Homeowners in the United States may not be familiar with the Bélanger brand because it's a Canadian company. Since 1995, it has been a partner of New Hampshire-based Keeney, which was established in 1923 as a manufacturer of radiator air valves but now also makes faucets, and the two companies work as a team to supply plumbing products throughout North America. Bélanger manufactures shower valves that are both stylish and utilitarian.
Inside the valve housing, a Bélanger faucet is much like a faucet from a more familiar manufacturer, such as Moen, Kohler or Delta. It contains a cartridge that does the job of regulating water flow and temperature, and when the seals wear out or the ports get clogged with scale, you have to repair or change the Bélanger shower faucet cartridge. The procedure is similar to that for most other faucet brands.
Start by Removing the Handle
Sometimes, the easiest tasks can be perplexing, and that's often true with a shower faucet handle, especially the lever-style handle you find on most Bélanger shower faucets. If you look at the handle from the front, there doesn't seem to be a setscrew, and it's obvious you can't remove the handle by unscrewing it. The trick is to look underneath the handle, where you'll see a setscrew. It's an Allen screw, so you can remove it with an 1/8-inch Allen key (hex wrench), or more properly, a 3- or 3.5-millimeter one since it's manufactured in Canada. The handle should slip off.
How to Replace the Cartridge
Once you've removed the handle, you'll have to release the cartridge, and before you do this, make sure the water to the bathroom is off, or you'll get an unexpected shower. You may see a metal sleeve directly behind the handle, which you can unscrew by hand if you put on a rubber glove first, or you can use adjustable joint pliers if necessary. Wrap the rubber glove around the sleeve before gripping it with pliers if you don't want to damage the finish.
Next in line after the sleeve is often a temperature-limiting ring and a handle adapter, which should just slip off the valve stem. Now all you have to do is unscrew the retaining nut holding the cartridge using the pliers, and you should be able to pull the cartridge straight out. This is where the shower happens if you forgot to turn off the water.
To install the new cartridge, make sure it's an identical one (you may have to order a cartridge from the company). Apply plumber's grease to the cartridge O-rings, align the mark on the cartridge with the one on the valve housing to make sure the cartridge is straight and push in the cartridge. Reassemble the faucet by reversing the steps for disassembling it.
If the Cartridge Is Stuck
An old cartridge often gets locked in place by mineral deposits, and it can resist all your efforts to extract it even if you use pliers. It might help to heat the cartridge with a hair dryer to soften the rubber O-rings, and it may also help to soak the cartridge in vinegar to dissolve the minerals. To use vinegar, spray it full strength from a plant sprayer.
When all else fails, use a cartridge puller, which is a tool that locks onto the cartridge so you can twist it out. You may have to do some research to find one that fits since there are no universal cartridges or cartridge pullers, but a Moen cartridge puller often works. If you can't find the right tool, well, that's what plumbers are for.
Chris Deziel is a contractor, builder and general fix-it pro who has been active in the construction trades for 40 years. He has degrees in science and humanities and years of teaching experience. An avid craftsman and musician, Deziel began writing on home improvement topics in 2010. He worked as an expert consultant with eHow Now and Pro Referral -- a Home Depot site. A DIYer by nature, Deziel regularly shares tips and tricks for a better home and garden at Hunker.com.