Leaking Stem


Old 01-25-04, 02:10 PM
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Question Leaking Stem

We have a second story bath that is leaking (behind the wall, since the water is leaking through the bottom ceiling), but only when the faucet is turned on. Once it is turned off, the leak stops. Could this be a leaking stem? If not, what could it be and how do we fix it.
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Old 01-25-04, 02:45 PM
Dave_D1945's Avatar
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It's very likely that the stem is leaking. They are repairable with the right tools. Your local hardware store should have them. They look like deep sockets and they allow you to remove the valve packing nut as well as the valve stem without ripping out the wall. You'll have to do some checking since there are several different sizes and you need to find the sizes for your valves.

You need to;

1. Shut off the water to the house and take the valve handle and trim piece off.

2. Use the socket to loosen the valve packing nut

3. Use another socket to remove the valve stem from the valve body and bring it out of the wall.

4. At this point, you can either get repair parts (new packing) or get a replacement valve stem with packing and packing nut. Another trip to the hardware store here. :-)

5. Reassemble everything and you're back in business. When you put the valve stem back into the valve body, have the valve slightly open so you don't grind the valve disk into the valve seat. When the valve stem is reinstalled, tighten the packing nut just enough to keep water from leaking, but not so tight the valve is hard to open/close.

I usually just replace the valve stem rather than try to repack it. I also do both valves while I'm at it.

Have fun.
Old 01-25-04, 04:01 PM
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If the walls are tile with bad grout lines, or the trim is not sealed with caulking, of the tub overflow gasket is worn, or the shower arm is loose in the wall, or the tub drain is not sealed good anymore, this all can cause a leak in the wall.
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