How Does a Push Button Shower Diverter Work?


A functional bathroom can provide a temporary gateway from the stresses of life after a long day at school or work. But when simple fixtures such as a shower diverter don’t work correctly, your bathroom could heighten your stress instead of alleviating it. So, it’s critical to ensure your diverter switch works right to ensure a luxurious and therapeutic shower or bath every time. But, how does a push button shower diverter work? Read on to learn more!

What is a Shower Diverter?

A shower diverter is a valve that allows you to shift between taking a shower and filling your bathtub. It’s designed to divert water up into the showerhead instead of pouring out of the tub spout. Typically, you’ll adjust the faucet to your preferred water temperature before you activate the diverter to send water to the showerhead or bathtub. 

Unfortunately, many people are not familiar with push button shower diverters and how they function. While the traditional shower diverters use levers to change between the shower and the bathtub, push button shower diverters use two distinct buttons to execute the same actions. If you encounter a diverter system you’re not accustomed to, be sure to run the water while standing outside the shower to prevent the risk of getting scalded.

And if you don’t have a combination bath/shower in place, you can simply install a push button shower diverter to add a showerhead. This move will save space and money compared to putting up a separate shower enclosure. You can also replace a faulty or leaky shower diverter with a brand new one.

How a Push Button Shower Diverter Works

You can get a push button diverter that sits near the shower handle, a ceramic cartridge diverter installed next to the shower handle, or a spout diverter with a button on the bath spout. Each diverter functions similarly. When you push the button, water will be directed to the appropriate orifice it needs to go through.

It’s quite common to see push button shower diverters in luxurious hotels. However, they can be frustrating and fiddly to use when you’re not familiar with them. Many people have experienced the surprise of cold showers when they wanted to fill the bath with warm water instead. The diverter may also jam, causing no water diversion whatsoever. 

Fortunately, you can opt for a ceramic cartridge shower diverter to ensure a smoother transition by simply turning the handle. This option is a much more user-friendly and stylish option for bath and shower combos.

Other Types of Shower Diverters

There are multiple types of shower diverters, and each model does its job well. So, your ultimate choice will boil down to the style, finish, and overall aesthetics you prefer. Think about the impressive shower diverter you saw at your friend’s home or in a hotel to inspire your choice.

Overall, there are three types of shower diverters to choose from, and here’s how they work:

Three-valve Shower Diverter

A bathtub with separate hot and cold handles typically has a three-valve diverter installed between them. Simply turn the third handle 180 degrees clockwise to send cold and hot water to the showerhead. When using the tub, turn the diverter handle 180 degrees counter-clockwise to restore water flow to the tub spout.

Two-valve Shower Diverter

A two-valve shower diverter is often located in the middle of a single-handle faucet or in between two handles of a two-tap faucet. Similar to a three-valve shower diverter, this diverter works by turning the valve clockwise to channel water to the showerhead and vice versa to the bathtub.

Tee Diverter

A tee diverter is a single-valve diverter located at the end of the tub spout. You’ll need to pull up on the diverter arm to direct water to the showerhead. By pushing the arm down, you’ll restore flow to the tub spout.

Common Shower Diverter Problems

Regardless of the shower diverter you choose, here are some common issues that often develop with these bathroom fixtures:

  • Leaks: Water leaks below your bathtub may cause considerable water damage to your floor and walls.
  • Difficulty shifting between the showerhead and tub faucet: You may need to periodically clean or replace the diverter if it becomes hard to activate.
  • Low water pressure in the showerhead: The diverter may sometimes fail to transfer all the water to the showerhead, resulting in low water flow from the showerhead and the tub spout simultaneously.

To minimize strain and wear on your shower diverter valve and help mitigate these problems, always release the shower diverter and allow water to come out from the tub spout for about 5 seconds before you shut off the water.

Wrapping Up

When you’re craving a therapeutic shower instead of a bath, you need to invest in a functional shower diverter. Fortunately, installing a push button shower diverter is a breeze with simple DIY tools. But if you’re not confident in your DIY skills, consider hiring a local plumber to fix your faulty valve or install a new diverter to convert your tub into a shower/bath combination. 

Smith Edwards

Smith Edwards is a licensed plumber and writer with over a decade of hands-on construction and home improvement experience and has been providing home improvement advice for over 12 years.

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