We've got a bathtub with a compression faucet (two handles). It started
to leak a few months ago so we took it apart and replaced the washer.
First time doing it; a bit of an experience, but anyway, we got it to
Every once in a while it would start again, just a bit, and then stop.
Once I noticed the HANDLE for the hot water leaking, and then that
stopped. Made me wonder if it was somehow related, but with something
intermittent, who can tell? Anyway, the cold dripping got worse after
just about 6 months - got really bad so finally I went in and replaced
the washer again. I saw that the previous washer had been squished all
to hell and was falling apart. It has stopped dripping now; it's been a
few days, but I'm really noticing just HOW TIGHT I have to turn it to
shut the water off. One in our household doesn't even have enough hand
strength to tighten it that much.
Looking at the handles for the hot and the cold, I see there's about a
1/4" of space between the base of the handle and the wall on the hot
(when fully closed) and with the cold, it is almost flush.
So I'm wondering what the problem really is - the current washer isn't
going to last very long being super-tightened - why is it that it has
to go so "deep" to shut it off?
Incidentially, we had a few hours of dribbling of warm water from the
hot handle a few days ago and then it stopped - I have no idea what
that is, but I have this idea that some extra pressure when things are
closed up is leaking out and that's the weakest link - how cold water
could cause hot water to leak is beyond me.
I'm describing a lot here; I think my primary question is why do I have
to tighten the cold faucet so much to get it to close?
Thanks for any help,
It sounds like the seat (the part the washer closes on) is not in good
shape and needs to be replaced or resurfaced. I suggest you get new washers
at the same time because the current ones are likely already toast.
Doesn't look like it's removable - at least we couldn't get a faucet
seat wrench in there - it looks pretty round - not sure if there is
something deeper inside that a wrench would click with - but we got a
wrench with 3-square and 3-hex options and none went through. So we got
a dressing tool and gave that a shot.
I think it may be time to call a plumber, we've been messing with this
for months now, to no avail.
We did call a plumber, in fact. The seat was removable but it was
completely stripped and he had a hard time getting it out. He used some
tool that was a tapered threaded stick - perhaps it was reverse
threaded; I don't know ("if you want to watch, it'll cost extra; if you
want to help, it'll cost even more"). He showed me that it was badly
corroded and had a notch out of it that would never make the seal.
There was no way I could have removed it myself; definitely worth it to
have someone with the tools and the expertise come and do it. In fact,
he replaced all three stems and seats, for $187. They were all pretty
messed up; it was amazing that the hot hadn't begun to leak yet.
It was a great learning experience for us (thanks to help from
resources like this group and the kind and encouraging people here and
elsewhwere); glad to have things back up to speed beyond what we could
do. Part of it is the tools, mostly it's the experience.
I guess our water has a lot of calcium in it and the deposits can
really play havoc with the fixtures.
Another thing I learned - the sleeves that come out of the wall are
removable (who knew?!) but it took a lot of wrenching with a big-ass
wrench for the plumber to actually get 'em out. I would have assumed
they were part of the permanent install and wouldn't even have tried,
but it's certainly easier working with the stems etc when you can get
right in there!
I don't know why as you asked. I had a leakier as well. Did much
damage behind the wall. I spent the bucks and put in a new "lifetime
guaranteed" single handled faucet. Along with new tub, tiles, etc.
I wonder if the problem is really totally with the valve or if he has an
overpressure situation when the water heater comes on. Possibly needs an
expansion tank. Or if he has a pressure dropping valve on entrance that is
This was covered in Episode 39 of the 3 Stooges. Curly discovered that
all the pipes in the basement were full of wires. As he so aptly told
Moe: 'Hey, Moe! these pipes is full of wires'. So they took out the
wire, and reconnected the pipes to the water line... and when the chef
turned on the light switch.... water came out of the light fixture...
and ... get this... the stove too!!!!!!
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