Leaky Tub Spout - Stem Valves are fine...


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Old 04-09-08, 04:39 PM
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Leaky Tub Spout - Stem Valves are fine...

This is my first time posting but, as a first-time homeowner, I have already greatly benefited from this forum. Thanks in advance for any thoughts on this problem.

So about a month ago we started to notice a slight drip in our bathtub spout. We have a 3-handle (hot,cold,diverter) tub/shower combo in a 30-yr old bathroom. Today I took out the stem valves and cleaned them up. The washers were in good shape and there was only slight corrosion. What is more puzzling is that the water continued to drip after i took out the stem valves. It was coming out of the pipe behind the valves (on both sides) even though the main water valve for the house was shut off. This worried me so I'm thinking of calling a plumber.

Any thoughts? I have read something about a piece in the pipe called the 'seat' but i'm not sure why it would still drip with the water off. Also, the way our strange house is set up, the drain access closet is under our kitchen cabinets and i dont have access to a shut-off valve for the tub.

i appreciate any advice on what else to check out...
 
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Old 04-09-08, 05:02 PM
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It is fairly common to not have individual shut-off valves for a bath tub.

The "seat" is the part of the valve that the "disc" (washer) closes against. Sometimes the seat is worn or has a cut in it so that the disc cannot make a good seal. Some seats are replaceable and some are not. Replaceable seats often require a special tool for removal and replacement. For the non-replaceable kind they make a tool for "refacing" the seat. Neither of these tools is very expensive, probably less than ten dollars each.

It is quite possible that your main shut-off is leaking slightly and that was why you still had dripping when you removed the valve stems. OR, it could be that you have piping on a higher level then these open valves and it was dripping back. The only sure way to tell is leave the stems out and the main shut-off closed for an extended time.
 
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Old 04-09-08, 05:20 PM
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Thanks. Couple of follow-up questions:

1 - if the main shut-off has a leak would the white-arrow indicator on the meter spin? not sure since it was such a small amount. if there is a leak, would u pursue the problem or just leave it be?

2 - as for the seat...how do i know which kind I have and which remover tool to purchase?

the drip that comes when the valves are removed drips behind the wall so i dont want to leave them off long enough to see if it stops. too scared of moisture damage...
 
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Old 04-09-08, 05:36 PM
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Yes, the little "tattletale" indicator on the water meter will continue to move if there is a leak.

All leaks are bad. Depending on how much it leaks and where it is leaking are the determining factors in deciding when to fix the leak. If it is the main shut-off and every other valve in the house is tight then it is not an imminent problem but should be fixed as time and budget allow.

If you have a wet-or-dry vacuum you can try to suck the drip for a period of time. This would keep it from leaking into the wall cavity. It should definitely stop dripping within 30 minutes. If the water meter tattletale is moving with the main shut-off closed then it is a sure sign that the main valve is leaking.


For the seat you need to look in the valve body using a flashlight. You may be able to see if the seat is damaged. If the seat has a round hole in the center it is not removable.

Removable seats will have either a square or hexagon hole. If it is a hexagon hole an Allen wrench will fit (it may be a metric size if it is a faucet of foreign manufacture) and if it has a square hole then you need a square, tapered "seat wrench".
 
 

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