Shower Faucet Won't Shut Off

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  #1  
Old 05-09-03, 12:42 PM
Hopleaf
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Shower Faucet Won't Shut Off

I think there's a corroded washer behind the hot-water shower faucet handle. That's the only explanation I can come up with.

Here's what happened, maybe some of you might be able to shed better light on it. My wife turned the water on to fill the tub for our two-year-old's bath and when she went to turn it off both handles turned all the way, but the hot water kept flowing. So I took it all apart (after the bath...I rerouted the water up to the shower and turned the shower head off) and everything looks ok. So I did some reading and figured that since the plumbing is all very old and recently went a year or two without any regular use (before we bought the house), the only explanation can be a corroded washer.

Anyone else agree?

And, if anyone could offer an explanation of how to change one of these, or share any experiences, I'd be very grateful.
 
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Old 05-09-03, 06:34 PM
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Yes, you need a new washer... What did you mean when you said you took it all apart and everything looked okay? Anyway, just take the handle off, then unscrew any trim that covers the stem... Make sure the water is off to the house, then unscrew the stem... Sometimes they stick out far enough to use a pair of channel locks, but if not, you will need a set of stem sockets that you can buy for about 10 bucks... With the stem out, you can change the washer on the end of the stem by removing a screw and replacing the washer with a new one... While you have it out, it is a good time to grease the stem up with stem grease...
 
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Old 05-12-03, 06:38 AM
Hopleaf
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Washer, and now shutoff valve...the saga continues

Thanks Ragner.

What I meant by that was that I took the handle and trim off to see if there was any damage to the stem...and everything looked ok. Then after some research I figured it had to be the washer.

Now my issue has turned to the shutoff valve behind the shower. It's probably not been used in some time (perhaps about 3 years) and I cannot get it to turn. I'm afraid of putting too much pressure on it and breaking the handle. I tried spraying a little WD-40 on the valve's stem, but it still won't budge. Any tricks on getting these loosened up? I really need to finish this (luckily we have a second shower, so none of us stink!).

Thanks again.
 
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Old 05-12-03, 10:07 PM
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Cool

Shut-off valves tend to "freeze" in place once in a while.
Use a pair of channel-lock pliers to grip the handle for leverage and turn it steadily clockwise to close it.
Mike
 
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Old 05-13-03, 06:20 AM
Hopleaf
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Ok, first off all, I wanted to thank you for your responses and also mention how useful this site has been (and I'm sure will continue to be) for me.

I managed to get the shut off valve to turn with a little effort, some WD-40 and my channel locks. Actually, what helped was to gently rock back and forth.

Then I could get to work on the stem assembly. Your detailed piece on replacing a faucet washer was immensely helpful as was an old Time Life book my father-in-law gave me called How Things Work in Your Home ( 1975). I had to run to the hardware store for a socket wrench to get the bonnet nut off (the teen-aged kid there said they didn't have those as we were standing in front of a slew of them, luckily I knew what I was looking for). Then once I got the bonnet off, the whole assembly came out and sure enough, the washer was worn through, shaped like a horseshoe, the washer screw was off (had to fish both out with a long screwdriver).

The thing I noticed, which I'm not sure if I have to deal with eventually, is that the seat where the washer actually sits on the assembly was worn pretty bad. I straightened up the sides as best I could, then brushed the whole thing down with a steal brush, put the new washer in and re-taped the threads. Oh, and I also greased (using bicycle bearing grease which is water resistant) down the threads that open and close the stem valve.

Now, the hot water works better than the cold and the water pressure was noticably better. Since I have this new-found knowledge and experience, I plan to do the same for the cold water (heck, maybe all the faucet handles in the house!).

Again, thanks to all.
 
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Old 05-13-03, 07:02 PM
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It is very common for the hot washer to wear out far faster than the cold... Also, the seats can be unscrewed and replaced but I don't recommend it unless absolutely necessary... The handle on the shutoff behind was frozen in place as OldGuy said, and sometimes, you can loosen the packing nut under the handle all the way up even if it drips a little to get the handle working back and forth, and then you can snug it back up when you are done and turn the valve back on permanently....
 
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