Easy Steps to Fix a Dripping Bathtub Faucet


Easy Steps to Fix a Dripping Bathtub Faucet

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Did you know that a single dripping faucet can waste 20 gallons of water in a single day? If you’ve got a bathtub faucet that won't stop dripping, it’s not just annoying, it’s also a waste of resources and can cause damage over time. But don't worry, most dripping faucets are easy and inexpensive to fix, even for those with no previous plumbing experience.

Understanding the Causes of a Dripping Bathtub Faucet

Dripping bathtub faucets are typically caused by worn-out or damaged parts. The issue is often with the internal parts of the faucet either wearing out or becoming damaged over time due to continuous water pressure.

Typical culprits can include:

  • Worn out O-rings
  • Damaged valve stem
  • Faulty washer
  • Corroded seals

Tools and Materials You Need to Fix a Dripping Bathtub Faucet

Before we delve into the process of fixing your dripping bathtub faucet, let's first gather the necessary tools and materials for the task. You won’t need anything overly specialized, but having the right tools will make the job a lot easier.

You will need:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Screwdriver set
  • Plumber's grease
  • Replacement parts (depending on the cause of the leak)

Steps for Fixing a Dripping Bathtub Faucet

Step 1: Turn Off the Water Supply

Before starting, it’s essential to turn off the water supply to prevent flooding your bathroom. The water shutoff valve is usually found in the cabinet beneath the sink or behind the bathtub. Turn the valve counterclockwise to turn off the water.

Step 2: Remove the Faucet Handle

There is usually a screw holding the faucet handle in place. Once you've removed that, gently pull off the handle. If it's difficult to remove, you may need to use a handle puller.

Step 3: Inspect the Parts

With the handle removed, you'll have access to the stem, the washer, and the O-ring. Check each part for signs of damage or wear. If any of these appear to be the culprit, you'll need to replace them.

Step 4: Replace the Damaged Parts

If you've identified the part or parts causing the leak, remove them and replace them with new ones. Apply plumber's grease to the new parts before installation. Once the new parts are in place, reassemble the faucet.

Step 5: Test Your Faucet

Turn the water supply back on and test out your faucet. If everything was done correctly, your faucet should no longer be dripping!

When to Contact a Professional Plumber

While many drip issues can be resolved through simple troubleshooting steps, sometimes it's best to call in a professional. If the dripping continues after you’ve replaced the parts or if you are uneasy about tackling the repair yourself, you should consider calling in a professional plumber.

Following these steps will help you troubleshoot and learn how to fix a dripping bathtub faucet effectively. With a bit of time, patience, and the right tools, you'll be able to enjoy a quiet, leak-free bathtub in no time.

FAQ - How to Fix a Dripping Bathtub Faucet

Why is my bathtub faucet dripping?

A dripping bathtub faucet usually indicates a problem with one of the components inside the faucet, such as a faulty washer, seal, or cartridge. Sometimes it can be due to sediment build-up or just natural wear and tear over time.

Is a dripping bathtub faucet a serious problem?

Often, homeowners tend to overlook a dripping faucet, considering it a minor inconvenience. However, a dripping bathtub faucet can actually lead to larger problems. It can waste a vast amount of water over time, driving up your water bill. Additionally, constant dripping can cause water damage or lead to mold and mildew growth.

What is the first step to fix a dripping bathtub faucet?

The first step in fixing a dripping bathtub faucet is determining the type of faucet you have. Bathtub faucets can be cartridge, ball or disc types, or compression faucets. Each type has a different mechanism and the repair process varies accordingly.

How can I fix a dripping cartridge bathtub faucet?

To fix a dripping cartridge bathtub faucet, you will need to remove the handle of the faucet and the cartridge itself. This usually requires unscrewing some parts. Once the cartridge is out, you can replace it with a new one.

What if my bathtub faucet is a compression faucet?

In case of a compression faucet, the most common reason for a drip is a worn-out washer. You can solve the problem by removing the faucet handle, pulling out the worn-out washer and replacing it with a new one. If this doesn't stop the dripping, you may need to look at replacing the entire faucet.

When should I consider calling a plumber to fix my dripping bathtub faucet?

If you've tried to fix your dripping bathtub faucet and haven't been successful or if you're uncomfortable doing DIY plumbing work, it's best to call a professional plumber. They have the necessary tools and equipment to fix the issue promptly and efficiently.

How can I prevent my bathtub faucet from dripping in the future?

Regularly maintaining your bathtub faucet is crucial in preventing future leaks. This includes routinely checking for any wear and tear of components and replacing worn-out parts as soon as possible. Also, treating any hard water issues in your home can help prevent sediment build-up which can cause your faucet to drip.

Pros and Cons of Fixing a Dripping Bathtub Faucet

Understanding the pros and cons of fixing a dripping bathtub faucet can help homeowners make informed decisions. A dripping faucet can contribute to inflated water bills and create incessant noise. Below are detailed discussions on the advantages and disadvantages of undertaking this repair task.

Pros of Fixing a Dripping Bathtub Faucet

Saving Money

  • Water conservation: Fixing a dripping bathtub faucet can save significant amounts of water over time. An unchecked leak can waste gallons of water over a year, leading to higher water bills.
  • Prevent further repairs: Ignoring leaking faucets can result in more serious damage, such as rotten floors or stained bathtubs. Addressing the issue early helps avoid these costly repairs.

Preserving Home Aesthetics

  • Maintaining a clean tub: A constantly wet bathtub due to a dripping faucet can cause stubborn stains, which could affect the aesthetics of your bathroom. Fixing the leak helps maintain a clean tub.
  • Preventing Mildew: The constant dampness caused by a dripping faucet encourages the growth of mildew, disrupting the bathroom's appearance and hygiene. Tackling the leak cuts off this water supply, deterring the growth of mildew.

Earning DIY Skills

  • Learning experience: Fixing a dripping bathtub faucet grants the opportunity to acquire new skills. It's a practical learning experience that could be applied in other similar scenarios around the home.

Cons of Fixing a Dripping Bathtub Faucet

Potential for Missteps

  • Faulty repairs: Without sufficient knowledge and experience, you might not fully address the issue or could possibly cause additional damage. This could necessitate further, more costly repairs down the line.
  • Incorrect diagnosis: If the problem lies deep within the plumbing system, fixing the faucet alone may not resolve the issue. Proper diagnosis is crucial in fixing a dripping bathtub faucet. Without it, the issue could persist or worsen.

Time and Effort Involved

  • Time-consuming: Repairing a leaky faucet can be time-consuming, especially for beginners. It takes time to understand the problem, gather the necessary tools, and perform the repair.
  • Physical exertion: Fixing a dripping bathtub faucet may require considerable physical effort, depending on the faucet’s design and the gravity of the problem.

Potential for Increased Costs

  • Investments in tools: Special tools may be required to fix a dripping faucet effectively. This investment might be impractical if it's a one-off repair.
  • Emergency repair costs: If the DIY repair attempt worsens the issue, you may need to hire a professional to rectify the mistake, incurring additional costs.

Remember, the success of your DIY repair depends largely on the complexity of the problem and your familiarity with such tasks. Always remember to turn off the water supply before starting any faucet repairs.


Well, now you know how to fix a dripping bathtub faucet. It's a task simple enough to do yourself, which can save you the cost of hiring a professional. Not only does fixing the problem get rid of the annoying drip, but it can also save on your water bill and prevent future issues like water damage or mold. With a few basic tools and a little patience, a leaky faucet can be easily rectified.

Practicing the steps on how to fix a dripping bathtub faucet can improve your DIY skills. You may find that fixing this minor issue can give you confidence in tackling other home maintenance tasks. Use this opportunity to understand more about how your home plumbing works. It really is possible to take care of your home without always having to rely on experts.

Remember, understanding how to fix a dripping bathtub faucet is just the start. Every faucet is different, so if these steps don’t work for your situation, don’t be discouraged. Try researching further or consult with a professional for help. Taking care of your home, and learning new skills in the process, is always a rewarding experience.

About West Coast Hydronics & Plumbing

Welcome to West Coast Hydronics & Plumbing, your reliable, go-to specialists for all your plumbing and hydronic heating needs in Sacramento, CA. Since our inception, we have committed ourselves to provide exemplary customer service, innovative solutions, and top-tier results. Our decades of experience in residential, commercial, and industrial projects left us with a wealth of knowledge and skills to tackle any task, however big or small. Be it a leaky faucet, an inefficient heating system, or a major plumbing emergency, you can rely on us. To know more about our services, please visit here.