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Old 12-26-2014, 02:08 PM   #1
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Problematic shower


Hello everyone,

I'm new here and I'm at my wits end with my shower. Hopefully I don't take up too much of anyone's time. I'll try to give a short but detailed backstory to what's going on.

My wife and I bought our house almost 5 years ago, in early 2010. It was built in 1979. One of the only problems that stood out was a dripping shower faucet. It was the original shower fixture, with no brand markings on it and no one could find me a replacement cartridge. So after some time, I decided to replace the fixture/valve with a Moen Adler. All of the original piping and connections were 1/2" copper and soldered. There were also no valves on the cold or hot side. I didn't have much plumbing experience so my father-in-law suggested I get compression fittings and convert it to 1/2" cpvc and install some cpvc valves. So, that's what I did.

Once the installation was complete, no leaks or drips, I turned the water on to find the shower head spraying out a light stream. I checked the diverter and it just seemed that our pressure was so high, it continuously put water out of the shower head. I tried using 3/4" from the tub wall to the faucet (about 6 inches) to see if it'd help increase the flow to the faucet instead of the shower head. It didn't. Since this wasn't a huge issue, I just cut back the cpvc valves I had installed to lower the pressure overall until no more water came out of the shower head.

Things were fine until some time later I walked in to find a large puddle of water. The cold water compression fitting sprung a leak. So I cut that section out, replaced the compression fitting and assumed I got a dud. Things were fine for almost another two years until this morning I woke up to find a similar large puddle. The cold water compression fitting sprung a leak. It's not from cold weather, we live in a warmer part of the US. The first time was in March, this time December.

Anyway, I'm running out of pipe to work with, without cutting out sections of the wall. And I don't want to replace this compression fitting again to be in the same situation in a year or 2 or 3. The valves that I had turned back to lower the pressure come right after the compression fitting. Is it causing too much pressure to build up there that eventually leads to a leak?

Is there any solution to be able to use our full pressure without it spraying out of the shower head? Are new shower valves designed to conserve water which is pushing water up to the shower head due to higher pressure? Could I solder the brass compression fittings to the copper for extra strength, a sure seal and to prevent future leaks?

I know that's a lot of questions but I'm just looking for the best solution to save future time and expense. I'm also looking for an answer quick because we only have one shower in our house!

If you managed to bear with me through all that, thank you so much for your time. If you have any advice or tips, it'd be much appreciated!

Thanks again
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Old 12-26-2014, 02:35 PM   #2
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If it were me, I would of stuck with the 1/2inch copper pipe, but I have soldering skills and you mentioned you do not. Soldering skills can be learned easily. Practice.

I don't like using cpvc or pex in showers/tubs just my preference. Not saying that's the problem, plenty of houses use pex/cpvc.

Can you post some pictures of your current set-up/connections so the plumbers can better assist you. Thanks.

In regards to water saver washers, they can easily be removed, many people do it to obtain more pressure.

Sorry I couldn't be of more help to you. Please wait for the plumbers to respond, they will know for sure.

Last edited by jmon; 12-26-2014 at 02:38 PM.
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Old 12-26-2014, 03:07 PM   #3
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So new valves have "water saver washers"? I wasn't aware of that. Could that cause the shower head issue?

Yes, I definitely was hesitant to solder. I'm familiar with electrical soldering but didn't feel comfortable soldering pipes with a torch. I'm regretting it though. And I'm still considering switching back.

My installation is ugly. I'm not afraid to admit that. I had issues with the stainless steel fittings sealing on the hot and cold side of the valve so I kept cutting and adding couplings.

I'm attaching a few pics....
Attached Thumbnails
Problematic shower-photo-1.jpg   Problematic shower-photo-2.jpg   Problematic shower-photo-3.jpg  
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Old 12-26-2014, 03:11 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forum oneonsix.

To post pictures; Click post reply, type a sentence, scroll down to manage attachments, up load/post pics from there, click submit reply. You can also click on preview post to view as others will see it, if you want. Just a suggestion.
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Old 12-26-2014, 03:12 PM   #5
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Thanks, nice pics.

Plumbers will be along shortly with more advice/suggestions for you. They see this kind of stuff everyday.

Question; Just want to verify, going up to the shower head, is that also cpvc? Thanks.
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Old 12-26-2014, 03:20 PM   #6
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Ok you mention the shower head is leaking. Did you remove it and screw it back in? if so, 1) you could of cross threaded it and this would cause leaking. 2) I’m also assuming that you didn't add any Teflon tape or pipe dope on any threaded connections.
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Old 12-26-2014, 03:44 PM   #7
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Yes, I used cpvc up to the shower head.

Sorry, let me clarify, the shower head isn't leaking. When I turn the water on completely, there seems to be so much pressure it's flowing out of the faucet and causing a gentle stream out of the shower head at the same time too. So in a sense, the shower head is always on. All threaded connections have teflon tape. There are no connections leaking other than the aforementioned compression fitting.
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Old 12-26-2014, 03:51 PM   #8
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OK did you pull out the cartridge to see if the washer was damaged?
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Old 12-26-2014, 04:21 PM   #9
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First off thats a tub shower.

You need the house water pressure off an outside sillcock. If it is greater the 80 LBS you need to install a pressure reducing valve where the water enters your house from the street.

Lets see what you have before we go on. Get this http://www.google.com/shopping/produ...FQmNaQodLoUAUw


Your complaint once I deciphered it was the shower drips when you run the tub spout and when you lowered the water pressure with your valves it went away. Above is your most likely cause.

Last edited by Ghostmaker; 12-26-2014 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 12-26-2014, 05:00 PM   #10
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The #1 cause of a dribbling shower head on a tub---is the tub spout piping---

If the piping restricts the flow--the water is forced up into the shower head---

If you do as Ghostmaker suggests and your water pressure is in the normal range--change the spout piping to threaded brass or copper---I do not know if the inside dimension of CPVC is restrictive---we don't use that around here.
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Old 12-26-2014, 05:04 PM   #11
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The cartridge looked fine to me and it was brand new along with the new Moen fixture.

So, Ghostmaker, why would my house now need a pressure reducing valve after 30+ years of not needing one? And it never had the issue with water coming out of the shower head at all times with the original fixture. Are you suspecting the compression fittings continue to fail because of high pressure? Or is the high pressure causing the shower head issue?

Could someone explain the "water saver washers" in new valves?
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Old 12-26-2014, 05:09 PM   #12
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Oh'Mike, would you recommend 3/4" starting from the Moen valve all the way to the spout?

I appreciate everyone's help.....still curious as to why the compression fittings continue to fail after 1+ year(s) of working fine.
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Old 12-26-2014, 05:42 PM   #13
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I/2" pipe is fine---I always use copper---but a threaded brass nipple and elbow is acceptable--

We hear of dribbling shower heads here quite often--usually when people use PEX for the tub spout---very common problem.
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Old 12-26-2014, 06:14 PM   #14
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1st step is read your pressure as ghost suggested. Pressure can change due to municipal upgrades on pumps and systems.

You can eliminate the comp unions by switching to push fit couplers- comonly called sharkbites.
Cpvc and copper are the same OD so the push fits will fit both pipes. Locate them in the horizontal copper.
I suspect as mike does- the cpvc is too constrictive. Moens are touchy that way.
If you don't want to change the spout pipe, try one of those on/off attachments at the shower head
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Old 12-26-2014, 07:13 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oneonesix View Post
The cartridge looked fine to me and it was brand new along with the new Moen fixture.

So, Ghostmaker, why would my house now need a pressure reducing valve after 30+ years of not needing one? And it never had the issue with water coming out of the shower head at all times with the original fixture. Are you suspecting the compression fittings continue to fail because of high pressure? Or is the high pressure causing the shower head issue?

Could someone explain the "water saver washers" in new valves?
Never heard of water savers. In a moan valve its simply not used. The valve is drilled to allow a certain flow mandated by federal law. 2.5 gallons per second from the shower.

To answer your question when you cut the flow of water with your valves down your problem went away. That is a sign of extremely high water pressure. High water pressure will cause a shower to sprinkle when the tub is used. The only thing preventing water out of your head is gravity if your pressure into the valve is high say 100 lbs it will cause the effect your trying to eliminate.

The only other cause is a restriction of some type down to your tub spout. I have seen it happen with pex because the fittings insert into the pex tubing causing a restriction. CPVC does not have this effect unless something like teflon tape has gotten into your compressing joint and into the pipe.

I also would use sharbyte fittings versus compression for copper to cpvc transitional joints.
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