I am installing a new shower valve and will be removing the current shower head and replacing it with a hand held shower head supplied from a drop ell fitting which would be lower than the current shower head by about 24”. I am told that this will result in water coming out of both the tub spout and the new hand held shower because there won’t be enough back pressure on the diverter for it to function properly.

Is this true and if so what is the minimum distance from the diverter to the shower supply for it to work properly.

Thank you

  • 2
    If this behavior is a real thing (I’m skeptical), it would be dependent on the specific make/model of the diverter. The manufacturer would be the one to contact regarding install requirements. Commented Jan 21, 2022 at 14:41

2 Answers 2


The worst that would happen is the diverter valve will open when the shower is turned off and the water in the pipe will drain out of the spout. When water is coming out of the shower head much more back pressure will be exerted on the driver valve then the column of water in the pipe to the shower head. You should check to see if you are an area where code covers this.

Look at it like a check valve. It depends on the design, years ago you had to pull a lever, that closed the valve and the back pressure kept it closed. When the shower was turned off the valve opened. With changes in design the newer ones have a handle that you manually turn to divert water to the shower head, mine is that way and it also will divert to the rain head or hand sprayer.

  • I thought the diverter was designed to drop when the shower was turned off. Commented Jan 21, 2022 at 23:12

The shower head will have a flow restrictor in it. This will raise the pressure in the diverter and should keep it from dropping down. Just install the new head and the diverter will almost certainly stay engaged.

  • I have an in-wall manual diverter. In the in-spout diverter type is it pressure or flow rate that prevents the diverter from dropping? Commented Jan 21, 2022 at 23:05

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