How to Fix a Leaky Single Handle Bathtub Faucet

leaking bathtub faucet

Fixing a single-handle bathtub faucet requires only basic tools and is relatively straightforward. The first step should be turning off the water supply.

First, unscrew the handle screw. Depending on your model, this may involve prying off the handle insert as well. Set these aside. Next, use either jar grip pliers or vice grip pliers to open up the index button.

Steps to fix leaky single-handle bathtub faucet

Replace the Valve Cartridge

The cartridge, whether metal or plastic, regulates the flow of hot and cold water through your faucet. Over time, however, this cartridge may begin leaking due to corrosion or mineral deposits building up on its O-rings; to address this problem, replace its valve cartridge by shutting off your water source, removing its handle, disassembling your faucet to reach it and installing a new cartridge or valve; finally testing for leaks before installing a new one and testing for leaks.

To replace a cartridge, first ensure water has been shut off at its main shut-off valve. Next, open up your faucet and unscrew its handle; use a screwdriver or hex wrench that comes included with a cartridge repair kit to do this task. Once the handle has been taken off, unscrew or pull out the escutcheon plate (the decorative plate that covers tub wall openings). Next, unscrew or remove escutcheon plate screws holding either single-handle faucet retaining nuts or multiple handle faucet chrome sleeves by unscrewing/puling out them respectively.

leaky single handle bathtub faucet

Once the sleeves or escutcheons have been removed, you should see a U-shaped retainer clip held onto by needle-nose pliers. Once this clip has been released from its place of attachment, remove and set aside before gently pulling off your old cartridges from their connections. Note the current location of your cartridge to make putting in its replacement easier. If you are having difficulty, most cartridge repair kits contain special plastic tools for removal that feature notches on each end that fit with tabs on its stem – otherwise pliers might work just as well.

Once the old cartridge has been removed, clean out its interior of the sleeve or faucet body before replacing its packing washer and installing new bonnet washer and valve stem assemblies if applicable; additionally a seat washer may also be desired. Finally, add any required additional parts such as bonnet washers or seat washers (if applicable) into the faucet body for optimal functioning.

Replace the Rubber Washer

Rubber washers play an integral part of bathtub faucets, helping ensure water flows steadily and safely. Over time however, rubber washers may wear down, leading to leakage of water into your bathtub or shower stall. If this is an issue for you, replacing them is a quick solution which should resolve this issue.

To replace the rubber washer on a faucet handle, first you’ll need to disassemble the handle itself. This involves taking apart its component parts until you can dismantle its handle insert – held in by screws – from its stem and prying off with your fingers or using a pocketknife (but either method should work). After doing this, unscrew its associated screw and set aside your handle in an easily accessible location.

As soon as this step has been accomplished, remove the escutcheon. This decorative trim piece covers pipe openings and may be secured using screws or clips. Once it has been taken down, you should see a brass nut holding together your stem assembly. Unscrewing this with an adjustable wrench will allow you to pull it out for further examination.

a bathtub faucet and shower head in a bathroom

Now is the time to replace the packing washer on the end of the stem, using your kit as a guideline. Simply add a bit of plumber’s grease to the new packing washer before installing it into its stem sleeve on your faucet.

At this point, you should replace the bonnet washer as well, applying some plumber’s grease if desired. Once all these parts have been installed and in place, follow these steps in reverse order to reassemble your faucet and test for leaks by turning on both hot and cold water sources and running the faucet until its dripping stops.

Replace the Seat

Dripping bathtub faucets can be annoying and waste hundreds of gallons of water each year, costing the average household hundreds of extra dollars in wasted water usage. There are easy steps you can take yourself to repair one without calling in a professional plumber: shut off your home’s main water shut-off valve before opening up the bathroom faucet to drain any remaining water.

Place a towel over the drain in order to catch any small items that might fall in; locate and unscrew your handle screw; use a flathead screwdriver to unscrew its cap that covers it before setting aside; or just try using your fingernail!

Use a wrench or bath socket wrench to unfasten both stem nuts and bonnet nuts before unscrewing and removing the faucet handle, setting it aside as you go. Depending on its style, you may also have to take additional steps such as taking out its insert.

Examine the washer in your faucet seat to ascertain its state, replacing any damaged pieces like those with nicks or corrosion. Also assess its conical-shaped seat for damage – any nicks or corrosion will prevent a seal being created and need to be addressed by replacement of this part with new one using a wrench and installing new one with plumber’s grease before screwing back together again.

Reassemble the faucet by installing and tightening down the stem assembly, replacing the escutcheon plate and fitting the handle onto either its ball stem or handle adapter. Apply a thin layer of plumber’s putty around the threading on the new faucet stem to ensure a watertight seal with its handle. If you don’t know which size washer your faucet requires, take its old washer into a hardware store and ask for assistance in replacing it.

Now is the time to switch back on your water supply and test out your repairs. If any leakage remains, contact a professional. A leaky bathtub faucet not only drives up water costs and causes structural damage in your home but can waste one gallon per day! Even an intermittent drip wastes too much precious resources – something no homeowner wants in their household!

Replace the Handle

Fixing a single-handle bathtub faucet can be straightforward for most homeowners. Knowing the source of the problem and what needs to be done to address it are keys to success; in just an afternoon or so you could save untold gallons of water while also preventing costly damage to your home.

Before beginning work on your bathtub faucet, be sure to shut off your home’s water source. This will stop leaks while you work and prevent an accidental turnback of water which could result in flooding. Considering informing family or tenants that they should plan on having no access to running water during this process could save time and energy in the end.

Unscrew the faucet handle using a Phillips head screwdriver and place both components safely aside for reuse when reassembling your faucet. If the handle has become particularly corroded or frozen in place, use lubricating oil such as WD-40 to loosen it; alternatively try heating devices, such as hair dryers, to dislodge its mounting screws and free it.

White Ceramic Bathtub With single handle faucet

Once the handle has been detached, you can access the screw that secures the valve cartridge. Unscrew its nut using an adjustable wrench or shower valve wrench by turning it counterclockwise. Remove and store away your cartridge before replacing with a new one using plumber’s grease on rubber parts before reassembling.

Finally, replace the washer and seat if necessary. A leaky faucet stem often results from worn or corroded washers that no longer create a seal between their metal seat and rubber washers. You can find replacements at local hardware stores or plumbing supplies centers; otherwise you may require special tools known as faucet seat wrenches to disassemble and install new ones.

Once the new washer and seat have been installed, reassembling your faucet involves attaching its valve stem back into its slot in the faucet body, adding an escutcheon plate, reattaching your handle, tightening set screw to tighten, testing water pressure or for leaks; and tightening set screw to tighten set screw for tightness. Finally, turn on water pressure or check leaks by turning on faucet itself; if something still doesn’t work as it should then replacing whole fixture or seeking professional assistance may be required.

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