How to Fix a Leaky Shower Faucet

It doesn’t usually cause a lot of damage upfront, but nevertheless – a leaky shower is one of the most annoying plumbing problems you can have. In addition to the constant dripping, your money is literally running down the drains, as a leaky shower can waste many gallons of water every week. If the leak is on the hot water, it wastes energy in addition to the water, because your hot water heater has to continue operating to keep up supply.

Causes of a Leaky Shower

In most cases, drizzling or dripping from a shower head indicates a problem with the valve (faucet). It usually happens when the inner seals become worn, clogged or corroded from hard water deposits. Mechanical issues occur, causing the gaskets and o-rings between the moving parts of the faucet to wear down with use. Eventually, water will drip or squirt out.

Fixing a Leaky Shower Faucet

When you turn off a shower faucet, but the water keeps dribbling out of the shower head, resist the urge to crank it harder, as it will make matters worse. Simply ensure that the handle is turned off completely, without over-tightening it, as that will damage the valve.

Whenever you work on plumbing issues, there are some things you must remember:

1. Turn off the main water supply.
2. Have a bucket handy.
3. Place an old towel in the fixture (in this case, the shower), especially over the drain hole. This will prevent small parts from falling into the drain. You should also place the parts you remove on the towel in the order that you remove them, so that you can replace them again in the correct order.

Instructions for fixing a leaky two-handle shower faucet

In this example, we will work on a two-handle shower faucet.

1. Remove the faucet handle. Each type of faucet design has its own method. Simpler faucet designs use exposed screws front and centre, or under a decorative screw-off cap.
2. Unscrew the locking screw using a screwdriver in a counterclockwise motion. Simply wiggle the handle and pull on it to extract it from the body of the faucet.
3. Remove the trim and sleeve from the faucet stem. You will need a deep socket to extract the stem from the body of the valve. Fit the socket over the hex nut on the stem and turn it counterclockwise.
4. Replace old parts with new flat washers, seals, and o-rings.
5. Reverse the procedure to return all the parts and to replace the stem of the faucet to the valve body. Be sure to use plumber’s grease to lubricate the faucet stem before you return it, and tighten the valve body.
6. Test the valve before turning the water supply back on and finishing the reassembly.
7. Once you are satisfied with the repair, use tub caulk to seal the trim to the wall.

There you have it! No more leaky shower faucet!

Of course, being experts in the repairing leaky faucets, we sometimes make things sound easier than it really is. If ever you’re unsure of something while repairing your leaky faucet, please give us a call to help, even if it is just with some advice.

Written by Tanya Klien

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