What you need to do when your shower won’t turn off

When you’ve finished your shower and turn off the faucet, but the water continues to pour out from the faucet or showerhead it can be a daunting task to figure out what to do. Don’t panic – there are some steps you can take to figure out the problem.

Turn off the main water shutoff

The main water shutoff should be located in your basement near the front foundation wall. This part of the house is usually within the first several feet of where the main water enters. The handle can come in two forms, a “wheel” or a lever. If you don’t have access to a basement, the water shutoff should be in the crawl space near your water heater. Turning off the water at the main shutoff valve will turn off the water throughout your entire home, so your shower should stop running.

Tighten the faucet handle

The simplest solution is to check if the faucet handle needs to be tightened. Use a flathead screwdriver to pry underneath the cover plate of the faucet. Then, you should be able to see the faucet handle screw. Tighten this screw and turn the water back on to check if turning the faucet handle produces the desired effect.

Replace the cartridge (Two handle)

A cartridge is one of four types of valves that you’ll find inside a faucet. Cartridges work great in shower faucets since they regulate water flow and temperature and create a better seal than other types. They also allow you to set an accurate temperature when you turn the handle. A shower that won’t turn off is often due to an issue with the cartridge. To replace the shower cartridge, turn off the water again. Turn the hot and cold water on and put the drain stopper into the drain – that way you don’t lose any hardware. Unscrew the handle, take off the cartridge, and make a mental note of how the cartridge was aligned. Remove the clip and use vice grips to remove the cartridge. If it feels stuck, you should call a plumber. Grease the new cartridge and insert it into the shower, making sure the hot and cold sections of it line up with the old cartridge. Put everything back together and test.

Replace the Hot/Cold assembly pieces (Single knob shower valve)

If replacing the cartridge doesn’t solve the inability to shut off the water, you may have to replace the individual assembly pieces of the faucet. Start by shutting off the water and opening hot and cold faucets in other rooms to relieve pressure. Unscrew the handle and remove it. Take off the beauty ring and escutcheon plate. Using a wrench, loosen and pull out the cold and hot shower valves. Screw the replacement valve assemblies into position, and tighten with a wrench before putting everything back together.


Save time and $$$ with a no obligation quote from recommended plumbers nationwide. It takes just 30 seconds.

Repair a ball shower faucet

For ball faucets, the first step would be to shut off the water in the home. You may have a water shutoff for the shower in the bathroom or the room sharing the wall with the faucet. If not, using your main water shutoff will work. After shutting off the water, always open a faucet before beginning a repair to release pressurized water from the pipes. Take off the handle, handle cap, and any other parts that need to be removed, being careful not to damage the gear. You can then remove the ball faucet and install the replacement.


When your shower won’t turn off it can be a daunting task trying to figure out the problem, but there are steps you can take to fix it. Start by turning off the main water shutoff and tightening the faucet handle. If you can’t regain control of the water, you may need to replace the cartridge or the individual assembly pieces of the faucet. For ball faucets, remove the handle, handle cap and other parts before replacing the ball faucet.