Our shower drips from the shower head when it shouldn't, i.e. when it's turned off.

The shower has two controls - one to turn the water on and off, the other to change the temperature. I'm assuming that the problem lies with the first control (the one that turns the water on/off). First question - is that a reasonable assumption?

I'm removed the handles and plate to expose the control, which has a long stem - see picture below.

What do I do now? Does this entire part need replacing? How do I unscrew it? Do I need to take more tiles/plywood away so I can get to the nut that's right against the vertical pipe?



Thanks to answers from @Ruskes and @JACK I have removed the value stem, which looks like this:

Shower value stem

If the drip is from the shower head (rather than the handle) does that not imply the problem is with the value flow cartridge rather than the O-ring/washer? In which case is my only option now to get a replacement? I can't identify the manufacturer - how can I tell which replacement part to buy?!

Update 2

I found the part online - it's a Ultra 3/4" Ceramic Disc Valve Flow Cartridge.

Also, when I took the existing value apart, cleaned it, put it back in and tightened it the drop seems to have stopped :-)

  • 1
    Great! Yes, cleaning out the ceramic cartridges can often fix the problem. The old style with the flat washers needed washer replacement. The "o" rings on these cartridges are sometimes hard to match and replacing the cartridge is, in the long term, the best fix.
    – JACK
    Commented Dec 11, 2022 at 11:50

2 Answers 2


It's as reasonable as we could guess without seeing the entire area. It seems weird that you have two handles doing what you say. Try twisting, pulling, turning the chrome sleeve on the front part of the upper valve. That piece should come off exposing a large nut that you'll need to turn counterclockwise to remove the valve stem and probably just replace a washer.

Older showers had two handles:one turned on the hot water and the other turned on the cold water. More modern showers have one handle that turns on both hot and cold by lifting, pulling out the handle and then adjusting the temperature by turning the handle right or left.


Your assumption is correct it is the shower on off valve that leaks.

You should be able to access the valve and replace the seal from the front.

To do that you have to remove the chrome part.

It is probably just pressed on and not screwed in.

First clean it with vinegar to remove any caulk deposits.

To avoid scratching the surface too much use at thin rubber band around it then use pliers to get it off. Once that is done you should be able to unscrew the valve and service the O-rings

  • 2
    I have to say it! Be sure to turn off the water supply first. Probably need to turn it off at the main shutoff.
    – HoneyDo
    Commented Dec 10, 2022 at 19:23
  • That was very useful, thanks. I've updated the question to show a picture of the valve stem (is that the right term?) I can see an O-ring but I'm wondering if that's the issue - wouldn't it be leaking from the handle if it were? Commented Dec 11, 2022 at 9:38
  • Looks like it's called a "value flow cartridge" (I'm learning fast!) and I think I found it by looking at pictures online. I think it's an "Ultra 3/4" Ceramic Disc Valve Flow Cartridge" Commented Dec 11, 2022 at 9:46
  • 1
    @MartinWilson great job so far. The o-ring you see is not responsible for water on/off. That one is just to prevent leaking to the outside world.
    – Traveler
    Commented Dec 11, 2022 at 19:01

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