Repairing a Bathtub Faucet Handle

What You'll Need

When you experience dripping from a bathtub faucet handle you need to fix immediately to prevent accumulation of moisture in your bathroom that could lead to mold and mildew. Luckily, it’s not a big job. Knowing how to repair a bathtub faucet handle is knowledge everyone should have. You don’t need to call out a plumber for the job. With just a few minutes and some simple tools you can do it all yourself.

Step 1 - Water

If you’re going to repair the bathtub faucet handle, first you need to make sure that there’s no water going through the pipes. To do this, turn off the water at the house mains. After this, open up the faucet and allow the water to run until not more water comes through.

Step 2 - Faucet

The bathtub faucet handle will have a decorative cover. You’ll need to remove this in order to make a repair. Slip the tip of a screwdriver under the cover and pry it off gently. Be careful not to damage it. Set it aside outside the tub.

Step 3 - Packing Nut

Under the cap is the valve stem. It’s held in place by a packing nut. You’ll need to remove this in order to get to the washer. Use pliers for this. As a precaution you can put masking tape around each of the jaws of the pliers. It will give a better grip and prevent you damaging the packing nut.

Grasp the packing nut between the jaws of the pliers and turn in a counter-clockwise direction until it comes off. Set the packing nut aside with the cover. Make sure this is outside the tub so it doesn’t accidentally disappear down the drain.

Step 4 - Valve Stem

To repair the bathtub faucet handle you’ll have to remove the valve stem. Hold it with the pliers and ease it out of the faucet. Go gently with this movement so you don’t damage the stem.

Step 5 - Washer

Once you have the valve stem in your hand, you’ll see a washer at the bottom. It will be held in place by a screw. Loosen and remove the screw and take off the washer. Look through the new washers you have and select one that’s the same size. Hold the washers next to each other to check the size, as it’s important. Put the new washer on the stem and screw it in place. Don’t overtighten the screw.

Step 6 - Reassembly

Put the valve stem back in the faucet. Make sure it’s seated properly. Move it around to check on this. Now tighten the packing nut at the top of the valve stem. Again, don’t overtighten it. With this done you can put the cover back in place.

Turn on the water at the mains and then run the faucet until water comes through. Turn off the faucet and wait to see if there are any drips. If there aren’t, you’ve repaired the bathroom faucet handle. If not, you should repeat the steps and try another washer on the valve stem.