Moen is a respected company that manufactures bathroom and sink fixtures, and Moen is known for its cartridge-designed shower faucets. Rather than having hot-water and cold-water taps, Moen showerheads work with lever-style handles and cartridge valves. If your Moen showerhead starts leaking, or if it seems to be working poorly, it may have to be taken apart and repaired or cleaned.
How the Cartridge Works
Moen showerhead cartridges have rocker switches, which have the ability to open and close your cold and hot water lines. These switches are capable of changing the water to different temperatures, which makes for a more comfortable shower.
To make this repair, you will need to lift up the lever to turn on the water; this nudges the cartridge forward and unblocks the two water lines. To shut off the water, the lever has to be brought down. The temperature can be adjusted by moving the lever from right to left, as this changes the amount of hot or cold water that comes through. Moen's traditional-model faucet also has a "Posi-Temp" valve, which balances the pressure to keep the water temperature stable.
Troubleshooting Moen Showerheads
When a Moen showerhead is not working properly, it is usually due to it needing cleaning, stuck or damaged cartridges or failing O-rings (which are located around it). Before taking the showerhead apart, you first need to shut off the valve that controls the bathroom's water. This is probably located in the bathroom sink's cabinet. If you cannot locate the valve, you should contact a plumber for assistance.
Cover the shower's drain to protect any small parts from dropping down the drain. To get to the cartridge, you need to remove the handle, temperature limit stop and cover plate. The escutcheon also needs to be taken off by removing its three screws with a screwdriver. Using tongue-and-groove pliers, grip the pipe part of the showerhead. Turn counterclockwise until the showerhead can be removed from the fixture.
Removing and Cleaning the Showerhead
The showerhead has a metal or plastic cap, which you can usually unscrew with your hands. Another method to loosen the cap is to use a screwdriver to undo its latches. You can now try cleaning the inside of the showerhead with vinegar, which may fix the problems you are having with your showerhead.
If cleaning does not suffice, you will need to access the cartridge. To help ease out the cartridge, grip it with pliers. Move the cartridge carefully from side to side; this should loosen the O-ring from the metal stop tube.
The cartridge is held in place with a retaining pin, and you can pull this out with needle-nose pliers. From here, you can see if the O-rings are damaged. If they are, you will need to purchase replacements.
Fixing Stuck Cartridges
These cartridges can get stuck, and you may not be able to pull yours out without some additional work. The Moen cartridge puller (removal tool) can help get it out, but sometimes they are not effective, or the cartridge may break. In cases like this, the best solution may be to contact a licensed plumber to fix your Moen showerhead.
Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. She holds a Master of Science in Publishing from Pace University. She owns her own content marketing agency, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing (www.wordsmythcontent.com), and she enjoys writing home and DIY articles and blogs for clients in a variety of related industries. She also runs her own lifestyle blog, Sweet Frivolity (www.sweetfrivolity.com).