My bathroom faucet has a drip and I traced it to the hot water handle.
Unfortunately, I can't seem to unscrew it because the Philips screw is
Any suggestions as to how to take off the handle? It's one of those
handles where the screw is in the middle of an indented circle.
If I do get it off, what's the procedure for stopping the drip?
When I shut the hot water valve under the sink, I notice that the drip
moves to the valve.
On May 10, 10:26 am, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I'm no pro, so all advice is worth what you're paying.
When I need to get out a stripped phillips screw, I take a dremel with
a cutting disk to it and notch the head across. I then use a flat
head screwdriver in the notch to get the screw out and replace it.
The drip seems strange, where it moves to the valve when you turn the
valve off. I'll let someone with more knowledge take that one.
Don't you mean an "Easy to snap off" tool, Ed? <G>
Chances are the screw is corroded tightly in place and the OP may be the
one who buggered the Phillips head recess trying to back it out.
You probably have more faith than me, Ed. I think his chances of
successfully removingthat screwt with an easy out are two, slim and
none. And Slim rode out of town yesterday.
If none of those work, you can always remove the screw head with a
suitably-sized twist drill. That will allow you to pull the handle off
the faucet. With luck, there will be enough of the screw still sticking
out of the faucet shaft that you can grab it with vise grips and unscrew
If the screw is too badly seized to remove with vise grips, you can
sometimes drill it out entirely using a drill diameter that's about
equal to the root diameter of the screw thread. You'll need to mark the
centre of the screw accurately, and drill straight. When done well, you
end up with nothing left of the screw but a little spiral of thread, and
little or no damage to the female thread in the faucet shaft. You can
pick out the remainder of the screw with small pliers, clean the thread
with a tap of the appropriate size and pitch, and you're ready to
reassemble using a new screw. (Use brass or stainless so it doesn't
corrode next time).
On Thu, 10 May 2007 20:22:34 +0000 (UTC), email@example.com (Dave
I've never really had a faucet handle screw too be so difficult; that
I need big tools. This did remind me I have needle nosed vise grips I
forgot about. Now I won't slip and pinch myself with a standard set
..through the use of electrical or duct tape, achieve the configuration in the
replying to Dave Martindale, Philip Hsu wrote:
Hi Dave, this is Philip fr Mississauga,Ont, I quite agree with your method of
removing a screw fr a faucet handle,I have the same problem myself, so people,
if u have same issue use a grinding disc or drill the screw out with a bit, good
Usually, when someone says a screw is stripped they mean the threads are
stripped, so you can turn the screw with a screwdriver without it
backing out (or tightening).
Is that what you're trying to say?
Or is it the Phillips head recess which is buggered up so a screwdriver
can't engage it?
If it's the former, then you can probably have a helper pull up one the
faucet handle while trying to rock it while you turn the screw
If it's the head which is fouled up, then try Dan's suggestion. If you
don't have a Dremel type tool or if the recess in the handle is too deep
to get a cutting wheel into, then try carefully drilling down into the
screw head's Phillip's recess just until the head disappears. That
should enable you to pull the handle off, and if you're lucky there will
still be enough of the screw protruding from the faucet stem to let you
remove it with pliers. If not, new stems don't cost all that much.
Re the dripping from the shutoff valve: Chances are its stem packing is
dried up and the drip you are experiencing is just the water standing in
the upfeed tubing and faucet slowly leaking out around the stem. If you
get more than a few ounces of drip and it doesn't eventually stop, then
the shutoff valve's washer is probably shot.
Both the packing and the washer don't take the skills of a rocket
surgeon to replace. Someone who knows how can show you in just "a matter
of a moment."
Hve you ever successfully extracted a BRASS #8 screw with one of those?
I can't say that I ever have.
Drilling the required 1/16" diameter hole down the center of that size
screw with a hand held drill is more than I'd ever try and pull off. <G>
On Thu, 10 May 2007 09:26:07 -0500, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
If you're going to drill out the screw, buy some left-handed drill
bits from Harbor Freight (the only place that has cheap ones, last I
looked) and use a reversible drill to drill in reverse. Use a bit
that is clearly smaller than the screw shaft so as not to damage the
stem. Often the screw will come out some time during the drilling,
because you're drillling counter-clockwise, just like unscrewing is.
If that doesn't happen, you can go back with a bigger drill until you
have one that takes the head off.
Something about the packing around the stem. With some faucets you
don't even have to remove the handle to get to the pakcing nut, and I
think the first thing to try is tightening the packing nut, the nut
that surrounds the stem. In a bathroom they try to make it prettyy so
you probably have to remove the handle.
You mean that when you turn off the valve under the sink, it leakes
there instead. That means you have two leaks.
But many undersink type valves don't leak when they are all the way
open or all the way closed, and leak in the middle. Maybe you haven't
tightend the valve closed enough. But for a short time you might be
able to catch the drip with a pan.
In many/most/all vanities, the bottom is made out of particle board,
so if it gets wet it will fall apart. I've ended up cutting a piece of
thin plywood or something to fit under 3 of my 4 sinks. Not so hard
and should last forever. I have the sawdust from the powder room
vanity in a little bowl on the counter, like pot pourri, but it has no
If it gets to the point that you need to buy screw extractors or try
to drill out the screw, the easiest solution may be a new faucet.
They aren't all that expensive, and you have the benefit of a nice new
faucet, which is worth something, as I'll bet the existing one isn't
exatly in primo condition.
On May 10, 9:26 am, email@example.com wrote:
Assuming as someone else already addressed, that the head is in bad
shape not the threads (unlikely to strip threads in that spot, far
more likely corroded) couple of things to try.
First, soak the threads for a while in vinegar of CLR or one of the
other lime removers -- has a chance to help on some of the corrosion.
Then, the Kroil or similar penetrating oil just might do a little good
if can clean it up first so it has a chance to get somewhere near the
Then, before buggering up the head any further, get a properly sized
(probably #1, maybe #0) screwdriver bit and put it in a reversible
hammer-drill and if there's any head at all left, chances are pretty
good the impact plus torque will back it out...
If that fails, then the more extreme remedies come into play but I'd
not try them until the above technique fails.
Before doing anything that might damage more than just the stripped screw
have you tried tapping a properly sized phillips screwdriver into the screw
head using a few moderate blows with a hammer? This has never failed me
when trying to rejuvinate the screw head (at least to the point where the
screw can be removed).
Thanks to all for their advice. I'm going to try the above today.
It's not the treads of the screw that's stripped, but the head. It's an
old faucet and the handles haven't been taken off in years.
There's been a constant drip for several weeks now. If I turn off the hot
water valve under the sink, the drip from the faucet stops, but then
continues from the valve.
On May 11, 12:02 pm, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
As someone else already noted, the other drip is unrelated (of course,
I'm assuming you already knew that). The cutoff valve is closing so
you don't have water pressure at the tap so that leak stops.
Meanwhile, owing to age and infrequent usage, the packing around the
stem of the other valve has deteriorated so that it now leaks a little
around the stem when not in the fully open position. Quite common.
As a first try, take a wrench and see if the packing nut at the base
of the stem will tighten just a little without applying a whole lot of
force. If so, may have enough additional compression to stop the
drip. If not, to fix it means turning off the water to the house or,
if it's a hot water line instead of cold, at the outlet of the water
heater, and removing the packing nut and seeing whether it's a washer
or packing type. May be able to find new washer, if not, a little
added packing around the stem will solve the problem in all
As for getting your screw out, the idea of using a screwdriver and
hammer to retool the head slots isn't bad, but to have much chance at
breaking the screw loose and not simply rounding them over again I
still strongly recommend finding a friend w/ a cordless hammer drill
to apply the vibration. Highly unlikely will be able to get enough
torque simply w/ the handheld screwdriver w/o stripping out the head
even further imo.
There is, of course, the hammer-actuated handheld variety available
that are sometimes successful. They have the advantage of also
applying the torque while the hammer blow holds the bit firmly in the
head reducing the chances for riding "up and over" as they're wont to
do when trying by hand....
Impact driver... ( $25 - $50 )
Can't remember the last time I needed it. :-))
..through the use of electrical or duct tape, achieve the configuration in the
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