Plumbing in the Home/Leaking shower diverter


Hi Dana,

My bathtub has the typical three handle water knobs.  When I turn it to shower some water runs out of the spout- not a drip but a steady stream.  A few percent of the shower flow.

I have replaced numerous washers and a valve seat to no effect.

I can't find diverter.  Is it in the spout? I am hesitant about removing this years old spout since there is potential for damaging the joint that the it screws into.  Could I instead insert a flexible something like a drain opener coil  into the spout and knock the diverter loose?

Am I worried about about a problem that is unlikely to occur or should I go ahead and replace it?  I am pretty good at this stuff (except for tile work) but I expect even a professional could potentially damage the joint while starting to unscrew it.

If it was your tub what would you do?


Hello Richard,
On a three-handle set up, the center handle is the diverter. It has a stem, seats and washers just like the hot and cold. Obviously, the center stem is going to be a bit different but still a conventional compression type stem nonetheless. I would recommend replacing the stem and the seats for the diverter to resolve your problem.
Good Luck,

Plumbing in the Home

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Dana Bostick


Pretty much any residential plumbing questions. For "item specific" details such as a specific model of fixture, I will need to research and there may not be any useful information available. Note: I live and work in Southern California. We do not, as a rule, use hot water or steam heating systems, oil fired boilers or private water wells so my knowledge in those areas is pretty limited. There are others here on AllExerts that can probably answer those questions better.


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