How to Fix A Leaking Shower or Tub

Nothing can be more annoying than a leaky faucet in your bathroom shower or tub. This could result in very high water bills. If you can fix it quickly, it will save your nerves and some money. Shower and tub faucet designs vary widely. But in general the inside is the same.

How To Fix A Leaking Shower or Tub

How to Fix A Leaking Shower or Tub - TWRThings you will need for this repair:

  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Allen wrench
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • New O-rings and gaskets
  • Rags and old towels
  • Cartridge extractor
  • White vinegar
  • Utility knife
  • Plumbers grease

Usually, when a shower or tub faucet is leaking the washers and O-rings have worn out and need to be replaced. If the faucet has not been serviced in awhile it may be difficult unscrewing it. But never fear, this can be a pretty simple home repair.

Since you will be taking apart your shower or tub faucets, this would be a great time to refresh your fixtures. While you are at the home improvement store, pick up new faucets and a new shower head. It can give your bathroom a new updated look.

  • First and foremost, cut off the water at the main shut off valve in your house or shut off the line to the bathroom. Turn the faucet on to get all the water out of it before you take it apart. Turn on the shower and make sure no water comes out.
  • Place old towel in and around the shower or tub. These will help collect water if you need them. They will also help protect your shower or tub from being scratched or damaged while you are working.
  • There should be a screw in the middle of the faucet stem. If you cannot locate it, look under the cap. You should be able to pop the cap off easily with a flat-head screw driver.
  • Undo the screw that holds the handle with Phillips screwdriver or Allen wrench. You may find what is called a temperature regulating disk. If so, just pull it off.
  • Next, you will find a pin that holds the cartridge. You should pull that out with needle nose pliers. There could be a collar around the cartridge to hold it in place. Remove this by wrapping a rag around it to prevent scratching the finish. The cartridge, can get so stuck it will break apart when you try to remove it. If it breaks your best course of action to contact a plumber to finish the faucet for you.
  • How to Fix A Leaking Shower or Tub - TWRIf it will not budge purchase a cartridge puller from your local home improvement store. Since there are so many different types of showers try taking a photo of it with your smartphone if you have one. Bring the photo to the store with you. This could help the employees at the store identify the correct replacement part for you.
  • While gripping the valve stem with pliers pull the cartridge out. Make a mental note of how the cartridge is placed so you can return it to the correct position or take a photo with your phone.
  • Examine the cartridge closely. If you see mineral deposits it would be wise to sock it overnight in white vinegar. These deposits could be the cause of your leak. They could be blocking the flow of water in your shower. If you notice the cartridge is cracked you should replace it will a new one.
  • Take the old O-rings off the cartridge with a utility knife and place the new ones on it. If you coat these with plumber’s grease they should slide right on.
  • Remove the rubber gaskets from the valve with a flat-head screwdriver. Then replace them with new ones.
  • Replace the cartridge by pushing it in as far as it will go.
  • Replace the pin on the collar and put the temperature regulator disk back on.
  • Put the handle and cap back on the faucet.
  • Turn the water on again and check for any leaks


If You Still Have A Leak

If you still have a leak after all this you should schedule a plumber to come out and take a look at the faucet. Do not try to doing anything more. Also, if you start to feel overwhelmed at any time during this process take a break. When you return if you still feel like you are not comfortable continuing, call a professional for help. Water damage is a very difficult thing to clean up. Better to be safe than sorry.

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