How to Fix a Leaky Bathtub Faucet: DIY Guide

A leaky bathtub faucet is annoying, and can waste a huge amount of water. In this guide, we explain how to fix a leaky bathtub faucet as easily as possible.
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Last updatedLast updated: September 06, 2021
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If you’ve noticed that your faucet is leaking it’s possible that it could be costing you money, or even damaging your home by leaking onto surfaces where you don’t want water to get to. Plus, it’s annoying. In this guide, we’ve explored how to fix a leaky bathtub faucet in detail so that you can work out the perfect way to get your faucet working again whether you want to know how to fix a leaky delta bathtub faucet or you’re using other brands of faucet.

The steps below will show you how to fix a single handle faucet Trusted Source All About: Single-Handle Faucets | Kitchn If you’ve already renovated a kitchen or are just beginning the process, you know how overwhelming the details can be. Our Fittings and Material Spotlights are quick guides to basic kitchen fixtures to familiarize you with terminology, pros and cons, and relevant reader reviews. We’ve covered sinks and countertops, and now we’re moving on to faucets. Curious about pot filler versus pull-out spray faucets? We’ll get there. www.thekitchn.com , and then a brief guide on how to approach things differently for a double handle faucet. They’re not hugely different processes but it is important to know what you are doing before you approach even basic plumbing tasks.

First, before we look into fixing your faucet, let’s look at some of the reasons why the faucet might leak.

Why your bathtub faucet may leak

Over the years of you using your bathtub, it is almost inevitable that something will eventually go wrong and cause some sort of leak Trusted Source What Are the Possible Causes of a Leaky Faucet? | Roto-Rooter A leaky faucet, if left unrepaired, can become a major problem. Find out what you can do to get fix that drip. www.rotorooter.com .

Mineral buildup is one of the top reasons. Over time, especially if you have ‘hard’ water in your home, you will begin to notice some minerals will collect in your plumbing, including in the pipes or the faucet itself. This can cause dripping and leaks.

Aging parts are an issue too, of course. The O-Rings can start to wear down and this can make the connection weak. The ring isn’t in place to stop water from leaking out. Loose connections are a leading culprit.

Poor fitting handles are another potential issue. The handles of the bathtub can loosen and even the nuts that keep everything in place can get damaged.

How to fix a single handle bathtub faucet

Below, we explain the tips for how to fix a leaky single handle bathtub faucet. Whether you have an acrylic tub or a cast iron model, the steps are exactly the same. You will need some basic tools including an adjustable wrench, screwdriver, and a knife such as a craft knife.

Step 1. Shut off the water

How to Fix a Leaky Bathtub Faucet: DIY Guide

There might be a simple lever near the tub to do this, but this isn’t as likely for some bathtubs such as a freestanding tub. This means you might need to shut the water for the whole house off.

Step 2. Remove the faucet cap

How to Fix a Leaky Bathtub Faucet: DIY Guide

A screwdriver or a pocket knife will let you lever off the cap on top of the faucet handle screw. Then you need to open the faucet all the way as this will drain any leftover water that is still in the mechanism. You’ll need the cap again later, don’t forget.

Step 3. Unscrew and remove the handle

How to Fix a Leaky Bathtub Faucet: DIY Guide

This isn’t always an easy thing to do because old faucets are sometimes broken or corroded. Using your specific tools for removing the faucet, you can try to remove the handle altogether, but if it doesn’t work then you can use a hairdryer as this might help to warm up the faucet and make it more flexible.

If it still doesn’t shift, it could be time to invest in more specific tools. You shouldn’t force it as this is when it can break.

Step 4. Remove the escutcheon and stem assembly

How to Fix a Leaky Bathtub Faucet: DIY Guide

Get the escutcheon off the wall. This is the plate covering the whole where water comes out, and the faucets can vary hugely, some of these can twist or pull off while others need you to use you tools to unscrew it.

The stem assembly is next. You’ll see this after you remove the escutcheon and this means that you can get the stem assembly out using the adjustable wrench tool.

Step 5. Check (and possibly replace) the washer

How to Fix a Leaky Bathtub Faucet: DIY Guide

The washer is often what is causing the leak. If you see it’s gone too hard or warped out of shape, it could be letting water drip. If this is the case, change it. it’s easy to get spare washers for your faucet online or at the hardware store, just make sure you get the right size. There’s no single standard for this, whether you have a cast iron tub or an acrylic model you’ll find that they take different washers. A multipack can be a good solution.

Step 6. Check the seat

How to Fix a Leaky Bathtub Faucet: DIY Guide

The seat is where the washer sits and if the washer has worn away this can also be damaged. It could just be corroded, as over time it can rust.

The seat can cause leaking even if you replace the washer, so make sure you’ve checked for any damage. if it appears rusty, warped, or damaged, it could be time to replace the seat, which is much better than replacing the whole bath. In some cases you will need to buy a specific seat wrench to get this off the faucet.

Step 7. Reconstruct the faucet

How to Fix a Leaky Bathtub Faucet: DIY Guide

Reverse your steps now to get the faucet back in good condition and put it back together in the correct order. If you’ve got the culprit and worked out what is causing the leak in the first place then there is every chance that your bathtub will be back in working order with no leaks, and you can resume the water supply. If not, there could be a more sinister issue that you may need a plumber to help with. This is always a possibility.

How to fix a double handle bathtub faucet

If you are looking into how to fix a leaky bathtub faucet double handle the process is identical. The one real difference between the two is the mechanism to control the flow of water and the flow of both hot and cold water, so you can use the exact same techniques that were used on the single-tub faucet to fix the leak and get things working perfectly again. Remember that as you take things apart it is vital to remember the exact order they went in so that you can put them back together correctly without causing further damage.

Final thoughts

A leaky faucet can definitely be one of the most annoying issues in your bathroom and it is one that you should try and fix before it gets worse. Fortunately, this isn’t something that you will always have to call a plumber for. In fact, you can fix the problem yourself following our guide on how to fix a leaky bathtub faucet. Even if you aren’t particularly confident with DIY, it doesn’t take much to get to grips with the steps needed for this repair. All the tools and spare parts you may need are available online. More often than not, you’ll find a tiny bit of rust or a worn-out washer is causing the leak, and a few minutes can be all it takes to perform this fix and get your bathtub back to working order.

References

1.
All About: Single-Handle Faucets | Kitchn
If you’ve already renovated a kitchen or are just beginning the process, you know how overwhelming the details can be. Our Fittings and Material Spotlights are quick guides to basic kitchen fixtures to familiarize you with terminology, pros and cons, and relevant reader reviews. We’ve covered sinks and countertops, and now we’re moving on to faucets. Curious about pot filler versus pull-out spray faucets? We’ll get there.
2.
What Are the Possible Causes of a Leaky Faucet? | Roto-Rooter
A leaky faucet, if left unrepaired, can become a major problem. Find out what you can do to get fix that drip.
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