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How to Fix a Dripping Bathtub Faucet

Bathtub Faucet dripping

The reason you fix bathtub faucets is that leaky faucets run up your water bill. They need to be fixed as soon as possible or you can be spending far too much money on your next water bill. That is the main reason why you do not let these dripping faucets.

Another reason is that the consistent drips will drive you nuts after a while. To keep your sanity, you need to stop those drips as soon as possible. To learn how to do this repair, just keep reading our article.

It has the information you need to know about in order to get the job done right.

How to Fix a Dripping Bathtub Faucet

Fixing bathtub faucets are not the same as fixing the faucet on your kitchen, bathroom sinks or the outdoor faucet. There is a little more work involved and you need a few extra tools to do the job right.

Step 1- Gather Your Tools

Variety of wrenches on a white background

You will need a monkey wrench, Teflon tape, a Phillips & a flat head screwdriver, rag, plumber’s grease, and a bathtub socket wrench. You will need new seat stems and seats to replace the old ones.

Step 2 – Turn Off the Water

Most likely your bathroom does not have a separate water supply turn off. This means you have to turn off the water for the whole house while you do your work. Make sure to remind everyone in the house that the water will be turned off for a while and they should make other arrangements.

Step 3 – Remove the Water Handles

Old T-shaped cold water tap

If your bathtub has one handle for cold and one for hot, you will need to use your flat head screwdriver to pry off the center seal on each handle. Then use the Phillips head screwdriver and remove the screws holding the handles in place.

Once the screws are off, you simply pull the handles towards you and they should slip off easily.

Step 4 – Remove the Trim

This should come off easily and it needs to be pulled off so that you can get to the problem causing the dripping. The flat head screwdriver will help you with this task. Just be gentle and do not use a lot of force. The trim is like the handles, fragile.

Step 5 – Remove the Seat Holder

Person repairing a wall mounted tub / shower faucet

These two items are what control the water flow. When the seat wears out, it does not seal very well, and water can slip by causing the drip. You need to use the bathtub socket wrench to remove both items.

It may be that only one seat has gone bad, but you need to check both just in case. Replacing both at the same time will be the best move regardless if both need to be fixed or not. If you do not have one of these wrenches a pair of vise grips will work as well.

Step 6 – Remove the Seat

The bathtub socket should have the seat wrench built in. You just turn it to the appropriate end and insert it into the seat. Turn the wrench counterclockwise until the seat is loose. Then use your fingers to go the rest of the way.

Step 7 – Replace the Seat

Person fixing a faucet surrounded by greenery

Once the old seat is out, take the new one out of the package and insert it into the old seat’s place. You can hand tighten or use the wrench to tighten it up. You do not need to over tighten. It is possible to replace just the washers and that will save you some money.

Or you can just replace the whole seat and stem with new washers. The choice is up to you.

Step 8 – Replacing the Seat Stem and Other Parts

Just replace the old stem if it is needed and reverse the process you used to take the old one out. After that is done, replace the trim, the handles and the screws. Once that is done, you are done.

Step 9 – Turn the Water Back On

Faucet running water into a rub

Do not forget this important step as your family members will be anxiously waiting for the water to return. Once that is done you can relax. Clean up your tools and put them away until next time. Don’t forget to add Teflon tape to the threads of the stem.

Some Final Words

Fixing the drip in your bathtub faucet only takes time. It is a straightforward repair and you just need to know the name of the parts and where they go. The bathtub socket is a speciality tool so you may not normally have one in your toolbox.

But they are not that expensive to buy if you do not have one. Take your time so that the job gets done right and the only parts you have left over are the ones you replaced.

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