A leaking bathtub faucet, while seemingly harmless, can be a sign of a much larger plumbing issue. A faucet leak can waste up to 90 gallons of water per day, in addition to causing a considerable increase in your water bill.
Below, we’re breaking down some of the most common causes for a leaking bathtub faucet – and how to fix it.
Causes of Leaking Bathtub Faucets
The most common causes of leaky bathtub faucets include:
Worn Out Washer
A worn out washer is one of the most common causes of a leaking bathtub faucet. Located inside of the faucet handle, the rubber washer creates a watertight seal. Over time, this washer can deteriorate, causing a steady drip.
High Water Pressure
When water flows through pipes at an excessive pressure, it puts a great amount of stress on plumbing components – including the bathtub faucet. High water pressure can lead to leaks in parts of the faucet, including the handle and spout, along with many other issues within your plumbing system! Installing a pressure regulator can help prevent leaks caused by high water pressure.
Oftentimes, a leaking bathtub faucet is the result of an improper installation. If faucet components aren’t properly assembled or tightened, leaks are often inevitable. Bottom line: Don’t try to cut corners by installing a faucet yourself. It could cost you more in the long run!
Hard Water Buildup
Hard water contains a high concentration of minerals – calcium and magnesium – that can accumulate and create obstructions within the plumbing system. Over time, these blockages can impact the functioning of the faucet components, ultimately leading to leaks.
Corroded Valve Seat
The valve seat on your bathtub faucet creates a seal between the faucet and the spout, ensuring a water-tight closure when the faucet is off. Over time, the valve seat can become corroded due to mineral deposits or water impurities, leading to leaks around the spout area.
How to Fix a Leaking Bathtub Faucet
If your leaky bathtub faucet is due to worn out faucet components, you can try replacing those components to remedy the leak, using the steps below:
1. Grab the Following Supplies:
- Adjustable wrench
- Replacement components
- Common components in need of replacing include washers, O-ring,s and cartridges
- Plumber’s tape
- A towel for any spills
2. Shut Off the Water
Turn off the water at the shut-off valve near the bathtub or at the main water supply.
3. Remove Faucet Handle
Remove with a screwdriver or wrench, depending on faucet type. The screw is located under the decorative faucet cover or cap.
4. Replace any Worn Components
Check the washers, O-rings, and cartridges for signs of wear and tear, and replace any worn components with new ones. It’s helpful to compare with your new replacement parts – this will make any cracks or damage more apparent.
5. Create a Water-Tight Seal
Wrap plumber’s tape around the connections to ensure a tight seal, preventing any additional leaks.
6. Reassemble the Faucet
Securely put the faucet handle back in place, ensuring it’s in alignment and that screws are properly tightened.
7. Turn On Water Supply
Slowly turn on the main water supply. If you see any immediate drips or leaks, quickly turn the water supply off and recheck your connections (or better yet, call a plumber!)
8. Test Your New Faucet Connections
Slowly turn the faucet on to be sure it’s working properly. Turn off and wait a few moments to ensure any leaks or drips are gone.
If you’re unsure of the cause of the leaky faucet, or want to ensure it’s remedied with the utmost precision and care, we highly recommend contacting an expert plumbing professional. And if you are in Northern Virginia, we certainly hope it is us!
Faucet Repair in Northern Virginia
Need help repairing a faucet, or installing a new one? Our highly trained experts at Kiddco Plumbing have decades of experience installing and repairing faucets. For 24/7 service for faucets, or any Northern Virginia emergency plumbing needs, call us at 703-435-4441.