Got a leaky shower faucet? Not only are the drips of a leaky shower faucet more than irritating; it is hard on your water bill. Good news – you don’t need to replace the whole faucet! Instead, use our guide as an easy step-by-step method on how to quickly and efficiently fix a dripping shower faucet.
1. Gather Tools and Materials
First, you’ll want to begin the process of fixing your dripping shower faucet by gathering the necessary tools and materials to address the leak.
Suggested Tools and Supplies:
- Phillips Head Screwdriver
- Flathead Screwdriver
- Needle Nose Pliers
- Deep Well Socket Wrench
- New Shower Faucet Cartridge or Stem
2. Shut off Water Supply
Second, begin the process by locating the water shut-off valve for your home. It is important to turn off the water supply before fixing the shower faucet as this will limit any unnecessary water loss. It should be noted that the water for the entire home may need to be shut off if you don’t have a specific shut-off valve only for the shower.
After the water has been shut off, pull the shower faucet or faucet(s) on. By turning the faucet on, it will allow any remaining water still stuck in the pipes to be released.
When all the water has been drained, take a towel and cover the shower floor to protect against any damage. Ensure the towel is also covering the shower drain or if you’re able be sure to plug the drain to protect against any small parts getting lost.
3. Removing Parts
If your faucet has a handle cap over the screw in the center of the handle, begin the process by removing the cap with the tip of a flat head screwdriver, this will expose the internal handle screw. Or if the handle cap is threaded, simply unscrew the cap to remove it.
After the cap has been removed, loosen and remove the handle screw with a Phillips screwdriver and set it aside for later. Once you’ve removed the cover cap and screw, you should be able to pull off the handle.
Sometimes the handle can be a bit difficult to remove. If you find yourself having trouble and the handle sticks, try using a blow dryer on the “hot” setting to loosen the handle and wiggle it off. If you still can’t remove the handle, you can purchase a faucet puller from your nearest hardware store.
After the handle and handle screw have been removed, remove the decorative faceplate behind the handle (if you have one) and take it off the shower wall. When removing the faceplate, you may need to use a flat head screwdriver to pry it off.
Next, if your shower valve has a locking clip, you’ll see it on the top of the valve. If you have one, go ahead and pull this clip off using the tip of a screwdriver or with needle-nose pliers.
Now we can move on to removing and replacing the cartridge. To begin, you will take your wrench over the metal stem of the faucet and grip the nut at the base of the stem. Unscrew the nut and set it aside for later.
Then take the wrench and loosen the cartridge, it may come out right away. If this doesn’t happen, use the needle-nose pliers to gently pull it out.
Next, place the new cartridge on the empty valve and tighten it with the wrench. Following this, put the locking clip back into place, if you had one. Then put back the valve sleeve, decorative faceplate, handle screw, shower handle, and faucet cap if the handle had one.
If your shower faucet has two handles; you will follow the same process listed in step two to turn off the water supply and let the leaking faucet drain any remaining water left in the pipe. If both are leaking, be sure to drain each of the handles. Follow the same steps mentioned above to remove the cover cap, handle, and decorative faceplate. Then go ahead and unscrew the valve nut and take out the metal faucet stem. At this stage, go ahead and replace the washers. Examine the stem for any damage and if needed, replace it with a new stem. Reassemble the faucet.
Pro Tip: If you don’t already have a new cartridge or metal stem, hold on to the old cartridge or stem for when you go to the store to ensure you’ll purchase an exact replacement.
4. Test the Faucet
Finally, you’ll want to test the faucet after it has been reassembled to ensure that the leak has been fixed. Begin by turning the water valve for your home back on.
When the water valve has been switched back on, open the faucet to allow the water to come back out, this may take a few seconds. If you have two handles and both were experiencing leaks, be sure to test each one during this process. Once the water begins to flow, turn the faucet off to see if the leak is still persisting.
If you’re continuing to experience a leak after following this process, please contact us to schedule an evaluation ASAP. We’ll be sure to have your faucet running as good as new in no time!