Replacing a 25 year old Delta shower faucet isn’t difficult if you know what to look for. You’ll need to find and inspect the valve, possibly replace the cartridge, and disassemble and reassemble the entire mechanism.
To replace your shower faucet, you must first locate the model number. This number tells you what cartridge you’ll need. The number will be on the underside of the faucet. Once identified, you can follow instructions to disassemble the shower faucet and replace the cartridge.
How To Identify Your Shower Faucet
You can identify your shower faucet with the model number, the Delta catalog, or the instruction manual.
Locate the Faucet’s Model Number
To identify your faucet, you’ll need to locate the model number. This step applies to any Delta faucet, whether they’re ten years old or 30 years old. You can typically find the number in three places:
- The underside of the faucet
- On the original packaging
- In the instruction manual
If you can’t find the model number and don’t have the original packaging or manual, you’ll need to start Googling it. You can type “Delta Faucet Catalog 1999” and then compare images to find your specific model.
You want to use the year 1999 because this encompasses all faucet models Delta released before 1999. If your faucet is old enough, it may be under the name “Brizo.”
Find the Instruction Manual
Most homeowners don’t have the instruction manual for a faucet installed 25 years ago but don’t worry. You can Google the model number and the instruction manual if you have the model number. Try to locate a free PDF.
Contact Customer Support
If Google fails you, you may have to use the old method of calling someone on the phone. Horrible, right? Not really – the customer support team at Delta is extremely friendly and can help you determine which model you have.
The customer representative will ask you for details about your faucet. How it looks, what type of knob it has, and other things like that.
Replacing Your Shower Faucet
Delta valves are universal, so you don’t have to worry about matching specific part years to other part years. A 2005 Delta valve will still fit in a 2000 and 2016 faucet. Even so, I’d recommend you purchase a new Delta shower kit. If one part is starting to go, the rest may soon follow.
The kits come with a new escutcheon plate (the metallic plate with hot and cold printed), a cartridge, washers, bolts, springs, and a new shower handle. You’ll need to supply the Allen keys and elbow grease.
Removing the Old Shower Faucet
Removing the shower faucet won’t be a hard task, but it can take a lot of time if you don’t have someone to run around and turn the water on and off. This section will discuss the housing unit, the shower cartridge, and how to change your water temperature.
Turn Off the Water
To remove the Delta faucet safely, you need to turn off the water. Most showers don’t have a single shut-off valve, so you’ll have to turn off the water for the entire house. This repair process can take anywhere from two to four hours, so make sure no one needs water while you’re working.
If your house is a ranch or single story, go outside and turn on the hose or outside water spout. This action relieves the pressure in the water lines and drains the remaining liquid. If you have more than one level, you can turn on any faucet on the ground floor to relieve the pressure. You’ll be using gravity as your friend.
Remove the Handle
There are two common ways to remove a shower handle. If your handle has a cover plate, you’ll need to pry it off with a small screwdriver. Others have a set screw located on the handle that you can loosen with an Allen wrench.
All other parts of the handle will either pull directly off or screw off. You need to continue removing parts until you reach the Delta valve in the wall. If parts aren’t coming off, spray some WD-40 onto the affected areas and let it sit for about five minutes.
If you’re not using a shower kit, make sure you keep all the small nuts and bolts in one place. I place them in a Ziploc bag or Tupperware container while I work.
Inspect the Valve
Now you’ll be looking at the valve and cartridge. To remove the valve from the wall, you can wiggle it up and down and then side to side. It should pull out after a little bit of effort. If it doesn’t, repeat the WD-40 step.
Once out, check the valve and cartridge for calcium buildups. That calcification may be why your faucet wasn’t working. You can clean it up and replace the original valve if nothing else is wrong with it. That can save you a lot of time, money, and possibly a drywall replacement.
Replacing the Cartridge
When replacing the cartridge, there are two ways the cartridge will fit back into the housing unit on the wall. One way is correct, and the other is not. You need to look on the sides of the cartridge for a small H and a little C.
The letters stand for “hot” and “cold,” and you should replace the cartridge with the H on the left-hand side. This configuration is a standard procedure and ensures the handle fits appropriately.
Before you replace the cartridge, you have the option to modify how hot your shower can get. Most cartridges come pre-set to a “medium-hot” so that the elderly or young children can’t burn themselves. If you’re like me and love a hot, hot shower, you can go ahead and change the setting.
When looking at the cartridge face, there will be a white plastic ring with “hot and cold” on it. You have to pull the white part out while turning it to the left as far as it can go. That will change your available water temperature to “maximum hot.”
This change isn’t to say that your water will always be extremely hot. Instead, you now have the option of a scalding shower if you’re in the mood for one.
Installing the New Shower Faucet
Now that you’ve inspected the housing valve, changed the cartridge, and set your preferred water temperature, you can begin putting everything back in place. Ensure the H is on the left of the cartridge when fitting it back into place. It’ll stick a little, so you’ll need to wiggle it back and forth like when you pulled it out.
Next, replace the nut that holds the cartridge against the valve. The threads are very fine so take care to go slowly, so you don’t skip any lines. Once the nut is in place, you can turn the water back on and use the new handle to test if there are any leaks in the assembly.
If everything looks good and the water turns on and off with the handle, you can replace everything in the opposite order you took it off. Replace the handle and tighten the set screw. You’re done! Your valve was cleaned and inspected, and you replaced your cartridge.
To replace your Delta faucet, you’ll need an Allen key, some free time, and possibly a new Delta shower kit. Make sure you turn off the water to the shower before you begin working, and keep any loose screws or parts in a Tupperware container while you work. Having a friend help makes the process a lot easier and allows you to test the new faucet quickly.