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Old 03-11-2013, 10:25 PM   #1
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Default 3 handle shower valve very low pressure opened up wall now what?

The shower/bath pressure has dwindled to a very weak flow over the course of 2 years since I had some work done. The guy I hired turned out to be a hack of all trades.
I checked the shower head and crud screen first and they were clear, I don't know why I thought that would matter the flow from the faucet is just a slow.
I took out the cartridges and they don't have any blockage or buildup. With the cartridges out I turned the water back on from outside and there was great pressure (shot all the way across to wall), so I assume the pressure's good up till it hits the valve somewhere.
I cut out the sheetrock from behind the wall hoping to replace the valves with something different, at this point I would be happy with outdoor style faucets if that would give it some pressure.
The outer valve body (not even sure what I'm talking about here), is just a threaded connection, no spot to grab onto with a wrench at all, and they're in there dang tight. At this point I've decided to stop before I break something.



















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Old 03-11-2013, 11:14 PM   #2
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My guess is the galvanized pipe is plugged. You may be looking at a re-pipe.

John



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Old 03-11-2013, 11:30 PM   #3
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What type of valve is it? That is all threads and no place to clamp a wrench onto like that?

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Old 03-12-2013, 01:08 AM   #4
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I don't know, John, that looks to be pretty good volume in the bottom picture. From the picture of the cartridge, it LOOKS to be clean. Have you disassembled those to make absolutely sure that there is no trash in them?

As far as disassembling the valve any further, I don't think that you will be able to.

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Old 03-12-2013, 01:28 AM   #5
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Quote:
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I don't know, John, that looks to be pretty good volume in the bottom picture. From the picture of the cartridge, it LOOKS to be clean. Have you disassembled those to make absolutely sure that there is no trash in them?

As far as disassembling the valve any further, I don't think that you will be able to.
I missed that phish. What it may be is the nipple on the spout that's plugged. That would also effect the shower seeing it's a two valve.

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Old 03-12-2013, 01:39 AM   #6
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I took apart the cartridges and soaked them in lime-away for a bit. Not sure if that was a good idea.
It didn't occur to me that the valve might have come like that and is not intended to be taken apart.
I've banged around on the pipes with a hammer hoping to knock something loose.
Is there anyway to push some bailing wire or something up into those pipes to clear them out?

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Old 03-12-2013, 03:31 AM   #7
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Reinstall the cartridges - remove the shower head and cap the shower arm with a 1/2'' iron pipe cap - leave tub spout off - turn hot & cold water on (fully opened) to try an blow any debris that may be lodge at tee portion of valve.

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Old 03-13-2013, 02:34 PM   #8
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Thanks guys for all your help! I now have great pressure in that shower!
Here's one thing I learned yesterday: Maybe you think it would be a good idea to tie a metal nut to the end of a string and lower that down through the shower spout, and then pull it out from the other end using a magnet. NO. There is a plastic thing hidden in the middle of the tee of the shower body. Also, the nut will fall off then end of the string and stay stuck in there.
If you are planning to cut a little square out of the sheetrock from the other side of the wall so you can get to the plumbing, and are not exactly sure where the plumbing is located, measure 14 times and cut once. And this is no time to be trying to cut a minimal hole in the wall, measure an extra big square or you will end up cutting a little square, cursing, and then cutting a much bigger square around that little square.

I ended up having to take it all apart. Still didn't find any blockage and took it to Home Depot. The plumber there told me it was unlikely that debris was stuck inside the shower valve body but was going to check anyway. He was struggling to unscrew the plastic thing out of the middle of the tee and I decided it would be best to just replace the whole thing. He said Moen was a good brand so I went with that. I asked him if it would be possible to put some inline shutoff valves in place of the couplers and he said yes. Got home with the Moen and realized the threads for the shower and bath spout pipes were on the outside whereas on my old American Standard they had been on the inside. I tried using the couplers to make it work but that made the spouts too low/high for the holes in the wall.
So back to Home Depot and bought an identical American Standard. Took all day for all this but now it's better than ever. I have a little, scratch that, big access panel and can shut off the valves anytime I need to. The guy who originally installed it had used some scrap wood jammed in the wall cavity to hold the pipes in place and left off the escutcheons for the handles. Which is pretty sad considering sheetrock hadn't been put up on any walls outside the bathroom yet when he did it. Escutcheons are awesome, they cover up a lot of messy work.

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Old 03-13-2013, 04:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Here's one thing I learned yesterday: Maybe you think it would be a good idea to tie a metal nut to the end of a string and lower that down through the shower spout, and then pull it out from the other end using a magnet. NO. There is a plastic thing hidden in the middle of the tee of the shower body. Also, the nut will fall off then end of the string and stay stuck in there.
I don't know why, but I find myself almost in tears, because I'm laughing so hard. Glad everything worked out for you. Post some pics of the finished job!
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
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If you are planning to cut a little square out of the sheetrock from the other side of the wall so you can get to the plumbing, and are not exactly sure where the plumbing is located, measure 14 times and cut once. And this is no time to be trying to cut a minimal hole in the wall, measure an extra big square or you will end up cutting a little square, cursing, and then cutting a much bigger square around that little square.
I can SOO relate to that. After much experience, I am a firm believer in "Cut big, cut once."


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