Sunday, July 6, 2008

How to fix a leaky tub faucet

In this lesson I will be explaining how to fix a leaky faucet. You turn the handle all the way closed but you still have a drip or a steady stream of water. You should not have to turn the handle hard to stop the water from shutting off. It should be easy and not require that much effort to shut off. This will be my first lesson I am doing to where I will be including photos throughout the tutorial to make it easier for my readers to understand. Let us start off now, this is the type of leaky faucet I am going to be covering today.

Click the image to make it larger

This is your typical hot, cold, and diverter in the middle set up. I will be discussing how to fix leaks on different types of manifolds in the future. First thing that you do with a tub faucet like this is pop the plastic or metal cover of the tub handle with a razor or small flathead screwdriver. Then simply just unscrew the screw that is holding the handle into place.

Take off the back plate and the sleeve that is covering the tub stem. The sleeve should just twist off, the back plate should pull right off but it may be secured with some caulking, if that is the case just carefully cut through the caulking until the back plate comes loose.

Next step is to secure the water coming into the leaky tub stem faucet. In this case the shut off valve to the leaky tub stem faucet is right below it. After you think you have the water secured to the tub faucet put the handle back on the tub stem then open the handle, there should be no water coming out. If there is then the water isn’t completely shut off.

Grab the appropriate sized tub stem remover then place it over the tub stem, with a pair of channel locks or a wrench slowly loosen the old tub stem.

Check the end of the tub stem for a defective O-ring. Visually inspect the seat that is still in the manifold, use your finger to and feel for any nix that might be on the tub seat. If you can feel a chip or nick in the tub seat it will have to be replaced, even the slightest nick on the tub seat will cause a leaky faucet. To remove the tub seat you will need a tub seat remover.

Stick the tub seat remover into the center of the tub seat then loosen with channel locks or a wrench. Once loose carefully back it out, tub seats are a pain in the arse to get out if they fall off the tub seat remover.

Using the same type of threaded tub seat install the new tub seat in the same way that you removed the old one. Grab your new tub stem and loosen the screw that is holding the O-Ring into place. Remover the screw and the O-ring and put a bead of caulking on the end of it, put the O-ring back on and tighten the screw until it is snug. The caulking is to ensure that the O-Ring doesn’t come off or get loose over time.

Using your tub stem remover tighten down the packing nut on the tub stem to ensure there will be no leaks, do not over tighten it though or it will be difficult to open and close.

Insert the tub stem into the hole and tighten down very snug, but do not over tighten.

Turn the water back on from the shutoff valve. Test it all out before you start putting everything back together. Put the back plate on then insert the sleeve and tighten it down. Assemble the handle back onto the tub stem. Put a bead of caulk around the back plate. Now you can enjoy a leak free tub faucet!

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