How to Fix a Leaking Tub Faucet

Fixing a Leaking Tub Faucet can be an Easy DIY Project

A simple drip in the middle of the night can be an annoying circumstance and many will vow to fix the problem quickly yet overlook the amount of water loss caused by a simple drip or leaking faucet. It is estimated that a leaking faucet for tub, sink or shower that will drip in approximation of once per second will cost 27,000 gallons of water within a year.

Not only now a disturbance but also an energy sucking issue, it is best to repair leaks as soon as possible. Fixing a leaking tub can be done quite easily with a few tools and patience in removing fixtures correctly without stripping threads or breaking fixtures.

There are two styles of faucets and each will be repaired differently. The newer style faucets are much easier to repair than older styles. Older styles will require washers and seats be replaced while newer models will often only need to replace a cartridge to stop the leaking.

Some newer models such as the Delta and those that have copied the design will have a valve that is sealed with a cup and spring although more complicated than simply replacing a valve cartridge still easier than the old seated washer styles.

The first item of business in repairing a leaking bathtub faucet is to turn off the main water supply before performing the repair. Many sinks and fixtures have a turn-off valve near the unit but tubs do not. Once the water supply is shut off, then repairs can begin.

Necessary tools desired will involve a possible screwdriver, channel locks, wrenches and pipe dope. Depending on the style, the tools may vary and trim covers may need to be removed for inspection of types of screws etc. In some models, a deep well socket will be needed for removing the valve.

When removing fixtures and trim to reveal the source of the leak, it is important to take care in not damaging the faucet and handles, including threads. There are rust removers that can help to loosen tight and rusted parts.

In the newer style faucets, the cartridge will be removed that seats against the valve and simply replaced. The mechanism is self-contained and parts are sealed. With the older style, faucets that have 2 to three handles or knobs then the handles will be disassembled and the washers that control the water flow will be replaced. It is possible to remove the entire section and take to a hardware or plumbing supply store to get an accurate match.

The washer can be metal or rubber and are seated snuggly to stop water flow when the handles are tightened or turned off. Loosening the handle or turning on the faucet releases pressure on the washer and lets it float so water can pass.

If the washer is damaged, cracked, or brittle it will need to be replaced. Checking the area in which the washer is seated for damage can be done by running a finger over the edges to check for cracking or indentations. If there is any slight damage, it is best to replace both the seat or valve and the washer.


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