Shower Handle Broke Water Running (How to Fix It!)

Being able to turn the water in your shower on and off is something most of us overlook, not giving it a moment’s thought until something goes horribly wrong.

Shower-related problems must be addressed to avoid water wastage and keep your bathroom functional, including if your shower handle broke water running.

A shower handle can break if you pull it too hard and due to rust accumulation weakening the handle parts. Lower-quality handles are more susceptible to breakage than high-quality ones made using robust, durable materials. First, shut off the water when the handle breaks, then address the issue.

Let’s investigate what to do when your shower handle breaks and the water keeps running.

Moen shower handle broke water running

Why Is Your Shower Handle Broke Water Running? (Causes & Fixes)

Below are the possible reasons your shower handle broke.

 CausesRecommended Fix
1.Overtightening the handleLubricate the cartridge before installation
Do not tighten the handle too much
2.Excess water pressureLower and maintain your home’s water pressure to below 70 psi
3.Mineral depositsSoak the valve, cartridge and other parts in vinegar then brush them with an old toothbrush
4.CorrosionReplace the worn-out or corroded components  
5.Lack of lubricationLubricate the cartridge

1. Over-tightening the Handle

Mishandling your shower handle will make it lose its functionality pretty quickly. For instance, do not over-tighten the handle when shutting off your shower because it could eventually break.

Also, avoid tightening the screws too much when installing the handle because of fear of losing control of the water flow or causing leaks. Overly tightened screws can strip the threads or break the handle.


  • Apply lube to the cartridge before installing the shower handle.
  • Avoid tightening the screws too hard.

2. Excess Water Pressure

Your bathroom and kitchen regulator valves can be damaged by excess water pressure. Typically, the water pressure in residential spaces should be 40 to 70 psi; damages can occur with a water pressure of about 80 psi or higher.

The regulator valve under the knob or handle can control the water pressure letting you enjoy a comfortable water pressure. However, the water outlets and valves will gradually succumb to excess pressure.


  • Check the mother valve to see the water pressure in your home. Lower the pressure to below 70 psi if it’s too high by loosening the mother valve screw.
  •  A pressure regulator will help you maintain the ideal water pressure

3. Mineral Deposits

With time, minerals from leakages and hard water will accumulate in the pipings and shower system. The mineral deposits can take up the space between the shower’s internal parts, compromising their movement.

The movement of the shower handle can get rough due to mineral accumulation, compelling you to use extra force to turn it off and on, potentially breaking it.


  • Turn off your shower’s shutoff valve.
  • Pry off your shower handle’s decorative cap using a screwdriver.
  • Remove the screw securing the handle.
  • Unscrews the trim plate’s screws, then remove the trim plate or the escutcheon.
  • Take out the retaining clip holding the valve using a tiny screwdriver.
  • Pull out the valve cartridge using pliers.
  • Soak the cartridge, valve, and other parts in a water and vinegar solution for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  • Scrub these parts with a toothbrush to remove tough buildups.
  • Reassemble the shower handle.
What to do if shower handle breaks

4. Corrosion

The accessories of your shower handle will wear out or corrode over time due to oxidation reactions and continuous use. Worn-out or corroded parts are vulnerable, so they can break easily.


  • Replace the worn-out or corroded components.
  • Rub areas showing signs of rust with lime water to prevent oxidation.

5. Lack of Lubrication

Applying lubrication is essential in plumbing installation to prevent the parts from breaking due to friction. Your shower handle may break if the installation is done without lubricating the valve and other components.


Take out the cartridge and lubricate it.

How Do You Turn Off a Shower With a Broken Handle?

While permanently fixing the issue is paramount, you can stop water from flowing temporarily, avoiding water wastage. Therefore, turn off your shower if the handle is broken using the shower’s shutoff valve or your house’s main valve.

Stopping water flow through the shower’s shutoff valve is more convenient than using the main valve because the latter means the entire home will not have any water. The shower shutoff valve is typically located under the sink or in the ceiling in homes with suspended ceilings.

Turn off the shower’s shutoff valve by rotating it clockwise; the same applies to shutting off your home’s main water valve. The main valve is usually found 2 to 3 feet from where water enters your house.

How To Replace Shower Handle Without Replacing Valve

If the shower valve is in good condition but the handle is broken, you can replace only the handle.


  • 4-n-1 screwdriver
  • Acrylic or Teflon tape
  • Pipe wrench
  • Replacement kit- the replacement handle should match the existing handle. Shower handles come in different forms and types. Delta Faucet Foundations Shower valve Trim Kit (View on Amazon) is an excellent choicer since it’s sturdy, easy to install, fits perfectly, and beautiful.


  • Before doing anything, turn off your shower’s shutoff valve or your house’s main valve
  • Remove the handle’s decorative cap if it has one. This will expose the screw holding in place the shower handle
  • Unscrew and remove the current shower valve
  • Unscrew and remove the trim plate
  • Wrap the faucet stem’s base with Teflon tape then, slide the replacement shower handle into the stem then, secure it with the provided screws
  • Install the trim plate
  • Turn the shutoff valve back on and test the new handle
Shower turned off, but water still running

Important Considerations

It’s paramount for the shower handle to be compatible with your shower, so to ensure you get the right replacement handle, take the old one with you when shopping. Also, figure out the shower handle finish and brand beforehand.

You can ask a plumber or shop attendant for assistance in choosing the proper replacement handle, making sure it’s of high quality as well. Additionally, put on protective gear such as thick protective gloves when repairing or replacing the handle and also check whether the shower handle stem is broken as well as other parts.

Final Remarks on Shower Handle Broke Water Running

Turning off your shower from the shutoff valve is inconvenient, so fix your broken shower handle swiftly. After replacing the broken handle, keep the water pressure and use the handle carefully, ensuring you do not open and close it with too much force.

Also, read: Shower Knob Turns But No Water Comes Out