How to Troubleshoot a Stuck Shower Faucet

Nobody wants to step into the shower ready for their morning wake up and find the shower faucet handle stuck, but it does happen. Often, the problem is mineral deposits from the water that can build up so much over time that the handle won't turn. If you can't get the handle to turn, don't force it because too much pressure could cause internal damage and that will be even more difficult to fix. Step out of the shower, put some clothes on and get ready to fix it yourself.

Hand turning water faucet in shower, close-up
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How to Troubleshoot a Stuck Shower Faucet

Typically, any stuck shower faucet will simply need to be replaced. Follow these steps and you'll be showering again in no time.

Gather Important Information

  • You're going to need to replace the faucet with a new one, so make note of the brand and model or bring the actual faucet along to the hardware store.
  • See if you still have the installation instructions. If you do, these will come in handy. If you don't, you may be able to Google them online, depending on how old the shower faucet model is.
  • Take any necessary measurements.
  • Make sure there's no other damage around the shower faucet.

Remove the Handle

There should be a screw, or more than one, holding the handle in place. Get out your screwdriver and remove the screw(s), then remove the handle. If it's really stuck, you may need the help of a hammer. Once you've gotten the handle off, check the gaskets behind the handle and make sure none of them are broken. If they are, you'll need to replace those as well.

Visit the Hardware Store

Once you've successfully removed the handle, bring it with you to the hardware store and ask for help finding the right match. If you were able to locate the original manual, bring that along as well.

Prep Your Shower for Replacement

First, it's important that you turn off the water. You can use the main shutoff valve for water to the entire house; alternately, you can find the shutoff valve for the bathroom water only, possibly at the rear of the tub. Check behind the access panel.

Next, allow any remaining water to drain out of the pipes. Clean away any mineral deposits that may have caused your problem in the first place. Then, close and cover the drain so you don't lose any screws when putting on the new handle.

Install the New Shower Handle

If you need to replace the gaskets, do that first. Next, fit the new handle in its place and screw it into the shower wall. Make sure the handle is flush with the wall and screwed in securely. Turn the water back on, remove the drain cover and try out your new handle!