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Mystery Leak from Shower

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Krystle

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Hi there,

I have a mystery leak in the wall behind my shower, which I'm hoping someone here can help me shed light on!

This is the shower kit I have: https://secure.img1-fg.wfcdn.com/docresources/818/20/204741.pdf

We have a small trap access in the next room. which allows us to see in to the left side of the wall behind the shower (left if you're standing in the shower, facing the faucet.)

The leak happens (naturally) only when the following two conditions are met:
1) The shower is on
2) Someone is taking a shower.

With the help of a plumber, we figured out that the person being in the shower being a condition was because water is bouncing off the person and onto the faucet and then, somehow, getting in and leaking down behind the wall.

Experiments we've tried:
We covered the entire faucet area with plastic and there was no leak.
We siliconed everything we could and removed the plastic but there was still a leak.
We covered everything except the handle and there was a leak.
We turned on the bathtub only (not shower) and splashed water on the faucet handle and there was no leak
We turned on the shower and splashed water on the faucet handle and there was a leak

So, from all of this, it seems that
- Water is getting in through the space between the handle and the rest of the faucet (basically where the handle turns). We cannot silicone this because the handle would no longer turn.
- Something about the shower being on allows the water to get through from the shower side to the back of the wall and drip.

So my questions at this point are:
- The contractor who did the bathroom used pex and there is some give with the handle (in and out). Could this be a contributing factor to water getting in?
- The pex does not have copper elbows. Should it?
- What is it that allows the water to get through when the shower is on? Do we need to replace the cartridge? Or something else?

We've been trying to figure this out for three weeks and I'm at my wit's end. Please help!

Thanks to all of you in advance!

Krystle
 

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Geofd

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what brand is it there must be a diverter that directs the water to the shower head and the spout is that leaking when yo switch from tub to shower....take the face plate off and look in there
 

Krystle

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what brand is it there must be a diverter that directs the water to the shower head and the spout is that leaking when yo switch from tub to shower....take the face plate off and look in there
It's delta. Specs here: https://secure.img1-fg.wfcdn.com/docresources/818/20/204741.pdf

Nothing leaks unless there is either someone in the shower taking a shower or we are spraying water on the handle at the same time that the shower is on.

I've removed the faceplate to feel inside and try to determine where the water is leaking out of but everything I can reach feels dry.

I can't get the leak to happen with the faceplate off because, to get the leak, I have to spray water at that area and, with the faceplate off, it will just go right through the hole.

Thanks!

Krystle
 

Geofd

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I think there is something missing between the handle and the valve body that acts like a water seal
 

Krystle

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I took it apart and checked the instructions and all the parts it came with are there and in the right place.

The strangest part that I just can't figure out is why it only leaks when the shower is on and not when only the bathtub is running. . . if it were just something missing that should block the water, you would think it would leak either way, no?
 

Geofd

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I took it apart and checked the instructions and all the parts it came with are there and in the right place.

The strangest part that I just can't figure out is why it only leaks when the shower is on and not when only the bathtub is running. . . if it were just something missing that should block the water, you would think it would leak either way, no?
 

Geofd

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i would have the plumber remove the shower head and the shower arm and install at least a new shower arm....it could be loose,rotted,pin hole your last resort would be to open the wall behind the shower were the shower valve body is that way your not guessing sheet rock is pretty easily fixed
 

RenewDave

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Take out the HAF and cap that off, Remove the tub spout and cap that off. Turn on the water to warm and sit and watch. Take the trim off while you do this and you can look in the wall while the pressure is on. Sounds like either the shower el has a crack in it or if you divert the water from the tub spout, it is kicking water back.
 
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