How to Replace the Valve Stem in Bathroom Faucets

What You'll Need
Replacement Valve Stem
Needle nosed pliers

Faucets get used every single day, but people rarely think about them unless there's a problem. There are a number of things that you will need to do to maintain your faucets and keep them in good working order. Most people just turn on the tap and don't think about what's actually happening.

A leaky tap can be a major cause of frustration. A badly worn faucet stem can be a reason for a continually dripping tap. It is possible to simply replace the entire faucet, but with the right tools you can replace the valve stem and repair your existing tap. Taking the time to do this should make it much easier and more affordable to repair your tap.

Step 1 - Turning off the Water

Turn off the water supply to your taps. If you fail to do this, you're not going to be able to complete the project without causing serious damage to your home. You will find this easier if you turn off the main water supply. You might find the main shut off valve in the street, in your utility room, in the basement or under the floorboards. You should be able to find out where the shut off valve is with a bit of investigation.

Also shut off the hot water valve, which should be located at the top of the water heater. When working with water, make sure that any electrical appliances are moved away from the immediate vicinity.

Step 2 - Removing the Cap

Remove the cap from the faucet by levering it off with a very thin screwdriver. Simply slide this between the cap and the tap to remove it. Under the cap there will then be a Phillips head screw which needs to be removed. Remove the handle gently so that you don't cause any damage to your faucet.

Step 3 - Removing the Stem

Use the wrench to remove the packing nut inside the faucet. Lift out the stem assembly using needle nosed pliers. This can then be replaced if necessary.

Step 4 - Filing the Valve

File the damaged wall where the washer makes contact with the inside of the faucet. The damaged wall can be replaced using another material. Secure everything in place so that it doesn't move.

Step 5 - Replacing the Washer

Replace the washer inside the valve using the brass screw supplied. Check the condition of the valve seat and make sure that there's no damage to it. Replace the valve seat if required and then use jointing compound to seal everything together.

Step 6 - Testing

Switch on the water supply again and check for any leaks. Also turn on the hot water heater. Let the faucet run for a few minutes to check the system and also to ensure that there aren't any leaks.