Dripping bathtub faucets can significantly increase your monthly water cost. Many people try to turn the faucet handles tighter, inadvertently shredding the seals even more. Although a plumber is required to repair significant issues, you can repair most broken washers, gaskets, and seals yourself with a few special tools.
A worn-out washer can cause a leaking bathtub faucet. By pushing hard against the faucet seat, the washer creates a watertight seal. Friction between the washer and the faucet seat as the faucet turns wears it out, causing the faucet to leak.
In this blog, we'll discuss why your bathtub faucet may begin to leak, as well as a few steps to stop those pesky leaks and drips.
What causes a leaky faucet?
A worn washer is the most common cause of leaking faucets. Every time the water is turned on and off, the washer is essentially pushed against the valve. This will gradually erode it until it hardens, cracks, and leaks. Leaks, on the other hand, can be caused by a faulty stem or cartridge, as well as a rusted handle. Prepare to replace at least one of these components.
Types of Bathtub Faucets
It is critical to understand the type of bathtub faucet you have before attempting to repair it. Bathtub faucets come in two main types:
- Single-handle bathtub faucet
- Two-handle bathtub faucet.
A single-handle bathtub faucet, as the name implies, has a single handle that is used to turn on the water, increase pressure, and choose between hot and cold water. They are typically equipped with anti-scald devices and can be used with diverter and non-diverter bathtub spouts.
Bathtub faucets with two handles, one for hot water and the other for cold water, are common. If you don't know where the problem is with this type of faucet, it can take a long time to fix because you'll have to work on both of them.
Let us look at how you can fix a leaking bathtub faucet starting with a two-handle tub faucet.
- Collect the necessary tools. A monkey wrench, bath socket wrench, or vice grip pliers, a Phillips screwdriver, a flat-head screwdriver, a jar gripper, plumber's grease, a rag, Teflon tape, and possibly tub caulk are required. A hair dryer may also be necessary.
- Shut off your water supply. For the next hour or so, you'll need to have access to the pipes. Inform family members or tenants that water will be unavailable during this period.
- Open the hot and cold valves on the bathtub faucet. Drain any remaining water in the pipes.
- Insert a head screwdriver into the hole and unscrew the handle. Over time, the handles can corrode and weld the faucet on. With a hand dryer, heat and loosen the handle. If you apply too much force, it may break. If your handle breaks or won't come off, call a plumber.
- Unscrew the trim and the collar by hand. The trim is a decorative piece that fits around the outside of the faucet, usually just behind the handle, whereas the collar is a tubular piece that fits around the internal faucet components. They should be relatively simple to unscrew. A hair dryer can also be used to loosen them.
- Set aside in a small container the faucet handle inserts, faucet handles, screws, trim, and collar parts. When you're finished fixing the faucet, you'll need to reconnect them in the same manner.
- Remove the packing nut that holds the stem in place, known as the stem bonnet. These are also known as "cartridges" at times. Turn a bath socket wrench counterclockwise.
- Insert the seat wrench into the faucet's opening. It has an elongated end that allows you to insert it deep into the seat and turn it counterclockwise to remove the seat. The seat is the faucet's back portion that extends into the pipe.
- Identify faulty parts. Examine the components you've just removed. You must locate the replacement part. The best way to ensure that the leak is fixed is to replace all wearable parts on both hot and cold faucet valves.
- Find replacement components. Take your old parts to a hardware store or a home improvement center. Because there are thousands of replacement parts available, bringing your old parts with you will ensure you purchase the correct replacements. In some cases, you may need to purchase the parts from a plumbing supply distributor.
- First, replace the parts inside the stem bonnet. The washers or the entire stem and bonnet portion of the faucet can be replaced. Before screwing back on any new parts, grease them with plumber's grease.
- Change the seat washer. Remove the seat washer screw from the seat's back. Remove the seat washer rubber. After greasing the seat washer screw and washer, replace them.
- Replace the bonnet washer and the packing nut. The bonnet washer should be removed from the end of the bonnet. Replace it on the bonnet after greasing it. Remove the packing nut in the middle of the stem bonnet. With a flat-headed screwdriver, pry the rubber-packing washer away from the nut. Grease the stem threads on the front of the stem and insert it into the bonnet.
- Replace the packing washer and the bonnet. Place your new packing washer in front of the greased packing nut. Apply pipe joint compound to your bonnet's threads. Tighten the bonnet with your bath socket wrench or vice grip.
- Replace the collar, faucet trim, faucet handle, faucet screw and faucet insert. Rep on the opposite side to replace the parts in the opposite handle. If this does not stop the leak, your stem or handle may need to be replaced; check these for damage as well and order a compatible part if necessary.
- Turn the water back on and test your repair job. If you spring a new leak, you should call a plumber.
Repairing a leaky faucet is one of the simplest plumbing jobs, and if you're feeling adventurous and up for a challenge, you should be able to do it yourself without too many issues if you follow our step-by-step guide. Follow Empava for more guides.