No water at all from shower with Moen valve that hasn't been used for years

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Dshenmdyn

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Hi,

I have a strange problem and can't find a resolution. Would appreciate the help from experts here.

I have a shower (just overhead shower without tub outlet) that hasn't been used for years on the second floor of the house. Everything was ok last time (years ago) when it was used. I tried to use it again the other day and found that there is absolute no water coming out. There is no sound when turning on the handle. Nothing. The other faucets and toilets in the same bathroom all work normally.

I ordered a replacement cartridge (Moen 1222) and replaced the old one with it. Still no water.

When I had the old cartridge removed and before putting in the new one, I actually tried to turn on the main water shutoff value to the house and water did come out from the valve body (without the cartridge installed). It seems with good pressure and volume. However, after I put the new cartridge in and tried again, there is no water. Nothing at all.

By the way, I removed the shower head and just left just the open pipe and nothing come out of the pipe. So I don't think the shower head is the issue.

I am totally puzzled and don't have clue what might be the problem.

Your help is greatly appreciated.
 

Jeff H Young

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any way of knowing if hot and cold came through the valve body with cartridge removed it is a pressure ballancing valve if either the cold or hot line is plugged basically no water flows at all with cartridge installed . maybe valve has integral stops and one is closed
 

WorthFlorida

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Remove the handle and turn the cartridge stem with a pair of pliers. You are sure the handle is turning the stem?
 

Dshenmdyn

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Reporting back the latest:

I shut off the water to the house, took out the cartridge, removed the shower head.
Using a hand pump (a pump to inflate air mattress), I tried to blow air into the shower arm pipe.
I can clearly feel resistance. Air did not blow through freely, if at all.

Looking into the valve body with flash light, I can see 3 openings: two on either side and one on the bottom.
(Since the valve body has 4 sides that are connected to pipes like a cross shape, I was expecting to feel/see 4 internal opening. To my surprise, I could only see 3. )
I assume the two on either sides are for cold and hot incoming water.
I assume the bottom opening is the common outlet for water to go to both the tub and the overhead.

Using a pick, I can not feel any obvious blockage at the immediate opening.
Using a spool of weed trimer string (those plastic string with some rigidity) I tried to probe from the overhead shower pipe opening. It went in pretty far (~2-3 feet) as I expect the string goes over the overhead shower arch and then descent toward the valve.
I can also extend the string from the bottom opening inside the valve body for about 10 inch.
In either case, since I don't know the exact routing, I could not navigate the string all the way to reach the other end.

What could be the blockage that prevent air from blowing from the overhead shower toward the valve?
How could that be resolved?
Obviously, I would like to avoid having to knock out the the shower enclosure to get access to the valve body behind the wall to replace the whole thing.

Updated to say that I have confirmed the valve body does NOT have the two screw shut off for hot/cold water. As mentioned earlier, I confirmed water could reach the cartridge because water poured out with the cartridge removed and water supply to the house turned on.
 
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WorthFlorida

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Found this video, in the comments someone ask about the identical problem you're having. No reply of course. its a quick video and it explains how the Posi-Temp works.
 

WorthFlorida

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Here is my best educated guest. Here is a picture from Terry Love on a problem he had. It shows inside the valve body that you cannot see since it is the shower pipe fitting. That little hole is feed from the bottom tub shout fitting. It is not a straight tee between the tub and shower.


You' ll need a compressor or a shop vac to blow air or suck air at the shower arm. You mentioned that there seems to be a restriction but using a heavy nylon string trimmer line was a good idea but no idea what you are hitting.

I'm assuming that there are three pipes, one to the shower head, others are the supply. The tub outlet is probably plugged. In a normal tub/shower set up, when the tub lever is raised water gets diverted to the shower head via that little hole Terry show's in his post. This area may be plugged up with who knows what.

If you have a compressor, using an air nozzle gun and your hand over the shower arm pipe, shoot it with compressed air. Air should be escaping from the valve body.
With a shop vac most have flexible hoses where you can fold it around the pipe. With the suction side see if you can pull air. I used to do this cleaning the condensate drain for my central air where slime and gunk would plug up the 3/4" drain pipe.

If you ever get to needing to open the wall, hopefully there is access from the other side so you do not need to break tile. My current home both of the bathrooms had MOEN Posi-Temp's. On the remodels they were replaced with Delta R10000 series valve bodies. They work fantastic, You can control water flow and temperature separately and when you shut off the water fully clockwise, the temperature level stays on the same position of the handle. You do not have to adjust temperature each time the shower is turned on.
 
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Jeff H Young

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maybe a rag around the pipe i dont hold back compressed air with my skin be careful !



















you could blow it out with water hose from neighbors house if your freindly connect hose to where your shower head is with a hose bib on shower arm to control . house water off cartridge removed.
 

Dshenmdyn

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I threaded a thin plastic tube (about 5/32 inch I.D.) from the shower arm pipe back down. It went in about 30 inches. I was able to suck out about 10-20 ml of water using a syringe connected to the tube. I then pushed in 20 ml of white vinegar and let it sit for 3 hours. During the wait, I occasionally use the syringe to suck/push the vinegar through the tube which I left in to agitate it and hoped it will help it to dissolve any mineral deposit that may have caused the block. The vinegar turned blue/green color probably from reacting with the copper pipe. Worrying that it may cause other unintended damage, I sucked out all the vinegar and pushed in clear water to rinse.

Still no water.

The only thing left is to buy/rent an air compressor to try blowing back from the shower arm pipe opening. Not holding my hope high, though.
 

Jeff H Young

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You did that with the cartridge removed? I hope . You need pressure pushing back ward from the shower arm. air , water anything. bike pump maybe kinda doubt it. I'm not even sure the clog is in those ports
 

Dshenmdyn

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You did that with the cartridge removed? I hope . You need pressure pushing back ward from the shower arm. air , water anything. bike pump maybe kinda doubt it. Im not even sure the clog is in those ports
So far I only tried with a hand pump and felt the resistance.
Yes, I did it with the cartridge removed.

I have to find an air compressor to try again.
The shower is on 2nd floor and quite a distance from next door neighbor's garden hose spigot. So routing a long garden hose around the house and then onto the 2nd floor will be a challenge. (I won't have water to my own garden hose spigot since the spigot is after the shut off valve to my own house and I need to keep water OFF to my own house to remove the cartridge.)
 

Jeff H Young

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So far I only tried with a hand pump and felt the resistance.
Yes, I did it with the cartridge removed.

I have to find an air compressor to try again.
The shower is on 2nd floor and quite a distance from next door neighbor's garden hose spigot. So routing a long garden hose around the house and then onto the 2nd floor will be a challenge. (I won't have water to my own garden hose spigot since the spigot is after the shut off valve to my own house and I need to keep water OFF to my own house to remove the cartridge.)
I think that's why I said use neighbors hose put a valve on the nipple at shower like a hose bib perhaps then you wont have to run back and forth to neighbor turning on and off , or go with compressed air No Idea if you would ever want an air compressor Ih had them almost my entire life but everyone is different 70 bucks to 150 for a cheapie . I'm sure there are even cheaper ones be careful whatever way you choose
 

Dshenmdyn

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Finally got an air compressor and tried to blow back without success.

Asked a plumber to diagnose and he agreed that it was blocked and the valve needs to be replaced.

Will report back after the job is done.
 

Jeff H Young

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ok well a solid air connection screwed directly to the nipple and zero air coming out is hard to do much with.
You actually could cut shower riser and cap it at the valve body then extend the pipe down and remove plug on bottom of valve and tie the shower riser on to the tub port. since its being used as a shower only.
 

Dshenmdyn

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Plumber replaced the valve and everything is working now.
Unfortunately I could not identify the exact root cause.
Upon removal, the old valve indeed was confirmed to be blocked - water/blowing air doesn't travel between the bottom and top (where normally water should be re-directed from bottom tub pipe through the molded-in internal channel up to the shower pipe).
With just the old valve holding in my hand, it was much easier to probe with a weed trimer string.
The string can enter from the port located on either the tub side or the shower side and thread into the molded-in internal channel then stop. I suspect that's where it was blocked.
But after a few tries, it mystically went pass that spot and reached all the way to the opposite site. I didn't see any debris, rock or anything falling out though. So I am left without knowing exactly what blocked it in the first place.
 

Weekend Handyman

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Found this video, in the comments someone ask about the identical problem you're having. No reply of course. its a quick video and it explains how the Posi-Temp works.

'Plumbing with Tim' ... I follow him on Youtube ... he does some interesting projects ... good entertainment value.
 

Jeff H Young

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You did about all you could, I'd go about it the long way like you did on my house but on a customer the paid labor would kill them .
I thought compressed air would do it especially if you had a leakfree connection on the shower arm and turned on compressor and ran it till it hit 120 or so pouring vinegar and all that but heck you gave it your best
 
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