A dripping faucet may just seem annoying. However, one drip per second, in a single year, wastes over 3,000 gallons of water, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A leaky faucet is usually caused by simple issues you can fix without a plumber. We’ll now explain how to fix a leaky bathtub faucet to avoid water wastage and additional damage to faucet parts.
Leaky Bathtub Faucet Causes
There are different types of bathtub faucets, but all have these parts that can develop problems:
- Washer: The washer sits against the valve and is pushed against every time the water is turned on. Friction causes wear and eventually the washer cracks.
- Faucet Stem/Cartridge: This part is raised and lowered whenever you move the faucet handle. It allows water to flow, but may not block the flow if it’s failing.
- Handle: An old handle or one that’s worn out, rusted, or cracked may fail to completely turn off the water when you use it.
Fixing the Problem
To start, turn off the water supply. Otherwise, removing the faucet will cause water to spray everywhere. If you can’t turn off the water only to your bathtub, turn off the main water supply to your home.
- Remove the Faucet Handle: First, remove the faucet cap and then use a screwdriver to remove the screw holding the faucet handle in place. You should then be able to pull the handle out. If it’s stuck, try to free it using boiling water or a hairdryer.
- Continue Disassembly: Remove the wall plate, or escutcheon, by unscrewing it or twisting it off. Next, use an adjustable wrench to loosen and remove the stem assembly.
- Inspect the Stem or Cartridge: Check the condition of these parts, and the inside of the handle. Does the washer seem worn or are there signs that any parts are eroded or weakened?
- Replace the Washer: A worn washer is the most common reason for a faucet to leak. If necessary, loosen the washer screw with a socket wrench and remove it. Using a compatible replacement, insert a new washer and screw.
- Replace the Valve Seat: A damaged seat can also cause a leak. In contact with the washer, the valve seat can be damaged as the washer wears away; it will quickly damage any new washer you install. To replace it, remove the valve seat with a seat wrench and install the new one.
- Replace the Stem or Cartridge: If there’s rust, caulking, or wax around the base, remove it, and then loosen the bolts holding the component with an adjustable wrench (use a socket wrench for bolts in the wall). Then remove the stem/cartridge and replace it with a compatible unit for your brand, along with new bolts.
- Fix the Faucet Spout: A set-screw spout has a hexagon screw; remove it with a wrench or socket wrench. Thread-on spouts can be screwed on and off on their own. Score the sealant around the spout and bathtub wall with a utility knife, and use a wrench to remove the pipe nipple. Using plumber’s tape or Teflon tape, wrap the threads on both ends of the nipple and install it into the 90-degree elbow pipe in the wall; turn the pipe nipple clockwise until tight and reattach the faucet spout.
Now, turn the water back on. It will help flush out debris. Apply sealant between the faucet spout and wall, so your repaired bathtub faucet is leakproof. If it’s not dripping, reassemble the faucet.
Contact Sky Heating & Air Conditioning
Are you still wondering how to fix a leaky bathtub faucet that won’t stop? We provide faucet repair and other fixture services in the Oregon area. Whether your bathtub faucet continues to leak after you try to fix it or you want to update it, our technicians install faucets from leading manufacturers and provide high-quality service. To learn more, call (503) 974-0608 today.