Nothing is more mood dampening than getting into the shower and discovering that no matter how many times you turn the shower knob, no water comes out.
There are several reasons your shower knob turns but no water comes out.
But trust me:
This is no issue to call your plumber over, so put the phone down.
You can fix or repair the shower knob yourself. With a little bit of patience, the right tools, and a sound plan, you can get your water running in no time.
Before I show you how to fix a shower knob that keeps turning, I’m going to explain some possible causes why your shower knob might turn without water coming out.
Then, I’m going to show you how to use the same method to fix a leaking faucet.
Let me show you how to fix a broken shower handle stem!
Reasons Shower Knob Won’t Turn Water On
Some common causes are to blame when the shower handle keeps turning but no water comes out.
Stripped Valve Stem
If your shower knob is old, your valve system may get stripped due to wear and tear.
When a stripped shower valve stem starts to break down, you may find difficulty adjusting water temperature.
Gradually, you’ll find that you’re unable to control water volume as well. Eventually, your shower knob could stop functioning altogether, and you’ll find no water coming out of the faucet.
A loose handle might also cause your shower knob to malfunction.
This problem takes time to develop, so if your shower knob spins too easily but water is still coming out, you should get it checked.
People who know how to tighten shower handles will tell you that a handle slipping can gradually grind away the valve stem, resulting in a shower knob that doesn’t turn the water on.
How to Fix a Stripped Shower Knob
While a stripped shower knob can disrupt your plans, the steps below will have your shower back up and running in no time.
Step 1: Prepare Your Materials and the Bathroom
Step 1.1: Get the Necessary Material
Here’s what you’ll need:
- An old rag
- A screwdriver
- A flathead screwdriver
- Valve sockets and pliers
- A seat wrench
- Rust remover
- Pipe-thread sealant
If you don’t know your shower handle’s valve stems, it’s best you postpone buying a new one in advance.
Believe me when I say that you don’t want to fix your shower thinking you have the right valve only to discover that you need to return to the home improvement store.
Step 1.2: Turn Off the Water Supply
Before you begin dismantling your shower handles and stems, make sure to shut off the water supply to your bathroom.
This step is crucial to preventing any water leaks from the shower knob and avoiding any mishaps.
Your bathroom’s water valves are usually located inside the bathroom itself. Look for levers or circular knobs underneath the sink in the cabinet area.
If you have a suspended bathroom ceiling, the water valves might be above the sink in the ceiling.
Once you’ve located your water valves, turn the handles clockwise, shutting off the water to the faucets and toilets.
Step 1.3: Cover the Drain
The last thing you want is for any screws or small parts to fall into the drainpipe. This situation can make fixing the handle stem more difficult and time-consuming.
Take an old rag and cover your bathtub or shower drain. Next, use sellotape to secure the rag’s edges to the floor and prevent any parts from slipping underneath and into the drain.
Step 2: Fix the Shower Faucet
Step 2.1: Dismantle the Handle and Trim Plate
Most shower handles are attached to the wall using screws. To remove them, undo all the screws attached to the wall and place them in a container to make sure nothing gets lost in the process.
Then, lift the handle off the stem. There’s no need to panic if the handle won’t slide off the stem. You can wiggle it carefully until it feels like it can slide off smoothly.
To remove the trim plate, take the flathead screwdriver and push it out of the wall.
Take a look at the handle and trim plate:
If you notice any mineral buildup, you may have discovered the source of your problem.
Soak the shower handle and trim plate in vinegar just as you would with any other calcified part.
This video shows you how:
Step 2.2: Remove Old Valve Stem
A valve clip often holds the valve stems, so take the pliers and remove the clip.
If the valve is held by a retainer nut, you can unscrew it with the valve and socket pliers.
Once you’ve removed the clip, gently loosen and wiggle out the stem with the seat wrench, which will help ease the process significantly. Check it out here.
If the stem is calcified, you might have some difficulty wiggling it out. You can spray it with a rust remover and leave it for a few minutes.
The spray can break down any rust as well as mineral deposits.
Buy it here!
Now that you have the shower valve stem, you can go to any home improvement store near you and get an exact replacement.
You don’t want to have a different valve stem because it might not fit it. Even if it does, the stem might not work.
Step 2.3: Install the Valve Replacement
Start by brushing the threaded end of the valve stem with a small amount of pipe-thread sealant. It’ll keep the stem in place, but you can easily break it off if you need to.
Buy it here!
Push the stem back into the valve with the seat wrench and fasten it in place.
Using the pliers, place the valve clip or retainer nut on the stem and fasten it the same way the old stem was tightened.
Step 2.4: Screw Shower Handle Back On
Now you can take out the shower handle and trim plate out of the vinegar and wipe them off with an old rag.
Once they’ve dried off, screw back the trim plate, then the handle.
Don’t forget to tighten the shower handle!
Lastly, turn the shower handle to see water coming out of the faucet. You’ve successfully fixed a broken shower knob!
Step 3: Prevent Shower Knob and Valve Stem Failure
A properly installed shower handle and valve should last for a long time, but there are a few warning signs to look for.
Shower knobs that you rotate clockwise and counterclockwise to turn the water on don’t require much strength to use.
If your shower knob, however, feels too loose while you turn it, you might have a wear-and-tear issue with the handle or the valve stem.
Having difficulty turning on the shower handle is an obvious sign that there’s a problem with the cartridge.
The knob should feel like it’s stuck, heavy, or stiff as you turn it. Any of these issues could indicate that the cartridge has deteriorated or calcified.
Leaking or Dripping
It’s not normal for a shower head or faucet to drip water long after you’ve used it. So, any leakage is a good indication of a deteriorating or loose valve.
If you address any of these issues as soon as you notice them, you can extend the lifespan of your shower faucet system.
Can You Fix a Leaking Showerhead the Same Way?
Another plumbing issue that might cause you some distress is a shower knob that causes a leaking faucet or showerhead.
A dripping faucet not only increases the likelihood of mold and mildew growth behind the walls. It can also waste a lot of water.
Here are some facts:
- Every year, household leaks waste nearly 1 trillion gallons of water in the United States.
- The average household with leaking faucets and pipes can waste nearly 10,000 gallons of water per year.
That said, this should no longer be an issue for you because most leaking problems are caused by a broken handle or valve stem.
So, you can fix a faucet leak the same way you fix a stripped shower knob.
How do I remove a stuck faucet valve stem?
If you try to pull a valve stem and it won’t budge, you should spray WD-40 on the stuck faucet and leave it for a few minutes.
The lubricant will dissolve any calcifications and grease the valve.
Just make sure that you spray enough of the WD-40 so that it penetrates the entire faucet system.
How much does a shower valve replacement cost?
A shower valve replacement may cost around $100, but some shower valves are more expensive.
If you hire a plumber, he may charge you at least $100 in labor alone to replace a shower valve.
Professional companies like Porch can charge you around $230 to $280 for a shower valve replacement.
While it may appear that there’s a major plumbing problem when your shower knob turns but no water comes out, this is not the case.
With a few tools and a little money, you can fix a malfunctioning shower knob.
Most importantly, remember to carefully follow the instructions so that you can repair your shower knob correctly and quickly.