How to Fix A Leaky Bathtub Faucet? [Detailed Guide]

There are a few simple steps for fixing the leaky bathtub faucet. By following these steps, you can easily fix this problem by yourself in a professional manner.

Let’s discuss how to fix a leaky bathtub faucet and what are its main causes.

Possible Causes of a Faucet Leak

There could be several reasons why your faucet is dripping. In most cases, you’ll need to remove the bathtub drain. Below we review a number of the most common causes of a leaky faucet:

A Problem in The O Ring

A stem screw is used to carry the handle of a faucet in place. This stem screw includes a little disc attached to it, referred to as the O ring. This is often an integral place where dripping can occur.

The O ring can become loose or wear out over regular use, causing the tap to drip near the handle. Replacing the damaged O ring will fix it if this is the problem. This problem occurs specifically in cartridge faucets.

Corroded Valve Seat

A valve seat is a connection between the tap and the jet in the compression mechanism. Accumulation of water residues can cause the valve seat to corrode, causing leakage around the jet area.

Make sure that you clean the valve seat regularly with the assistance of an expert plumber.

Worn Out Washer

This is one of the most common causes behind a leaking faucet. During each use, the washer is forced against the valve seat, and this continuous friction causes it to wear out. As a result, leaks are common around the jet.

Dripping caused by worn-out rubber washers is often mended by replacing the washer. This type of leakage is found in a pressure faucet.

Also Read: How to Caulk a Bathtub?

Improper Installation of Washer

Often, if the washer isn’t installed properly or isn’t the proper size, it can cause a leaky faucet. You can hire an expert plumber to assist you to put the washer properly and allow you to say bye to your leak.

Faulty Diverter

Once you pull up a lever to get the water flow to transfer to the showerhead, you’re pulling up the diverter. This blocks water from moving out of the jet, conveying it to the showerhead.

A faulty diverter is quite common. A plumber can fix this without an excessive amount of trouble, although it always requires replacing the bath jet.

Corroded Threads

The threads inside the jet could also wear away, allowing water to leak, bypassing the diverter. This problem also requires a replacement of the jet.

Types of Faucet

Before fixing the faucet leaking, you must know about the different types of faucets. Faucets are available in four basic designs. Knowing what kind of faucet you have can help when it comes to exchanging a worn-out part. The most common faucet types are:

Ball Faucet

The first kind of waterless faucet, ball faucets, are commonly utilized in kitchens. They need one handle attached to a rounded cap directly above the jet. The handle moves a plastic or metal ball inside the tap body controls the flow of water.

Cartridge Faucet (Two Handle)

Cartridge faucets utilize a movable stem cartridge that moves up and right down to control water flow. You can identify a cartridge faucet by rotating the knob and feeling it move with an up and down motion.

Disc Faucet

One of the most recent faucet designs, ceramic disk faucets, has one lever on top of a huge cylindrical body. The disc faucet mixes cold and hot water inside a mixing chamber called a pressure balance cartridge.

Ceramic disks at the bottom of the chamber will raise and lower to regulate the water flow while a side-to-side rotation of the handle adjusts the temperature.

Compression Washer Faucet

One of the oldest faucet designs, compression washer faucets are commonly found in older homes, although many more recent homes will have them installed alongside utility sinks. While inexpensive, they’re vulnerable to leaks because the washers wear out often and need replacement.

You can identify a compression faucet by its two handles and a decent rotating motion that’s needed to prevent the flow of water.

Gather Your Tools

 Before you start, you should gather all the tools you need to finish the project:

  • Adjustable Wrench
  • Multi-Bit Screwdriver
  • Clean Cloth
  • Washers
  • Faucet Stem
  • Socket Wrench
  • Faucet Handle

Also Read: How Hot are Hot Tubs?

Detailed Guide to Fix a Leaky Bathtub Faucet:

How to fix a leaky bathtub faucet infographic

Here are the steps to follow for fixing the bathtub faucet, and these steps apply to most kinds of bathtubs, including walk-in bathtubs, corner bathtubs, hot tubs and so on. 

Step 1. Shut off the water system

The first step when setting a leaky bathtub faucet is closing the water system. If you forget to do it, you’ll find yourself spraying water everywhere once you start to remove the tap from its fitting. There could also be an easy valve in your house or apartment that allows you to shut off the water to the bath.

If not, you’ll need to close the water system to your entire house; before you can move to the next step, there should be a lever near the meter that will allow you to do this.

Step 2. Remove the cap from the tap

The next step is to remove the cap that covers the tap handle screw. To do this, you can either use the little pocket knife or a slotted screwdriver. First, open the tap and then lose the cap to remove it with your chosen tool. Place it somewhere safe where you can easily find it again later.

Step 3. Unscrew the handle screw

Once the cap has been removed, you can see the screw inside the tap handle that holds the handle in place. Now you can remove this with a screwdriver. Unscrew the screw and place it with the cap, so you don’t break down.

Step 4. Remove the handle

After removing the screw, you can remove the handle. Depending on how old your faucet is, this part is often a bit tricky since corrosion and water deposits can cause the handle to fuse to the stem.

If it doesn’t want to come off, don’t force it, or you will break it. Instead, a few tricks that may help include warming it with hot air from a hairdryer or pouring boiling water over it.

If it still refuses to move, you can use a handle puller, a special tool that’s designed for this purpose.

Step 5. Remove the escutcheon

The next step is removing the escutcheon. It is a plate that covers the opening in the wall. Depending on your faucet, you need to unscrew it; otherwise, you could also twist it off.

Step 6. Remove the stem assembly

With the escutcheon out of the way, you now have to approach the stem assembly. This is often the part you would have to succeed in to repair the leak. You can use an adjustable spanner to remove the stem assembly.

Step 7. Check the washer

The most likely reason for a faucet to start out leaking is that the washer must be replaced. Once you remove the stem assembly, the first thing you have to do is check the washer on end.

It should be quite obvious that an old washer will be hardened and deformed, which is often what lets the water drip through, causing the leak.

Step 8. Replace the washer

If the washer is the culprit, you would have to replace it. If you have spare washers, simply plow ahead and put a replacement one on. This is a simple job requiring you to only unscrew the washer screw, remove the washer, put a replacement one in, and replace the screw.

However, if you don’t have one, you have to go to a store to shop for one. If you are doing this, it is a good idea to take the old one with you to show the stuff to the store. It will be easy for them to find the one you need.

Step 9. Check the seat for damage

Another possible reason why you leak is that the seat is broken. The seat is that the part that’s in touch with the washer will become damaged either because the washer wears away or through corrosion.

A damaged seat may cause a leak itself, and it also can quickly damage the new washer you have just fitted, causing the leak to return.

For these reasons, before you replace the stem assembly with the new washer installed, you must check the seat for any signs of damage.

Step 10. Replace the seat if necessary

If you discover signs of a damaged seat, you have to remove it and replace it. To get rid of the seat, you need to use a seat wrench and a special tool made for this purpose.

Step 11. Put everything back in place

Once you replace the washer, check, and replace the seat is necessary; it’s time to put everything back in place. Replace the stem assembly, tighten it with the adjustable spanner, replace the escutcheon and screw it back to place as needed, and then screw the handle back to place.

With the handle firmly attached and screwed back to the place, you can replace the cap that covers it. 

Also Read: Why Do Divers Use Hot Tub?

Replacing the Parts

Fix A Leaky Tub Faucet Double Handle

The double tub faucet functions as equivalent to a one-tub faucet. The key difference is that double-tub uses two separate handles to perform its task while single-tub uses one handle to regulate the water’s flow and temperature. Hence, you can apply the technique you used on one tub faucet on the double handle faucet.

How to Fix A Dripping Bathtub Faucet Single Handle?

Single-handle faucet fixing is kind of different from others. First, you need to make sure the parts you use to exchange are good parts. This includes:

  • Universal Seats
  • Stem Unit Assembly
  • Allen wrench
  • Channel locks
  • Needle nose pliers

How to Fix A Leaky Bathtub Faucet Double Handle?

The process applied is the same. The user only has to take care of the components and seek clarifications from the manufacturers themselves.

Leaking Bathtub Faucet Single Handle

The process applied is the same. However, the manufacturers advise that the homeowner practices care when fixing the friction gasket and, therefore, the lock ring. These parts are hard to repair, so special attention is required.

Also Read: How to Unclog Bathtub?

Final Thoughts

Before you set away from the tools, turn the water on and confirm you have fixed the leak. Keep in mind you need to check your faucet type before initiating the repair process. You might need to replace the cartridge, not the O-ring. Also, if the item isn’t in great shape, you will need to replace it entirely.

A leaking bathtub faucet may be an explanation for discomfort in any home. It results in an irritating noise and leaves stains on the bath. The most important part is that it leads to high water bills; immediate action should be taken to avoid further damage. 

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