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Thread: Separate hot and cold water valves

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member bpap's Avatar
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    Default Separate hot and cold water valves

    I have a bath/shower with separate hot and cold water valves and a third one that is a diverter to switch between the shower and the tub faucet. Recently I had a steady dripping from the faucet so I changed the stem washer. I also tried to change the valve seat, but apparently I ended up stripping the seat as the square hole became rounded and I was no longer able to remove it.

    I called a professional to look at it and he was also unable to remove the seat. He indicate the only option was to replace all three handles with a single handle and either tile over the holes or use a conversion kit with a plate that covers the holes. He wanted to use a Symmons conversion kit. My understanding is that apparently it is against code to have separate hot and cold valves these days in order to protect from scalding.

    My questions are:
    1. Is there no option to have 3 separate handles/valves in any form? I really prefer this older look and would like to preserve it if at all possible.

    2. Is there any way to remove the broken/stripped seat? The plumber indicated he could try an E-Z out, but the ones he had were too short. If I could find one that was about 5 inches long (to reach all the way into where the seat was) that I could try that, but there was no guarantee it would work.

    My apologies if I have used ay incorrect terminology.

    Thanks for any suggestions or help you can offer.

  2. #2
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    The problem with those seats is that some tools tend to bottom out at the back of the valve, before fully engaging. If your valve is a typical like PP, and you used an un-modified 3-step wrench or tapered wrench, that is how you damaged the hole.
    At this point, a #6 Easy-out may work. I think some of the other guys may have other hints. Not that installing a new pressure balanced valve is a bad idea...but you can save a lot of money for now if you can get the seats out.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member bpap's Avatar
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    Thanks for the suggestion. Is there a #6 Easy-out that is longer than a typical one, which I think is usually just 3 inches or so long? I suppose I can look around to see what is available. I would need one that was about 5 inches long just to reach in far enough to access the seat and have a little extra to grab onto. As you also indicate, the plumber did mention that there was the risk of bottoming out at the back of the valve (and possibly doing even more damage).

    And yes, the other aspect is that I think it would be a few hundred dollars to install the pressure-balanced valve vs a few dollars for a new seat.

    If there are any other hints or tips from others out there, please let me know. Thanks.

  4. #4
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Many screw extraction devices can use an extension from a socket wrench set, or if a weird size, an extension with a socket on it (you'd need a 12-point socket to engage the square head). Sometimes, you have to grind the end off the thing so it can fully engage before the end pokes a hole out the back of the valve. There are some valves with multiple handles - volume, temp, divertor, but most are single handle as it's less expensive to meet the anti-scald requirements and pretty trim and handles cost more to produce the more you have.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member bpap's Avatar
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    OK, thanks, I think a socket wrench with extension would work. I'm not sure I would be able to grind off the end as I assume an extractor is made of some sort of hardened steel. I'm guessing some sort of special grinder would be needed?

    I really would like to keep what I already have in place and working. It seems like a shame to completely replace something that has worked for so long because of one small part.

  6. #6
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    If you have a "tempering" valve, that makes the three handle legal.
    You can dial them from 75 to 120 degrees

    It mixes hot and cold, blending the output.

    It's becoming very hard to find anyone making a three handle valve anymore. Sometimes it's better to bite the bullet and pick up something that looks old or traditional, and has the temperature protection built in.

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member bpap's Avatar
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    Thanks for the response. I've always been a bit unclear on exactly why separate controls are not allowed. I am pretty sure I do have a mixing/tempering valve just off the boiler connected to the hot water line, and the water never gets extremely hot even when I have only hot on. I have included a photo. In that case would it be possible to replace the entire valve if the seat cannot be removed??? The plumber that looked at it had indicated this was not an option because it would be against code. But perhaps if I show him there is already a mixing valve in place it would be ok? Let me know if I am incorrect about the image below being a mixing/tempering valve.

    Name:  mixing.jpg
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