What you need to fix a leaky bathtub faucet

What you need to fix a leaky bathtub faucet

Dream Cheeky will help you know How To Fix A Bathtub Faucet Leak 2022: Things To Know

Video How To Fix A Bathtub Faucet Leak

Fixing a leaky bathtub faucet

No matter where it is in your home, the constant drip-drip of a leaky faucet can be annoying to listen to. Toilets, bathtubs and sinks can all start to leak over time. Left unchecked, even the smallest leak can lead to expensive repairs, a higher water bill and gallons of water wasted each month.

Fortunately, you can fix any leaky faucet, including the one in the bathtub, without having to call in a professional. In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to fix a leak yourself, as well as ways to prevent it from happening in the future.

What causes a faucet to drip?

Faucets in general can start to leak due to a number of things, including:

  • Worn out or incorrectly installed washers
  • Corrosion of parts or pipes
  • Defective O-rings
  • Mineral (scale) buildup

For a bathtub faucet, the most likely reason for a leak (and the easiest to repair) is the washers.

How to fix a leaky bathtub faucet

To fix a leaky bathtub faucet, you’ll need the following tools.

  • Replacement washers and screws
  • Socket wrench or adjustable wrench
  • Screwdrivers
  • Clean cloth

Depending on what is causing the leak, you may need a few more specialty items as well, such as a faucet stem or handle. Keep in mind, not all faucets are the same and may have different parts that need to be assessed or replaced.

Once you’ve gathered the essentials, it’s time to get started.

Turn off the water supply

Whenever plumbing is involved, it’s important to shut off the water supply before messing with or disassembling any part of the faucet. The water supply valve for a bathtub is usually underneath the bathroom sink. If you don’t see one there, turn off the main water supply instead. To be on the safe side, turn on the bathtub faucet to let any excess water drain out.

Remove the faucet cap and handle

Once the water’s off, take off the faucet cap and handle. Start by removing the decorative cap. Then, remove the screws in the center of the handle. This will most likely require a Phillips-head screwdriver. Store the screws someplace safe for later use.

Carefully pull the handle off of the wall. If it doesn’t come off, it may be necessary to use a special tool called a handle puller to remove it. Be careful not to break the handle or you’ll need to replace it with a new one. Take off the escutcheon plate, the decorative plate behind the handle, as well.

Assess the faucet stem

Now that the external parts have been removed, take a look at the faucet stem, washer and the handle itself. The stem is the part of the faucet that controls the way the water is dispensed. If the leak is coming from the spout or if it’s difficult to change the water temperature, the stem may need to be replaced.

Clean out any buildup of grime, caulk or rust from around the base of the stem. After that, use a socket wrench to loosen and remove any bolts holding the stem to the wall. Make sure you have a replacement stem that matches the model of the old one. Install the new stem and bolts. Then, return the external pieces to their proper place and run a test to see if the faucet continues to leak.

Replace the washer

The washer is a small, rubber ring that goes around the faucet’s stem. Its purpose is to prevent water from leaking, but if it’s aged or deteriorating, it needs to be replaced. Do this by removing the screws that hold it in place and installing a new one.

Some faucets don’t have a washer. Instead, they have a faucet cartridge. The cartridge is located on the part of the faucet that has handles for hot and cold water. One of the main reasons for it to leak is worn out or poorly-fitting O-rings. O-rings work by providing a seal around the base of the faucet and preventing water from leaking out. Lubricate the new O-rings and fit them around the cartridge. If that doesn’t work, get a new cartridge faucet and install it.

Swap out the faucet valve seat

Instead of replacing the entire faucet, examine the valve seat to see if it needs to be replaced. The seat is the metal stem the washer sits upon. Over time, residue and minerals can build up and make it deteriorate, which causes leaks.

Replacing the seat is simple with a seat wrench. Use the wrench in a counterclockwise motion to remove the seat. Then, put a new valve seat in its place. If the old seat won’t come off, you can put in a new seat sleeve to seal the area.

Test out the faucet

Once you’ve cleaned out any grime and swapped out any old parts, reassemble everything and turn the water supply valve back on. Finally, run the bathtub to test the water pressure and temperature. Turn the faucet completely off and check if it’s still leaking.

Other tips to prevent your faucet from leaking

Just like anything else, faucets will eventually age and/or deteriorate. The various components of a faucet will also need to be replaced every so often. However, there are several ways to help prevent leaks and long-term problems from occurring.

  • Always make sure any new parts are installed correctly and securely.
  • Mineral buildup is inevitable, but it can lead to bigger problems like corrosion or faulty plumbing issues. Make your faucet last longer with routine maintenance and cleaning. Apply a mixture of equal-parts warm water and white vinegar to any parts of the faucet you can reach.
  • Use a commercial cleaner like CLR (also available at Home Depot) for hard mineral buildup. Other products, including those that use sulfuric or phosphoric acid, can also remove tough deposits. Before using one, make sure it’s safe for your bathtub faucet.

Ultimately, it doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult to fix a leaking bathtub faucet — or any other faucet, for that matter.

Angela Watson is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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