Packing Nut-How tight?


Just replaced stems/seats/handles and trim on a price pfister verve, 3 handle tub faucet.
The cold seat was chipped and wouldn't stop dripping so I purchased a complete "update" kit for this faucet and the entire installation went very well.
I did notice upon installing the stems that the packing nuts were just about "hand tight", i.e. I could easily tighten them further with just my fingertips. This is how tight they were when I opened the "update kit".
I haven't noticed any dripping and the faucet seems to work perfectly, but I wonder should I put a crescent wrench on the the packing nuts just to make them mildly snug?
Hate to screw up a working project, but I'm really unsure as to exactly how tight these packing nuts should be. Currently they seem very loose but do not appear to leak.
Any expertise is appreciated.
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seagar wrote:

i would give them a quarter turn so they dont accidently loosen.....
more than that accomplishes nothing but stressing parts
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Just enough so it doesn't drip. You are compressing the packing around the valve stem.
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so if it's currently not dripping I should leave it alone?
what happens if with use the packing nut loosens? does the handle just drip? it won't flood water out of the stem? correct?
Sorry for these basic questions, (I'm a weekend plumber, hahaa)
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seagar wrote:

your better off tightening it just a little because its only finger tight. if a miss guided person opens the faucet fully and the packing nut is loose they MIGHT unscrew the entire stem and cause a flood.
Dont laugh a buddies kid did this, his wife freaked out and didnt have the brains or know where the main shut off was:(
It did a lot of damage all covered by homeowners, except NOW their homeowners has a exclusion and wouldnt cover DIY plumbing disaters in the future
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seagar wrote:

your better off tightening it just a little because its only finger tight. if a miss guided person opens the faucet fully and the packing nut is loose they MIGHT unscrew the entire stem and cause a flood.
Dont laugh a buddies kid did this, his wife freaked out and didnt have the brains or know where the main shut off was:(
It did a lot of damage all covered by homeowners, except NOW their homeowners has a exclusion and wouldnt cover DIY plumbing disaters in the future
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The stem of my powder room faucet has been leaking for years. It dribbles out under the faucet and runs down into the sink, only when the water is running. It's conceivable that your sink isn't arranged like mine is, but I think most sinks have a lip around the outside that funnels the water into the sink.
Maybe test against Hallers forecast problem by turning the faucet on all the way and see if that causes it to leak or causes the nut to loosen further or come off. I never turn mine on all the way because after the first 3/4 turn, turning more doesn't bring any more water, but maybe some people do.

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seagar wrote:

You don't want the nut to unscrew, but tight is just enough to stop leaking at the nut.
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George E. Cawthon wrote:

Once you tighten them down you can never go back. They will develop a "set" over time and possibly start to leak. It'd be better to tighten them when they actually do start leaking rather than now. To do otherwise may guarantee you'll have to replace the parts again rather than just get by with tightening. Make sense?
--
Mortimer Schnerd, RN
mschnerdatcarolina.rr.com
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Mortimer Schnerd, RN wrote:

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Thanks for all the informed responses.
I took the handles and decorative back plates off to review the situation.
With handles all the way in the ON position no leaks at all.
The packing nut on the cold could be tightened with my fingertips.
I placed a wrench on each packing nut and tightened 1/4 turn and gained some "resistance"
Still no leaks with faucets running.
Judging from the "available" length of remaining thread on the packing nut I have ample room for tightening the nut in the future should some leaking develop.
I feel more confident now that I won't get a phone call about the bathroom faucet flooding the house.
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They should absolutely never be loose enough that they can be turned with the fingers. Tighten with the fingers as far as possible and then give them a 1/4 turn more. And more important, do it periodically and repeatedly for the next 20 years.
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Agreed.
That would be another 5 turns if done once a year. Chances are it will bottom out and compress the packing. If it does not leak, don't touch it.
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