Leaks are a part of the lifespan of many common home plumbing fixtures, and while you can do your best to prevent them, leaks are inevitable as time passes. While they might not be as common as a drain leak, shower faucets can occasionally wear out or be installed incorrectly, leading to leaks and higher water bills — and that annoying leak noise. With our breakdown, you’ll be able to follow these five easy steps to fix your leaking shower faucet and restore it back to normal. 

Why Is Your Faucet Leaking?

While all products get old and age, shower faucets don’t just leak because of old age. Typically, your problems will either show themselves through leaks from the shower head or the valve area (where you turn the water on and off). Your walls can become a breeding ground for mold and mildew, so you must identify the issue immediately and start the repair process. Some of the most common problems include: 

As you can tell, there are plenty of reasons for a faucet to leak, thus meaning there is no one size fits all solution. So what do you do? It’s important to identify the cause, and these five steps can help ensure you cover the bases and fix your leaky shower faucet.

Tools and Materials

You can’t forget to gather the right tools for the job. Leaking shower faucets have a few causes, so it’s best to have all the tools and materials needed for each job on hand, so you’re prepared when you identify the cause. You’ll need:

Step 1: Prep the Area and Remove the Faucet Handle

The first step to fixing your shower faucet is removing the faucet handle, but before this, shut off the water supply to your shower. If you don’t have a valve connected to your shower, you might have to turn off all the water in your home. Close your shower drain, or place the old rag on the shower floor to block off the drain and keep small pieces from escaping.

Remove the shower handle cover cap to expose the screw that keeps the handle in place. Most showerheads have a cap, but if yours doesn’t, go straight to unscrewing the handle. Unscrew the faceplate on the wall, exposing the shower valve’s metal sleeve. If you have a two-faucet shower handle, skip to step 4.

Step 2: Remove and Replace the Cartridge

Removing the cartridge is essential to your journey to stop water from dripping from your shower faucet. The cartridge is responsible for water flow, and a faulty cartridge lets water seep through the metal parts of your shower.

Use your wrench to grab the metal stem and unscrew the nut at the base of the stem. Use the wrench to slowly loosen the carriage until it comes out. You might also choose to pull it with the pliers, and if that doesn’t work, consider getting a cartridge puller from your local hardware store. 

Cartridge pullers make it easier to remove cartridges, as they are notoriously known for being difficult to remove. Unscrew the hex nut until the threads are visible, and slide the tool onto the cartridge, which should help you remove it. Ensure the cartridge puller you purchase is the right brand for your faucet’s cartridge. 

Once the cartridge is removed, install the new cartridge and replace the original parts and pieces as necessary.

Step 3: Test Your Shower Faucet

Now it’s time to test if your cartridge replacement was the cause of your plumbing problems. Make sure the shower handle is turned off and turn the water supply back on. If the shower faucet no longer drips, your problem is solved! But while these steps resolve issues with single-handle showers, what do you do if you have two shower handles? These showers add a bit more to the equation, but following our steps can ensure the same result as your single-handle shower partners.

Step 4: Replace the Washers on a Two Handle Shower Faucet

If your faucet has two handles, the likely resolution is achieved by replacing washers in your metal stem. After following step 1, grip the valve nut of your metal stem and unscrew the nut from the valve body. Pull the metal stem loose and replace the old washer with your new one. You can add a bit of faucet grease to ensure your washer seals properly. 

If you notice that the metal stem is damaged, don’t leave it to rot on its own. Replace the complete stem, which you can find at your local hardware store. Replace the parts of the one faucet you worked on, or repeat the process on the other handle. Remember, if you test out the shower faucet and it still leaks, the other handle might be the problem, and you should repeat steps 1 and 4.

Step 5: Contact Your Local Plumber

Replacing your shower head alone might be time-consuming, but it isn’t terribly difficult. Even so, there’s no shame in following our 5th and final step: calling on your local plumber for help. It’s easy to lose pieces or pull your metal stem or old cartridge too hard and create an issue you didn’t anticipate. A professional plumber can knock out the job to make sure you can shower comfortably and in peace.

With these five steps to fix your leaking shower faucet, you’re on the way to getting your water bills back on track and preventing further damage to your home. If you’re searching for leaky shower faucet repair or any other bathroom plumbing solutions, reach out to Tony’s Home Services in and around Downingtown, PA. You’ll get an expert plumbing service, and you can take advantage of our expert chimney services to keep your home safe.

Reach out today and book an appointment for one of our experts to address your home service needs.

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