Can’t Find How to Turn On That Shower? Try These 3 Tips


Can’t figure out how to turn on your shower?

You’re not alone! Moving into a new house and being unable to turn on the shower can be super frustrating.

But don’t worry; I’m here to help.

If your shower isn’t turning on, ensure the main water valve is open and check for any leaks in the pipes. For electric showers, confirm the power switch is on or pull the cord. In three-knob showers, use the third knob to direct water to the showerhead. If there’s a diverter valve, pull it.

Read on to learn more about how to turn on showers!

Can’t Turn On Your Shower? 3 Reasons Why (With Fixes)

In my experience, different reasons can explain why you can’t turn on your shower. Some of the most common ones are:

#1 Water Flow Issues

When fixing a shower that doesn’t turn on, confirming that water is flowing in your home is important.

You can easily check the water flow by turning on a faucet. If water comes out, then you know the problem is specific to your shower.

But, if there’s no water supply, there’s likely a more significant issue. Please read the next section to learn more about how to fix it.

#2 The Water Valve is Turned Off

If you can’t turn on your shower because there’s no water flowing in your home, the water switch or valve is probably turned off.

Main water supply valve
Check the main water supply valve if you can’t turn on your shower.

The location of the water valve will vary depending on your home’s design. It is commonly located in the basement or crawlspace, near the water heater or washer, under the kitchen sink, next to the water meter, or in your garage.

If you can’t find the water valve, please review the plumbing section on your property inspection report.

Once you’ve located the water valve, please turn it on to restore water flow. However, if the valve was already turned on, check your pipes, as they can get frozen during winter. If there’s a leak or your pipes are broken, I recommend calling a professional to solve the problem.

Don’t forget to check if your shower head is obstructed and make sure the water bill has been paid!

But if you’re on vacation, you shouldn’t mess around (too much) trying to fix the water utility system. However, you should contact the property owner or travel agency and ask them how you are meant to take a shower!

#3 Power Issues (For Electric Showers)

If you have an electric shower that is not turning on, ensure the red power switch is turned on.

I’ve seen that most electric showers’ power switch is outside the bathroom. Others have a cord near the shower that you need to pull.

However, if you’ve pulled the cord or turned on the power switch, but your electric shower is still not turning on, there’s probably a power issue.

In such cases, you’ll need to reset the circuit breaker by turning it off, waiting for a couple of minutes, and turning it back on. It’s also important to ensure the fuse for the shower is not blown.

If the issue persists, read the manufacturer’s manual, as it contains specific troubleshooting for your shower. You can also call an electrician to deal with any possible wiring problems.

How to Turn On Different Types of Showers

If you’re simply unsure how to operate your specific type of shower, don’t worry. In this section, I’ll guide you through the process of turning on different types of showers.

Electric Showers

Turning on an electric shower can vary depending on the specific model you own. Here are some general guidelines to follow:

  1. Locate the power switch: Usually, the red power switch is located outside the bathroom to keep you from touching it with wet hands. Please turn on the switch.
  2. If there’s a cord near the shower, pull it to turn on the power.
  3. Adjust the temperature and water pressure.

Showers With Three Knobs

I find that turning on a shower that has three knobs can be a bit confusing. It makes sense to have one knob for hot water and another for cold, but the third? What does it do?

Two out of three knobs in your shower are for temperature control. The third knob, however, should direct the water. Turning the knob one way directs the water flow to the tub while turning it the other directs the water flow to the shower head.

Shower with three knobs
Turn the knob that directs the water flow to the shower head.

Any of the three knobs could be for changing the water direction. So, I advise you to step out of the shower and try turning all three knobs. Once you’ve worked them out, you can enjoy a relaxing shower without fear of scalding or freeze-burning your skin in the process!

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Showers With Diverter Valves On Top Of the Spigot

Turning on a double shower tub combo can be a bit challenging, especially when you’re trying to switch the water flow between the bathtub faucet and the showerhead.

Don’t worry, though. I’m here to help!

Here’s how to turn on a shower with diverter valves on top of the spigot:

  1. Turn the water on so that it is flowing into the bath.
  2. Change the temperature of the water to one that is comfortable.
  3. Pull the lever on top of the spigot to change the water flow and direct it to the shower head.
  4. Step into the shower.
Shower with diverter valve
Pull the lever on the spigot to change the water flow to the shower head.

If you are still a little confused about turning on your shower, take a look at the tutorial in this video.

Showers With Diverter Valves Under the Spigot

Showers with diverter valves under the spigot are the most confusing ones I’ve seen.

They usually have one simple mechanism for changing the water temperature but don’t have a pull lever on top of the spigot to change the water direction.

Now what often goes unnoticed is the pull ring. The pull ring is located under the spigot where the water flows. You’ll need to pull it to turn on your shower.

If it is hard for you to pull at the ring with the water flowing, shut it off, then pull on the ring to redirect the water flow to the shower head.

Are you finding it difficult to locate the pull ring on your spigot? Then look at the following video that will help you see what you need to grab hold of.

Jet With Single-Style Knob Delta Shower

Delta showers have a particular way of working, and sometimes figuring out how to turn them on can be difficult.

Here’s how to turn on a jet with a single-style knob Delta shower:

  1. Pull on the “ON” knob to get the water flowing from the shower head.
  2. Press the “ON” knob inward to decrease the water flow. Pull the knob outwards (towards you) to increase the water flow.

Summing Up: How to Turn on Any Shower With Ease

Hopefully, now you know how to turn on your shower.

Remember that if your shower won’t turn on, you’ll need to check the water flow. Ensure the water valve is turned on and check the pipes. If you have an electric shower, ensure the power switch is turned on, and the breaker hasn’t tripped.

Don’t forget that the process of turning on a shower will vary depending on its type. For instance, to turn on a three-knob shower, you must use the third knob to direct water to the shower head because the other two knobs control the water temperature. For showers with a diverter valve above or underneath the spigot, you’ll need to pull it.

Thank you so much for reading! If this article has been helpful to you, please check out more free guides on our website.


I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more