The handles on a bathtub faucet tend to develop leaks as time goes on. Unfortunately, such leaks can lead not only to higher water bills, but also to costly forms of damage. If you have recently noticed that your bathtub faucet is leaking, read on. This article will provide an overview of the repair process.
Before you get down to work on your leaky faucet handle, you'll need to first turn off the water supply leading to your bathtub. Otherwise, you will find yourself with water gushing everywhere once you've disassembled the handle. Once you've closed off the appropriate water supply valve, open the faucet up. This will drain the standing water from the system.
Disassemble The Faucet Handle
Now you're ready to remove the faucet handle. Begin by prying the plastic insert out of the center of the handle using a thin blade. This should reveal an underlying screw head. Remove this screw using the appropriate tool.
At this point, you should be able to gently pull the handle off of the faucet—in theory, anyway. The problem is that corrosion often causes the handle to become stuck to the stem beneath it. A squirt of penetrating lubricant may help to loosen it up. If not, you may need to invest in an appropriately sized handle puller. This handy tool—no pun intended—works by gripping the sides of the handle and pushing it away from the stem by means of a metal rod that passes through the center of the handle.
Remove The Faucet Stem
Once you've got the handle removed, you will see a thin cylindrical stem—also sometimes referred to as the cartridge—protruding from the wall. Near the wall you should find that the stem passes into a wider, hexagonally shaped nut. This is known as the stem bonnet; it is part of the assembly that holds the stem in place. Use an adjustable wrench to grip the bonnet and turn it in a counterclockwise manner. This will allow you to remove the entire stem assembly.
Most bathtub handle leaks have to do with worn or damaged gaskets inside of the stem. While it is theoretically possible to disassemble the stem in order to gain access to these gaskets, the inexpensive nature of replacement stems makes this operation unnecessary. Instead, simply purchase a new stem—being sure to select one designed to work with your particular brand of faucet—and then install it by screwing it tightly into place. Once you've reattached the handle and opened up your water supply valves, you should be good to go.
For more information, contact a professional in your area or visit a website like http://www.newportnewsvaplumbers.com.