Which Moen Cartridge Do I Need? (We Have The Answer)
If you’re installing a Moen showerhead, then you already know that this company has a rep for being great at both temperature and pressure control. Of course, getting the showerhead is only half the battle. In order to complete your installation, you will need to buy the right Moen cartridge valve for your setup. But…which one is the right one for you, anyway?
The right cartridge valve depends on what year you bought your shower as well as the model number of the shower faucet. Moen has a site and a tool that can help you determine which valve you need, if you are unable to find out which cartridge valve is the correct one for you.
It’s easy to see why buying a cartridge valve can be a daunting task. It’s not exactly something that people talk about. However, we can make it a little bit easier. This guide is here to help you out every step of the way.
What Does A Shower Valve Cartridge Do?
When you’re working on a shower faucet install, you need to be aware of what a valve cartridge does. These are valves that are used for people who have a single handle and are designed to moderate both your temperature and water pressure simultaneously. Every time your handle is moved, water will pass through different holes in the cartridge, each of which will slightly alter the pressure and temperature.
A shower valve cartridge is the fastest and most precise way to control your shower’s temperature. The engineers at Moen knew that and made a point of using them to improve the output of their shower valve faucet.
Do You Have To Use A Moen Cartridge If You Have A Moen Faucet?
Yes. Due to the way that shower faucets are designed, you cannot use an off-brand cartridge valve. If you try, you’re going to find out that it won’t fit and you’ll need to return it. (No, it has nothing to do with your shower dimensions. It’s a plumbing issue.)
Is Moen The Only Brand That Requires Cartridge Valves?
It’s understandable if you feel like Moen might be a little crazy by asking you to buy a cartridge valve after you’ve already bought the faucet. I mean, no one wants to get overcharged, right? What you need to realize is that using cartridge valves are not exclusive to Moen in the least bit.
Any shower faucet that uses a single handle is going to require a cartridge valve or something similar to function. Since cartridge valves are some of the most efficient tools when it comes to regulating pressure, they are worth the money you’ll spend.
Do You Ever Have To Replace Moen Cartridges?
For the most part, a single cartridge valve should last for at least a decade, if not more. However, there are times where you may need to replace them. If you notice that your shower can’t regulate temperature or pressure the way it once did, you will need to replace the cartridge.
How Many Shower Cartridge Valves Does Moen Make?
The good news about trying to figure out which valve you need is that Moen makes it easy. The company only makes four valves:
All of the Moen faucets will work with one of these four cartridge valves, no exceptions to the matter. So if you’re worried about being unable to find the specific type for your model, don’t worry. All four are widely available.
How To Figure Out Which Moen Cartridge You Need
If you’re new to installing shower faucets, you have several ways to figure out which cartridge you need. To make things easier, we’re going to sort things by the easiest methods as well as the situation that you might be in.
Using The Faucet’s Paperwork
Let’s say that you’re installing a new faucet and just realized you will need to get a cartridge. Hey, it happens to the best of us. If you still have the faucet in its packaging, you’re in luck. All you have to do is leaf through the paperwork included in the packaging. The paperwork will tell you which option will work with your cartridge.
Looking Up The Serial Number
Another option that you can use to figure out which cartridge valve is right for you is to look at the serial number on the bottom of the faucet. If you can’t find the serial number on the faucet’s underside, check the decorative escutcheon ring that’s included with every Moen unit. After you find the serial number, look up the unit’s details online to discover which valve works for your faucet.
Replacing A Cartridge
Replacing a cartridge is easy, simply because you will be able to pull out the old cartridge and compare it to find out which model you need. If you are replacing a Moen cartridge, you will need to do the following:
- Grab a flathead screwdriver and remove the faucet handle. Then, loosen the faucet handle screw.
- Clean off the caulk and spacer sleeve if you have to. With many shower setups, this is a must. If you have to get rid of the caulk to get at the faucet, go for it.
- Remove the retaining clip gently. Save it, as you will need it for later. If you want to, clean it off with a wipe.
- Use a Moen extractor tool to take the cartridge out of the installation. You do need a specialized tool to do this, and it’s purchasable through the Moen site.
- From here, you can seek out the serial number or you can use a website guide to determine which cartridge you need. If you still can’t find the serial number for a lookup, head to this site to help you find the right cartridge. Moen is really good about being able to advise you when it comes to cartridge replacement and even has a customer service squad to help you just on this matter alone.
- Find the right cartridge valve for the job, and insert it in the plumbing. Use the clip that you put aside to secure it into place. If you need more specific instructions on this part, you can refer to the instructions that came included with your new cartridge.
- Dispose of the old valve, and reinstall your shower faucet handle. If you need to seal the surrounding area near your shower faucet, do so using silicone waterproof caulk.
- Let the caulk dry before you use your shower. It’s good to let things settle, don’t you think?
How Much Does A Moen Extractor Tool Cost?
If you are doing a cartridge replacement job, you are going to need Moen’s extractor tool to do it. This is a specialized extractor tool that will remove old cartridges and can also prove to be useful during certain installations. To get one, you will need to spend around $30 from the Moen website. Unfortunately, this is not something you can skip when it comes to buying.
How Much Do Moen Cartridge Valves Cost?
Moen cartridges are not exactly cheap, but they are absolutely affordable and should be considered an investment in your shower’s quality. A single Moen cartridge valve will cost between $22 and $50. If you need additional fittings, this will be an extra charge. For the sake of this article, we’re just focusing on the cartridges themselves.
How Much Does Professional Cartridge Valve Replacement Cost?
Most people prefer to have a professional plumber replace their cartridge valve, simply because it’s a messy job and can take a while to do. However, the cost of labor alongside the parts will quickly add up. Labor costs for a cartridge valve replacement can range from $100 to $250 alone. Parts will cost between $50 and $100, depending on what needs to be bought to do the job.
The numbers add up pretty quickly. Overall, you’re looking at a maximum price tag of $350 for this work. Needless to say, it’s understandable if you want to try to do it on your own first. We also have a full article on the price of replacing cartridges here.
Can you replace your shower handle without replacing the valve?
It’s possible to replace your shower handle without actually replacing the valve, and it’s often done when you accidentally break the handle. To replace your handle without a new valve, use a universal replacement kit to make the new shower handle work.If you just want to replace the handle and want to keep the same handle model, things might be even easier. Depending on the handle damage alone, you might be able to just get the handle and switch things out.
Are shower cartridges universal?
Though there are a lot of ways to cut corners and decrease costs in plumbing, this is not one of them. You cannot, under any circumstances, mix brands with shower cartridges as it simply will not work. They won’t fit, and even if they do, they won’t actually function.It’s worth noting that shower cartridges aren’t even interchangeable within the brand in most cases. You need to get the cartridge that’s specially made for your shower handle model if you want to be able to use it.
Can a bad shower cartridge cause a leak?
Though it’s not exactly common, a shower cartridge that is worn or cracked can cause a leak on the inside of your walls. Even if you’ve turned the handle to the “OFF” position, the water can seep through as a result of the cartridge’s role in keeping water pressure relatively constant.If you have reason to believe that you have a leak caused by a bad cartridge, the best thing you can do is to call a plumber immediately and shut off your water. The sooner you get it treated, the better off you’ll be.
Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.
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