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I had always been told to push shower knob down, directing the water back to the faucet, before pushing the water off. If you just push the water knob off, letting the shower knob fall on its own, is that hard on your shower equipment?

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I never heard of that. I always turn off the shower and let the spigot diverter fall when it's ready, if it ever does. I don't see how it would cause any extra wear.

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    If anything is going to cause wear, it would be pushing the diverter while there is pressure, as it means there is force of water pushing one surface against another. If the "let it fall" method is used, the force is reduced. If there is wear, it's microscopic, though!
    – fred_dot_u
    Dec 8, 2018 at 2:31
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As mentioned by @fred_do_u, wear is probably created a lot more when there is pressure, so when you pull it up or down while water is flowing. It'd still take a long time before it goes bad and need replacement.

I think the main reason for doing so is if you have knob that's rather sticky. I've experience those... where you start the water and you get all wet with cold water. If your knob comes down automatically, then that's definitely not an issue.

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