How to Fix a Leaky Bathtub Faucet?

In this blog post, you’ll read:A bathtub faucet is a plumbing fixture that controls water flow into a bathtub. It includes a spout for the water to flow out of and a handle or handles to control the water temperature and flow rate. Bathtub faucets can come in a variety of styles.

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A bathtub faucet is a plumbing fixture that controls water flow into a bathtub. It includes a spout for the water to flow out of and a handle or handles to control the water temperature and flow rate. Bathtub faucets can come in a variety of styles. It includes wall-mounted, deck-mounted, or freestanding. They can also have different mechanisms for controlling water flow, such as a cartridge or a compression valve. Maintaining a bathtub faucet is vital to stop leaks and ensure it operates correctly. A leaky bathtub faucet is not only annoying but also a massive loss of water. A bathtub faucet that drips every 3 seconds will waste around 700 gallons of water annually. The good thing is that you may learn how to repair a leaky bath faucet even if you lack plumbing knowledge.

Before You Begin

Bathtub faucets have two types. These are one handle or two. Only a few parts need to replace instead of the whole faucet assembly.

Bathtub Faucet with Two Handles

Bathtub Faucet with Two Handles

When the faucet is closed, a rubber washer on the back of the stem assembly presses against a metal faucet seat. If there is a leak, the rubber washer is probably broken, corroded, or tight. The washer can no longer keep the water inside if these things occur. Most leaks can be fixed by replacing the rubber washer.

What causes a leaky bathtub faucet?

A leaky bathtub faucet can have various causes, but the most common ones are:

  1. Worn-out washers: The most common cause of a leaky bathtub faucet is worn-out washers. Over time, the rubber washers that form a seal between the faucet and the valve seat can become damaged or worn out, causing water to leak.
leaky bathtub faucet
  • Corroded valve seat: The valve seat is part of the faucet that connects to the spout. If the valve seat becomes corroded or damaged, water can leak through the faucet even when closed.
  • Loose or worn-out O-rings are small rubber rings that seal the faucet handle to the faucet’s body. Water can leak through the handle if they become loose or worn out.
  • Faulty cartridge: Some modern bathtub faucets have a cartridge instead of a washer. Water can leak through the faucet if the cartridge is damaged or worn out.
  • High water pressure: If the water pressure in your home is too high, it can cause the faucet to leak. High water pressure can put excess stress on the faucet, causing it to leak.
Inspect valve seat

Tools required to fix the leaking two-handle bathtub faucet.

Here are some tools you may need to fix a leaking two-handle bathtub faucet:

Adjustable wrench or pliers: These tools can remove the nuts and bolts holding the faucet handles.

  • Screwdriver:

You may need a flathead or Phillips head screwdriver to remove the screws that hold the faucet handles or cover plates in place.

  • Allen wrench:

Some faucet handles may need an Allen wrench to remove.

  • Replacement parts:

Depending on the cause of the leak, you may need to replace components such as O-rings, washers, or cartridges. Ensure the correct replacement parts are on hand before starting the repair.

  • Plumbers’ tape:

This can be used to seal any connections or threads to prevent leaks.

  • Penetrating oil:

If the faucet handles are difficult to remove, applying penetrating oil can help loosen them.

  • Bucket or bowl:

Use a bucket or bowl to catch any water that may spill during the repair process.


The tools required may vary depending on the specific make and model of the faucet. So it’s a good idea to consult the manufacturer’s instructions or a plumbing professional if you’re unsure what tools to use.

How to fix a leaky bathtub faucet with two handles?

Fixing a leaky bathtub faucet with two handles involves replacing the worn-out washers or O-rings inside the handles. Here are the steps to fix a leaky bathtub faucet with two handles:

Identify the Leaking Faucet

Feel the leakage of water with your hand. The leak will be isolated with the warm faucet if the water is warm or hot. Yet, the leak on the right side of the water is cold. Moreover, if the leak is slow, you cannot distinguish the difference between a cold and a hot leak. So you need to fix both faucets.

Turn off the water supply:

Locate the water shut-off valve for your bathtub and turn off the water supply.

Remove the Cap on the Handle:

Remove the Cap on the Handle

Apply the small butter knife or flathead screwdriver to pry off the metal or plastic cap that covers the handle screw of the faucet. Lay the cap aside.

Remove the handles:

Remove the handles

Apply a screwdriver to remove the screws holding the handles. Once the screws are removed, you can lift the handles off the faucet.

Remove the Escutcheon:

Remove the escutcheon. It’s possible to do this manually by unscrewing or pulling the escutcheon. It’s also possible that a set screw on the escutcheon’s side will need to be removed using a Phillips head screwdriver.

Remove the stem assemblies:

Remove the stem assemblies

Use pliers or a wrench to remove the stem assemblies from the faucet. These will likely be threaded into the faucet body.

Replace the washers or O-rings: Once you have removed the stem assemblies, you should be able to see the washers or O-rings.

Replace the Rubber Washer

Use a rag to clean the back of the stem. Put the new rubber washer into the assembly. If a new screw is with the kit, use it. If it doesn’t, clean the old screw and put it back in.

Reassemble the faucet:

Reinsert the stem assemblies into the body and tighten them with pliers or a wrench. Then, replace the handles and screws.

Replåace the Rubber Washer

Turn on the water supply:

Turn on the water supply and check the faucet to ensure the leak has been fixed.

Note: The exact steps for fixing a leaky bathtub faucet with two handles can vary depending on the type and model of faucet you have. If you’re uncomfortable performing these repairs yourself, it’s best to consult a plumber.

How to avoid leakage of bathtub faucets in the future?

Here are some tips to help avoid leakage of a bathtub faucet in the future:

Regular maintenance:

Regularly inspect and maintain your bathtub faucet to catch any issues early on. It prevents them from becoming more severe problems.

Use quality parts:

Use high-quality replacement parts when repairing your faucet to ensure they last longer and reduce the risk of future leaks.

Avoid using excessive force:

Do not use excessive force when turning your faucet handles, as this can damage the valve and cause leaks.

Fix leaks promptly:

If you notice any leaks, fix them to prevent further damage to the faucet and plumbing system.

Avoid harsh chemicals:

Avoid using harsh chemicals, like bleach or drain cleaners, to clean your faucet, as they can damage the finishes and cause leaks.

Don’t ignore water pressure issues:

If you notice any changes in water pressure, check with a professional plumber. This could indicate a more severe issue that can cause leaks.

Install a water softener:

Consider installing a water softener if you live in an area with hard water. This will reduce mineral buildup that can cause leaks and other plumbing issues.

Modern new luxury bath tub with stainless steel shower and faucet.
Modern new luxury bath tub with stainless steel shower and faucet.

FAQs about leaky bathtub faucet

What causes a bathtub faucet to leak?

A bathtub faucet can leak for various reasons, such as a worn-out O-ring, a faulty cartridge, or a loose mounting nut.

Can a leaky bathtub faucet cause damage?

 Yes, a leaky bathtub faucet can cause damage over time, such as water stains, mold growth, and water damage to surrounding materials.

How much water does a leaky bathtub faucet waste?

A leaky bathtub faucet can waste a significant amount of water over time. A single drip per second can waste up to 3,000 gallons of water annually.

How much does it Price to fix a leaky bathtub faucet?

The cost to fix a leaky bathtub faucet can rely on the cause of the leak and the cost of replacement parts. A repair can cost anywhere from $75 to $200. Yet, if the issue is more complex or requires the replacement of major components, such as the valve, the cost can be higher. Additionally, suppose you hire a professional plumber to fix the leak. In that case, their work costs will also factor into the total cost.

What should I do if I can’t fix my leaky bathtub faucet?

If you cannot fix your leaky bathtub faucet yourself, it’s best to consult a professional plumber. They can diagnose the issue and provide a solution to fix the leak.

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