How to Adjust a Price Pfister Shower Valve Stem

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Mixing valves make showering safer.
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Price Pfister makes a number of commercially available showerheads that are known for their quality and number of water delivery functions, giving variety to any standard shower. You might need to adjust a Price Pfister shower valve stem if you have one. Most showerhead designs from this brand come with an anti-scald feature built into the shower valve. Luckily, there are ways to adjust this anti-scald valve so that the shower gets warm enough without the danger of scalding the user.

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Price Pfister Shower Valves

The anti-scald feature is meant to protect the homeowner from accidentally adjusting the water to a completely scalding shower straight from the water heater. This protective feature works wonders for those with a lot of water pressure and big water heaters. However, in other situations, it can work against the homeowner by limiting the amount of hot water that can enter the mix. If a water heater isn't performing sufficiently or if there's low incoming pressure, this can lead to a shower that just isn't hot enough for the user.

These types of shower valves combine the hot and cold water together inside the valve rather than having two different faucet valves for hot and cold. There's a trim inside the valve that adjusts the ratio of hot to cold as the user adjusts the shower handle. The anti-scald feature prevents the valve from being able to send 100 percent hot water through the system and also acts to shut off the hot water flow if, for example, the water pressure behind the cold water were to suddenly drop. This protective feature is part of the design of the faucet valve and means the faucet is working correctly.

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However, over time, changes in the relative water pressures of hot and cold or changes in the water heater's efficiency can mean this valve needs to be adjusted slightly. If the valve is overacting, it may not be sending enough hot water through to the shower. A small adjustment to the valve trim should be enough to lead to comfortably warm showers.

Important Safety Considerations

Whenever you are working with water lines, it's best to ensure water is shut off to that area. Some homes have a shutoff valve in the piping for bathrooms and showers; in other cases, you may need to temporarily turn off the water for the entire house. It is especially important that you make sure that the hot water is turned off. This will protect you from being accidentally scalded.

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Adjusting the Valve Trim

There aren't many tools required for this particular adjustment. You'll need an Allen wrench or screwdriver that fits the setscrew in order to remove it. From there, the valve handle should pull directly out of the wall.

Some models have a trim sleeve that will also need to be removed to access the mixing valve itself; this can be loosened by turning counterclockwise until removed. Depending on the model, this may not be required.

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Examine the stem. Simpler models may have a metal stem that can be turned counterclockwise with a wrench to increase the balance of hot water allowed into the mix. Start with small rotations to ensure the water doesn't reach scalding temperature and then reassemble the valve and handle. Turn the water back on to the shower and test to see whether the desired temperature can be reached.

Alternatives for Newer Models

Newer Price Pfister models have adjustable trims already built in. These models may have a plastic disc marked A, B and C, which should refer to presets that will be detailed in the valve manual. Simply remove the disc and then reinstall it at the desired level. Reassemble the valve and handle and test the shower flow.

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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, 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.