Do you need to fix the American standard shower handle? Bathroom fittings from American Standard are what they claim- standard and reliable. They are pretty to look at, merge well with your bathroom and are reasonably priced.
But after a certain time has passed, any high-quality bathroom fitting will need replacement. Shower handles are especially vulnerable because there are valves inside them that can malfunction after a while.
Maybe the handle is corroded, maybe it leaks- whatever it is, there will come a time when you need to fix it.
But before we get to that, let me quickly map out the anatomy of a shower handle for you-
Parts of a Shower Handle and How to Identify What Is Wrong with Them
There are a few parts to the shower handle that you might find confusing when you open it up. So let’s take a look at all of them.
The handle: This is the part with which you control the shower.
The wall plate: Surrounding the handle will be a wall plate, which hides the rest of the assembly from your sight. The wall plate can corrode, so look for that.
The valve: Once you remove the handle and open the wall plate, you will see this white-colored part with a cylindrical shape like a flashlight battery. Its main function is to control the water flow.
Adjuster ring: Right on top of the valve will be a colored adjuster ring, to control water temperature. If the temperature is not being adjusted as it used to, maybe the adjuster ring or the valve itself is malfunctioning.
The cartridge: On removing the valve, you will see the cartridge, which is responsible for the water pressure. You know which part to replace if there is a problem when you twist the handle and water does not come out as it should.
10 Steps to Remove an American Standard Shower Handle:
A Philips screwdriver
The Allen wrench that came with the shower handle, or a similar-sized one.
Step 1: Disconnecting the Water Supply
Shut off the water supply to the household (that is- if you cannot shut off only the water supply to the particular bathroom that you will be working on).
Step 2: To Avoid Splashes
Open the shower handle and let any water in the pipes drain out. This is required because you will be opening the valve in a second, and you don’t want the excess water to be sprayed on you.
Step 3: Taking Off the Screws
Now, move the handle up. You will see a hole where you can insert the Allen wrench and loosen the set screw that holds the handle.
Step 4: Removing the Handle
Remove the handle by pulling it towards your body. Set it aside and check what you see now that the handle is removed.
Pay attention to the next couple of screws that are holding the wall plate to the bathroom tile. Some companies will not have visible screws here, but American Standard usually does.
These 2 screws are pretty long, so unscrew them slowly. Open up the plate. It will reveal the white-colored valve.
Step 5: Taking the Valve out
The cylindrical valve is nowadays made of rubber-like material (it used to be ceramic!). It is connected to the rest of the cartridge with 3 standard screws.
On top of the valve, you can see the adjuster ring, which is made of colored rubber-like material (in the ceramic type, this ring will be made of colored metal and can be used again with a new valve).
Remove the 3 screws and take the valve out.
Note how the valve was attached to the rest of the structure–you will probably see 1 perfect round hole and 2 squished up holes.
Honestly, not to creep you out or anything, but they look like those skeleton masks from the scary movies, with squished up, downward-sloping eyes and a screaming, open mouth–you get the idea.
The perfect circle would have been on the top–note that alignment and place the valve aside.
Step 6: Taking the O-ring Off the Cartridge
Now that the valve is removed, you would have exposed a metallic structure. That is the cartridge. There are 3 flat-head screws that fix an O-ring onto the cartridge.
(You will note that this metallic ring surrounds a structure that corresponds to the round holes that the valve had.)
Remove the flat-head screws and detach the ring from the cartridge.
Step 7: Pulling out the Cartridge
Now there is nothing but simple pressure keeping the cartridge into the wall.
You can pull out the cartridge with your screwdriver as a wedge (because your fingers may not be able to get a hold of the cartridge when it is fully inside the wall).
Step 8: Repair Damages (If Any)
Now that the cartridge is out, there is a large hole in your bathroom wall.
You can clean that cartridge-sized hole, check for any damage in the cartridge, and replace it if it is damaged.
Note how there are two colored rings on the hidden side of the cartridge when it was inside the wall. These are the snap-on connections to your waterlines. There will be two corresponding holes in the wall.
So when you replace/reinstall the cartridge, you need to make sure that these rings are correctly aligned with those holes. Then you push the cartridge in all the way and attach the O-ring.
Step 9: Put the Valve Back in
If all is well with the valve as well, you can reinstall it. Or replace it with a new one if it is damaged.
Align it correctly with the skeleton-faced holes, and put the screws back on.
There is a rubber piece where the handle will attach to the large valve. Make sure that this is aligned correctly as well so that there will be no gap when you attach the handle.
Step 10: Re-bolt the Wall Plate and Re-attach the Handle
At this stage, before you put the wall plate back, you can just slide in the shower handle and switch on the water supply to see that there is no leakage.
If anything leaks, you probably need to double-check the alignments and tighten them up.
If all is well, re-attach the wall plate with its 3 standard screws, and the shower handles with its small set screw.
Yahoo! You have successfully removed and re-installed your American standard shower handle!
Like other household plumbing jobs, removing shower handles are too simple to be thrust upon a plumber, whom you have to pay.
On the other hand, learning these tips and tricks saves you money, all the while making you cooler in the eyes of your friends and family!
Just a tip, though: when you are dismantling anything including a shower handle, always keep a note of the order in which you take out things, the screws that go to each phase, and the way in which the parts are aligned.