Plumbers can be expensive. But so is leaving a leaky tub faucet be since it’s ultimately going to result in higher water bills. Of course, the stains left by dripping water on the base of the bathtub is an added nuisance. Don’t let the water drip for another day and don’t call a plumber either.
Save money and unsightly water stains on your bathtub by learning how to fix a leaking tub faucet. The project isn’t a hard one and won’t take a lot of your time either. All it takes are some essential tools and a little knowhow on doing it yourself. After reading this article, you’ll be able to fix a leaking tub faucet entirely on your own.
Possible reasons for leakage
The most common problem resulting in a leakage could be cracked or deformed washer. Once you have taken apart the faucet assembly, you can inspect the condition of the washer that’s attached to the end of the stem. Replacing the washer will, in most cases, fix the leakage.
Another common problem that causes leakage in bathtub faucets is damage to the seat. The seat is attached right next to the washer and can wear over time through corrosion by water. Once you have disassembled the faucet, check the condition of the seat, and replace all the faulty parts as needed.
What you’ll need
Pay a visit to the nearest hardware store and gather some supplies. You may even find most of the items at home.
- Plumber’s grease
- Adjustable wrench
- Seat wrench
Procedure to follow
Here are the steps you need to follow in order to fix a leaking tub faucet:
- Shut off the water supply to the tub. If you can’t find the valve that shuts off the supply to the tub, you will need to shut off the main water supply to the entire house.
- Open the faucet and let all the water that remains in the pipes drain out into the tub.
Take apart the faucet
Once the water supply is off, and the water pipes are empty, we are ready to take apart the dripping tub faucet.
- The first thing that you’ll need to do is to remove the cap of the faucet. The cap can be removed either by using a pocket knife or a small screwdriver. Once the lid is out of the way, you’ll find a handle screw inside.
- Use a screwdriver to take off this screw and remove the handle from the wall. Sometimes, corrosion can weld the handle onto the stem or the wall, depending on the design, and may become difficult to remove. In such a case, a nifty trick is to blow hot air from a hairdryer into the handle. It should come out quickly.
- At the base of the handle is the escutcheon plate. This is the plate that covers the hole into the wall where the faucet goes in. Once you have pulled out the handle in the previous step, you can easily remove this plate from the wall. It may either be screwed to the wall, in which case you will need to use a screwdriver to unscrew it. For some models, you can remove this plate by merely twisting it with your hand.
- After taking out the escutcheon plate, you will find the stem of the faucet that’s penetrating the wall. Pull it put using an adjustable wrench.
Replace the faulty parts
It’s the stem of the faucet, which you removed in the previous steps, that needs inspection for damaged parts. Once you have taken apart the faucet, you are ready to move on to the next step and learn how to fix a leaking tub faucet.
- As mentioned earlier, it’s usually the seat that causes leakage. This is because the continuous flow of water causes corrosion in its brass rim. Use a seat wrench to remove the old seat. Use the same wrench to screw the new seat back in its place after lubricating it with plumber’s grease.
- Remove all the old washers and replace them with new ones after applying plumber’s grease. Using a flathead screwdriver, you can pry off all the old washers, including packing washer, seat washer, and bonnet washer. Grease new washers and insert them in their right places. If you can’t find the right size of washers, you can take the old ones to the hardware store and find identical new ones for replacement.
Put the faucet back together
Once you’ve learned how to fix a leaky tub faucet, we are ready to put everything back in place.
- Insert the stem assembly back into the wall, tightening it in place using an adjustable wrench.
- Now place the escutcheon plate onto the wall and screw it in position using a screwdriver.
- Screw the handle back into place using the handle screw that you removed when taking it apart.
- Replace the cap that covers the handle.
Check the results
- Once you have reattached the tub faucet, turn the water valve back into ON position.
- See if there’s any leakage through the faucet now. Turn it on and see if the water is coming out correctly.
- Hopefully, there will be no leakage once you’re done with the job. If, however, you still find leakage from the faucet, it’s best to call a plumber.
See how simple that was? Something that should only cost a couple of dollars in purchasing the inexpensive replacement parts can be unnecessarily expensive if you call a plumber. Learn how to fix a leaking tub faucet, and you can save loads of money. Fixing a leaky tub faucet is, after all, one of the simplest of the plumbing chores that everyone should be able to handle on their own.