View Full Version : Shower remodel leads to trickle flow need troubleshooting help

12-16-2009, 02:39 PM
Overview: I remodeled a tub/shower and it tested find but after a few showers and turning the house water supply on/off the flow gradually reduced to a trickle. I've read similar posts on flow and realize it has something to do with debris but don't know where to start/how to 'clear out' the system.

The house has galvanized plumbing and was built in 1962. Thanks to archives here I gained enough knowledge/confidence to begin replacing each remodeled area with new fixtures/pex plumbing. Thanks! This tub/shower was replaced with Delta 13/14 series commonly available at Lowes. Hot/Cold supply (risers?) and showerhead pipes replaced with pex. Hope that was right. Valve to tub spout new galvanized. Everything tested fine with great flow but over time, as other areas of the house were worked on and the water shut off/on, the flow diminished. I pulled out the cartridge and dislodged debris from the hot side, checked the showerhead aerator and, thinking that the cartridge had prematurely clogged or something re-ordered a new one. Didn't work, the flow remains a trickle.

Here's what I've tried so far: Pull out the cartridge, turn on water and get hot/cold water shooting out just fine from the valve body (? not sure of exact names I'll call it a valve and the removable part the cartridge). Remove tub spout/diverter and poke around with coat hanger from the elbow in the wall to the valve body with no obstructions.

I've read lots of archives on blockages/flow but get lost in steps to take or exactly how to do it. I've read 'blow out the line' and I do have an air compressor, but exactly how do I do that? I've read about water shut off valves for just the tub/shower and how that would make it possible to shoot water thru and 'blow out' the line. I have access from the floor below and could install shut offs but how, exactly, do you 'shoot' water thru a line to dislodge something? Where and what am I looking for? I've found 3 posts on the internet regarding this Delta model but none of them had resolved solutions. I'm hoping someone can guide me thru some troubleshooting steps. This board has been a lot of help and while I may have enough knowledge to be dangerous, I've also managed to do some things I never thought I could. Thanks in advance, Ed.

12-16-2009, 03:47 PM
First, I wouldn't use galvanized anything in a remodel, so I would prefer a brass nipple to connect the spout. But, it's not like there's water in that tub spout all day. Eventually, it will rust, though; brass or copper won't.

Take the showerhead off and see how much flow comes out of the arm. If the flow is good, you know the showerhead is clogged up. If it isn't, it's in the piping or valve.

12-16-2009, 04:32 PM
Thanks for the reply. Yes, not sure why I replaced that section with galvanized, will use brass like you mentioned next bathroom. I held the diverter in place and the flow is still restricted. The flow out the shower nipple, head removed, is the same as out the tub spout. So, how do i go about clearing out the valve? Thanks!

12-16-2009, 06:03 PM
Where the water goes down to the spout, and up to the shower, there is a "restrictor" with an annular ring around it. IF that gets plugged up, you have to try to blow the debris out, by capping the shower, removing the hot and cold stems, attaching the compressor to the spout nipple and blowing backwards. It does not always work, and then you have to get creative and also repipe the shower riser.

12-16-2009, 10:15 PM
Thanks for the descriptive directions, helps a lot. When I use the compressor on the tub nipple, hope I'm using the right names, and the showerhead is capped, Is the cartridge assembly removed?

As an aside, the tiler tiled so close to the cartridge that I don't have access to the hot/cold connections from the point of view of standing inside the tub. Does that mean I need to cut the tile/backerboard back far enough to gain access? Thanks for all the help. At least I've narrowed it down to one spot.

12-17-2009, 11:15 AM
Yes, remove the cartridge so any debris will be blown into the tub, not back into the piping.

12-17-2009, 06:36 PM
I appreciate telling me the obvious, just wanted to make sure I understood correctly. Many obvious things get missed when I remodel. For anyone with a similar problem reading this - here's another obvious missed thing. Wear eye protection. The rust bounced off my hand and into my face.

Thanks to you and others on the forum I've now installed a sink, toilet, shower, and snaked what used to be a 'call the plumber' problem. Many thanks.