Getting to Know Your Shower


Your shower has seen you in all your glory, but how much do you know about your shower?  Turning on the shower in the morning is something we do automatically, without much thought.  We assume it will work properly, but what if it doesn’t? Understanding the parts that make up your shower makes it easier to properly care for it and know when to call a plumber.

The main interior parts of a shower consist of a shower diverter valve, a shower valve, and a cartridge.  The main exterior parts of a shower consist of a shower head, a handle, a shower pan, and a drain.  Understanding the parts of your shower, what they do, and what happens when they need replacement, can help you take good care of your shower.

At Sun Plumbing, we understand how important it is to have reliable plumbing.  This article will discuss the parts of your shower and what happens when they don’t work properly.  We will tell you if these are easy fixes or if it’s time to call us!

Interior Parts of A Shower

  • Shower diverter valve (or pipe) – This allows you to switch between the bathtub and the shower. In a shower only, without a tub, it is used to switch between a shower head and a hand-held shower nozzle.  If this breaks, you will be unable to switch.  If this means only using the shower head and not an additional nozzle, it may not be a big deal to you.  However, if it means you can use only your shower or only your tub, you may want to get this fixed quickly.  While this can be a DIY project, it takes some know-how, a replacement part, and tools.  If you aren’t particularly handy, we suggest calling a plumber.
  • Shower valve – The shower valve regulates water flow and water temperature, so it is an essential part of your shower. If your shower valve breaks, you will immediately know something is wrong with your shower due to the low water flow or irregularity of the water temperature.  You may also notice water dripping even after you turn off the shower.  Lastly, your shower handle may become difficult to turn.  We recommend calling a plumber if your shower valve needs to be replaced.
  • Cartridge – The cartridge is inside the shower valve and is the piece connecting the shower valve to the shower handle. If you notice your showerhead dripping long after you have turned off the shower, a broken cartridge may be the culprit.  Without plumbing experience, it is best to call a plumber to replace the cartridge.

Exterior Parts of a Shower

Now that we have explained the main interior parts of a shower, what happens when they break, and what to do if they break, let’s take a look at the exterior parts of a shower, the parts you can see.

  • Shower head – We are pretty sure you know that this is where the water comes out!  If your shower head isn’t performing as well as it used to, it may have some mineral buildup.  While these don’t need to be replaced often, they can be replaced by choice.  Everyone likes their shower heads to spray a certain way – a fast, direct spray; a rainfall effect; large, soft drops.  Choose a showerhead that works for you, perhaps one with multiple settings to please multiple family members.  Changing a shower head is a fairly easy task that most homeowners can do themselves, but don’t be shy about calling a plumber if you need help.
  • Shower or Tub handle – Again, we are pretty sure you know that this is how to turn your shower or tub off and on! If your handle is acting up, it may be time to replace it.  However, sometimes it is an issue with the interior parts, such as the cartridge.  If you aren’t sure, have a plumber check it out for you.  Changing out a handle isn’t a big project, but if interior parts are the cause, then you may want a plumber to do the repair.
  • Shower pan – The shower pan is the “floor” of your shower unless you have a tiled shower. If your shower floor is hard plastic, you likely have a shower pan.  These can crack or flex with time causing leaks.  When a shower plan leaks, you may notice bubbling in the paint on a nearby wall or mushy drywall.  Water takes the path of least resistance and will find its way somewhere.  Call a plumber as soon as you notice issues with your shower pan as they can lead to bigger issues caused by water damage.
  • Drain – Showers usually have a hole with a screwed-on grate over them to drain water as you shower. Tubs come with a variety of drains/stoppers, so you can fill the bathtub when desired.  Your shower drain cover shouldn’t need replacing unless it gets mineral buildup.  The drain pipe itself could get clogged which can require a plumber to clear the clog.  If your tub stopper isn’t doing its job, the parts may be worn out.  We recommend calling a plumber as it can take special tools to pull the drain plug out in order to replace it.


Understanding the interior and exterior parts of your shower can help you better care for it and know when to call a plumber to address plumbing issues.  Sun Plumbing is located in Melbourne FL, and has been serving all of Brevard County for 50 years!  With a crew of experienced plumbers, we understand your shower from the inside out and can handle any repairs that are needed.  With service “as dependable as the sun,” let us be your go-to plumbing company!

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