Why Is Water Coming Only Out Of The Showerhead? (Explained)

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Water may only come out of the showerhead when there is a problem with the diverter valve. The valve may degrade due to tear and wear. Also, rusting is likely to make the valve not work as it should.

What Is A Shower Diverter?

A shower diverter is a lever that transfers water from the faucet to the showerhead. It consists of several parts that work together to allow the transfer to take place.

The shower diverters ensure that water flows freely between the faucet and showerheads. Generally, there are three types of diverters.

But they all use the same principle to make it possible for water to flow into the showerheads. Such valves are common in older homes. They include:

Three valve shower diverter– you will get these types of diverters valves in tubs that feature both cold and hot faucet handles. Also, they are valves positioned in between the handle and faucet.

So, when you turn the diverter valve clockwise to about 180 degrees, it releases cold and hot water to your showerheads. However, when you rotate it counterclockwise, it channels the water to the tub.

The single-valve shower diverter is also a tee diverter, and you will find it towards the end of your tub spout. But you’ll need to activate this valve by pulling the diverter to enable it to send water to the showerhead.

It pushes the diverter to the downward position, and so it allows water to flow to the tab once again.

This type of diverter will allow your bathroom to have both a bathtub and a shower in the same space.

The two-valve shower diverter– is used in tubs with a single faucet. Also, it can be placed in the middle of the two handles meaning that you can turn it in either direction to direct water in the tub or showerhead.

A diverter valve could come either as a handle or a button. So, you will either pull or push it. When you activate the valve, it engages the rubber stopper causing water to flow in different directions.

But because of enhanced pressure, water is pushed into the showerhead. When you remove the stopper, it forces water to flow the other way and fill the bathtub.

Why Is Water Coming Only Out Of The Showerhead?

Water is likely to drip showerhead when there is a problem with the diverter. Back pressure builds up in the pipe when the diverter refuses to open and gets to the showerhead. Also, when the pipe corrodes, it is likely to have the same effect.

If the water flows into the showerhead after you pull the valve, it shows that there is a problem with the shower diverter valve. Typically, the valve is supposed to divert and redirect water coming to the showerhead and tub faucet.

When you pull the knob on the faucet, the diverter turns to block water from the tub. But with time, the diverter wears down, resulting in a situation where water comes out of the showerhead only. Also, it may result in a situation where water flows into both the faucet and the showerhead.

You can reduce the wearing out of the diverter by allowing water to flow back to the bathtub spout before turning it off.

You may also clean the diverter regularly to remove build-up that may affect your diverter from working correctly.

Luckily, the procedure of cleaning the faucet is easy. Start by taking the cap off and remove the handle first. You will see the diverter valve. You will then need to locate the nut and unscrew it. Check the diverter for signs of wearing out and if it is necessary to replace it.

Dip a wire into vinegar and scrub, and remove the debris build-up. Once the valve dries, you can put it back and turn on the faucet. You should be able to see if it stops the water from dripping from the showerhead.

But if you inspect and find too much gunk or damage, you may need to buy a new valve.

The diverter allows back pressure to build in your pipe before it eventually gets into the showerhead. But if the diverter is not working, the problem may be as a result of not opening. The problem may also result from corrosion inside the pipes which causes the same effect.

Why Is My Shower Diverter Not Working?

When the shower diverter is not working, you will see water coming out of both the showerhead and the tub faucet. Also, it may not work because of clogging or worn-out parts in any of the diverter valves, which you may need to replace.

Thus, before you understand how diverters work, it may be necessary to study how water pipes linking to the shower wall work as well.

The main pipe connects to the faucet and may extend to your showerhead. Therefore, as soon as the shower valve opens, it allows water to move freely into the tub through the faucet.

By lifting the handle, the diverter valves close to help build pressure that directs water upward out of the showerhead.

You can troubleshoot the shower diverter to establish why it may not be working. If it is clogged, you will need to rotate it clockwise. But if everything is ok, you may just need to check out the worn-out parts.

However, this is a complicated case, given that you will install the pipes in the walls. So, you may need to replace the shower diverter.

There are plenty of signs that will tell you when you need to replace your shower diverter. The reason is that they are all hidden behind the faucet and the walls. So, you only need to observe the signs to determine whether you need to replace the diverter.

First, you can diagnose the problem by watching how water will flow out of the faucet or showerhead. Some of the things you will need to keep an eye on are:

Dripping faucet– when you notice constant dripping in the faucet, it tells you that things are not ok. But when the dripping persists, it shows to you that there is a serious problem with the diverter valve or the faucet.

Several things can lead to constant dripping, which is not just annoying but which may cause higher utility bills.

Leaking handles– it signals that something is wrong with the diverter. This valve is found behind the handles. So, when the seal between the valve and the handle degrades, you are likely to have a leaking handle.

Showerhead problems– you can diagnose issues with the showerhead almost immediately. For instance, you will notice water coming out of the faucet even when the diverter is engaged. It tells you that you need to carry out repairs immediately.

Rust and grime– rust, grime on the shower diverter valve may make the water start dripping. When you notice such drippings in the valve or faucet, you may need to get an expert to see if it is caused by rust.


The moment you see a leaking handle, dripping faucet, or you experience problems with the showerhead, it signals a problem with the diverter valve. So, you need to replace it or call an expert to help fix the problem.

Sometimes, the problem could result from grime or rust that makes it difficult for the valve to work.

Therefore, the reason that makes your showerhead not work should be solved as soon as possible. But when you realize that it is not easier to repair diverter, ensure to buy a new one before things get out of hand.