spout that some goes up the shower.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 04-04-2013 at 10:27 PM.
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Old 04-04-2013, 10:58 PM   #15
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Tub fixtures: water coming out of shower head when faucet is on


Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Sixty five PSI system pressure seems high to me. Maybe just this together with your turning on the faucet really high is enough to send so much volume to the spout that some goes up the shower.
I don't know, our house has 70psi and we have no problem. In fact, the pressure reducer valve was broken for who knows how long, and for that undetermined amount of time it was getting about 160psi standing, 140 running. Obviously that's dangerous and unwanted, but that was before I knew about such things. I guess my point is even with that super high pressure, our shower never trickled while running the tub faucet.

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