How to Fix a Leaky Tub Faucet

Although a leaking faucet on a sink can be a pretty easy job that most people can do, the leaky tub faucet kicks up the difficulty levels a notch or two. You don't have to put up with that leak, however, and the bathtub stains and high water bills that are coming with the drip. There are some special tools you're going to need, but buying these tools is often cheaper than hiring a plumber and you'll be able to repair the washers, gaskets, or seals that are in the valve assembly that are causing your leak.

Make sure you've got the correct replacement parts before you begin. Some manufacturers bring out new models and discontinue the older ones, making it sometimes difficult to get the correct parts. Double-check with your local hardware store about the particular faucet you need to fix just to make sure before you open up your faucet and end up with a bigger headache.

Step #1: Remove the Handle Insert

After you've stopped the water supply, make sure you open up the valves to remove any extra water that might be lurking in the system. Then take a small knife and pry the insert off of the control handle.

Step #2: Remove the Handle

To remove the handle screw, you'll need a handle puller and post instead of your typical screwdriver. After removing the screw, you'll want to gently remove the handle that you've disassembled. Be very careful in doing this – too much force will cause the handle to break and you'll have a more expensive repair. Sometimes the seal can be really strong, so if it's stuck, try using a hair dryer for a few minutes set on high.

This is often the most difficult part of this job. The handles are exposed to a lot of moisture and they'll often corrode. Make sure to invest in a special handle puller just in case you've got a stuck item.

Step #3: Remove the Stem

Once you've removed the handle, you're ready to get into the inner workings of the leaky tub faucet. TO remove the stem, you'll need to use a tub socket wrench that fits the size of your stem bonnet. Slide the socket into the stem bonnet and turn it counterclockwise to make it come loose. You might need some WD40 or other penetrating lubricant to make this happen. Then unscrew it and remove the stem.

Step #4: Remove the Seat

Now you'll need a seat wrench. Turn it counterclockwise to unscrew it as well so you can remove it. This may also stick, so be prepared to use the lubricant. This is often the source of your leak right here because the washers in the seat stiffen over time and end up failing to seal properly. Install the new parts, coat the seat especially with pipe dope, and then begin reassembling the tub in the reverse order of how you took it apart.

Now you've fixed a leaky tub faucet.
Posted on Jul 27, 2014


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