Shower Diverter Valves: What To Know

With shower and bathtub combinations as popular as ever, shower diverter valves are essential in delivering versatility to your bathroom, and ensuring that such a system can operate efficiently and correctly. There are three specific different types of shower diverter valves on the market, and whilst each are typically very simple devices, it is useful to understand the nuances between them, and to know which type you require should your valves show signs of wear and tear or need replacing. In this article, we’ll aim to explain everything you need to know about shower diverter valves, and which type are best suited to your exact preferences and requirements.

dual shower valve

How do Diverter Valves work?

Diverter valves exist to switch the distribution of water in between the bathtub faucet and the showerhead, with the water pipe that connects to the tub faucet also extending vertically to meet the showerhead. Water flows directly through the faucet and into the bathtub when the diverter valve is open. If you were wishing to operate the shower only, you’d simply need to lift the lever within close proximity of the diverter valve. By doing so, pressure is created, which in turn forces the water flow upward and out of the showerhead.

Main Diverter Valve Advantages

In terms of maximizing space, the presence of diverter valves can have a knock-on effect on the rest of the bathroom, and really help to enhance the available room within the area. By installing a shower diverter valve, the showerhead can be positioned above the bathtub, negating the need for a separate shower enclosure or stall. As such, the installation of extra faucets, piping and tiling is not necessitated. This is a particularly significant benefit within a compact bathroom or en-suite, and may even mean you can fit a bath and shower combination system in a smaller downstairs bathroom, where you might have previously thought such a notion to be unreasonable.

Different Types of Diverter Valves

We’ve already outlined that there are three main types of diverter valves available, and here we’ll explain the different properties and performance elements that distinguish each.

Three-Valve Diverter

Three-valve diverter valves are suitable for use with a two-tap faucet, on which they are positioned between the taps to deliver water to both the bathtub and showerhead. The hot and cold water taps are each turned on so that the water is mixed to the appropriate temperature favored by the user. Typical triple outlet diverter designs can be turned 180º to allow the mixed water to flow out from the showerhead. Contrastingly, turning the diverter in a counter-clockwise direction will usually return the water flow back to the bathtub only.

Two-Valve Diverter

As is the case with the three-valve diverter, double outlet diverter valves carry water through the bathtub faucet before blending it to the preferred temperature. The diverter obviously features two valves, each of which incorporate an L shape, and pressure the water upwards to the shower arm and to eventually emanate from the shower head. Double outlet diverter valves can be positioned in the center of a faucet that uses a single dial to adjust temperature (usually to the left for hot water and to the right for cold), or it can be set in between the taps of a two-tap faucet.

Tee Diverter Valve

The tee diverter valve is a single outlet device, which is housed in the bathtub faucet spout. With these valves, the user will run the water to their desired temperature, before pulling up the diverter pull arm in the tub spout. From there, the water will emerge from the shower head. If you are ever encountering a tee diverter valve you are unfamiliar with, perhaps whilst staying away from home in a hotel, be sure to set your preferred temperature before entering the tub to avoid being scalded.

shower head valve and bathtub

Common Diverter Valve Problems

Of course, as simple as the above sounds, there is always the potential for niggly problems to surface, and make the operation of diverter valves more complicated than it needs to be. One of the most common issues is when water will flow from both the bathtub faucet and showerhead simultaneously, which basically indicates that something is impeding its proper functionality. Often, diverter valves will become worn out over a long period of time and clogged by sediment in many cases. In such instances, the valve is unable to close properly and fully, which causes some water to continue to flow out of the tub faucet even if the diverter is in use.

It’s extremely easy to counter such problems though – local plumbers will see a shower diverter cleaning or repair job as meat and drink, whilst there are a variety of diverter valves available to purchase online, and likely at your local hardware store, if you need to replace your component.

Choosing the Best Shower Diverter Valves for your Bathroom

With each sharing similar properties and delivering the same basic functionality, the type of shower valve you choose is likely to ultimately depend on your style of bathtub faucet. All three kinds of shower diverter valve are as effectual as each other in ensuring the water stays directed through the shower head until they are released. For simple maintenance and sustainability purposes, it is advisable to release the diverter and allow water to go back to flowing through the tub spout for just a few seconds before switching off the supply entirely. This will help to curtail stress and wear on the shower diverter valves, meaning they will work properly for longer without the need for repair or replacement.

Hudson Reed USA offer a fantastic selection of shower diverter valves, with single, double and triple-outlet diverters and sequential valves available in both modern and traditional styles. Each incorporate beautiful luxury designs, and provide smooth and precise control over water temperature and flow, so no matter which type you require, you can find the perfect diverter valve to enhance both the appearance and practicality of your bathroom.