How to Fix Bathtub Faucet Leaking Single Handle

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Are you tired of the constant dripping sound coming from your bathtub faucet leaking single handle? Not only is it annoying, but it can also lead to higher water bills and potential damage to your bathroom. Taking matters into your own hands and fixing that leaky bathtub faucet can save you money and give you peace of mind. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of diagnosing and repairing a leaking single handle bathtub faucet, so you can enjoy a quiet, leak-free bathroom once again.

This comprehensive guide will cover everything from understanding the components of single handle bathtub faucets to identifying the leak source and preparing for the repair. We will also provide you with detailed instructions on replacing the faulty cartridge and reassembling the bathtub faucet leaking single handle, followed by testing for leaks and knowing when to seek professional help. Let’s dive in and get that bothersome leak fixed!

Key Takeaways

  • Understand single handle bathtub faucets and their components to properly diagnose leaks.
  • Identify the source of a dripping bathtub faucet using water temperature tests or visual inspections.
  • Prepare tools and supplies, shut off water supply, replace faulty cartridge, reassemble the faucet & test for leaks. Seek professional help if DIY approach is not sufficient.

Understanding Single Handle Bathtub Faucets

A clear understanding of single handle faucets, especially single handle bathtub faucets and their components, is fundamental before initiating the repair process. A single handle faucet consists of a mixing valve, a faucet seat, an escutcheon, a valve cartridge, and a faucet stem. Leaky bathtub faucets are typically caused by worn seats, deteriorated or corroded valve cartridges, and their rubber O-rings.

Knowing these components and their functions will enable you to better diagnose and fix the leak. For instance, when replacing the seat of a leaking bathtub faucet, you’ll need a seat wrench to remove and install the new seat. Recognizing the need for professional assistance, like when dealing with a severely corroded faucet valve or a deteriorated finish, remains crucial.

With this knowledge in hand, let’s move on to identifying the source of the leak.

How to Fix Bathtub Faucet Leaking Single Handle

Identifying the Leak Source

A successful repair hinges on correctly identifying the leak’s origin. Two primary techniques can help you determine the source of a dripping bathtub faucet: water temperature tests and visual inspections.

The forthcoming sections will expound on these methods, providing a roadmap to locate and fix the leak.

Faucet Won't Turn Off

If you find yourself facing the frustrating problem of a faucet won't turn off, you're not alone in this predicament. A faucet that refuses to shut off can be a real inconvenience and may result in wasted water and increased utility bills. To address this issue, it's essential to identify the root cause of the problem. There are several common reasons for a faucet's reluctance to turn off, including worn-out washers, damaged cartridges, or mineral buildup in the valve. In some cases, a DIY fix may suffice, but for more complex issues, it's advisable to seek the expertise of a professional plumber to ensure your faucet functions properly and efficiently.

Water Temperature Test

To determine which faucet is leaking, you can start by assessing the temperature of the dripping water. This method is particularly helpful when dealing with a two handle faucet. If the water is hot or warm, the leak can be isolated to the hot faucet, while if the water is cold, the leak is on the right side of the tub spout.

To activate the hot and cold water faucets, simply turn them on and wait for the water to flow. Don’t forget to check the seat washer for any signs of wear or damage. Comparing the temperature of the dripping water and inspecting the escutcheon and stem assembly will help you identify the source of the leak.

Visual Inspection

Another way to identify the source of the leak is by conducting a visual inspection of the leaky faucet and surrounding area. Examine the leaking faucet and its vicinity for any visible signs of leakage or damage, and consider using a replacement rubber washer if necessary.

Using a flashlight, inspect the brass faucet seat of the tub faucet for any signs of wear or damage. If you can identify any issues during your visual inspection, you’ll be one step closer to fixing the problem and restoring your bathtub faucet to its normal function.

Preparing for the Repair

A person gathering tools and supplies for a bathtub faucet repair

Having identified the leak’s source, you can now gear up to fix a leaky bathtub. Gathering the necessary tools and supplies and shutting off the water supply to the bathtub faucet are essential steps to ensure a smooth and successful repair process.

The subsequent sections will outline the necessary tools for the job and the correct way to shut off the water supply.

Tools and Supplies

Having the right tools and supplies on hand will make fixing a leaky single handle bathtub faucet much easier. You will need:

  • A small Allen wrench
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Bath socket wrench
  • Pipe wrench
  • Socket wrench
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Philips screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Utility knife or pick tool (for two or three-handle faucets)

These tools will be used to loosen the faucet handle screw, remove the faucet, and make the necessary repairs to rectify the leak. Be sure to store your tools and supplies in a dry, secure location, free from moisture and heat.

Shutting Off Water Supply

Shutting off the water supply to the bathtub faucet is a crucial step before beginning any repair work. To do this, locate your home’s main water shut-off valve and turn it completely off. This will prevent any water from flowing through the faucet while you’re working on it, ensuring a safe and dry workspace.

Before turning off the water supply, make sure to cover the drain to prevent any small parts from accidentally falling into it. With the water supply shut off and the drain secured, you’re now ready to start fixing the leaky bathtub faucet.

Replacing the Faulty Cartridge

A person removing the faucet handle of a bathtub faucet

With the leak’s source identified and preparations complete, you can proceed to replace the faulty cartridge in your single handle bathtub faucet. This process involves the following steps:

  1. Remove the faucet handle.
  2. Locate and remove the retainer clip.
  3. Take out the old cartridge.
  4. Install the new cartridge.

The upcoming sections will walk you through each step of this process.

Removing the Faucet Handle

The first step in replacing the faulty cartridge is removing the faucet handle. Here’s how:

  1. Use a small flathead screwdriver or butter knife to remove the plastic or metal cap that covers the faucet handle screw.
  2. Once the cap is off, you can access the faucet handle screw.
  3. Use a screwdriver to loosen the screw on the front or bottom of the faucet handle.
  4. Pull the handle off firmly.

If you’re working with a lever-shaped single-handle faucet, unscrew and remove the recessed Allen screw near the lever’s base using an Allen wrench set, then slide the handle off. For a round plastic single-handle faucet, pry off the plastic cover with a flathead screwdriver and pull the handle off. If the handle does not come off easily, use a handle puller to remove it.

Removing the Retainer Clip and Cartridge

With the faucet handle removed, it’s time to remove the retainer clip and cartridge. Use needle-nose pliers to grip the end of the cartridge and pull it straight out. If you’re having difficulty removing the cartridge, consider using a cartridge puller tool to help with the process.

Once the cartridge is removed, inspect it for any visible signs of wear or damage. If necessary, visit your local hardware store to purchase a new compatible cartridge or the relevant stem repair kit and replacement seats.

Installing the New Cartridge

Apply a thin coat of plumber’s grease to the rubber parts of the cartridge. Then, install it. Remove the old cartridge from the print head. Push the new cartridge into place in the same position. Make sure it is properly seated and aligned before proceeding to the next step.

Once the new cartridge is in place, replace the retainer clip using needle-nose pliers to secure it. With the new cartridge and retainer clip installed, you’re now ready to reassemble the faucet.

Reassembling the Faucet

A person reassembling a bathtub faucet

To reassemble the faucet, start by screwing the escutcheon plate back into its original position using the faucet screw and a packing washer. Make sure it is securely fastened to prevent any future leaks.

Next, replace the faucet handle, reversing the order of the steps taken to remove it. If you used a handle puller to remove the handle, make sure to reinstall it using the same tool. Once the handle is securely in place, you can move on to testing the faucet for leaks.

How to Fix a Leaky Faucet with Two Handles

If you're wondering how to fix a leaky faucet with two handles, you're in the right place. Leaky faucets can be both annoying and wasteful, but the good news is that repairing them is a relatively straightforward DIY task that can save you money and prevent water wastage. In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to identify and fix the source of the leak in a double-handled faucet, helping you restore a steady, drip-free flow of water to your sink.

Testing for Leaks

A close-up image of a single-handled bathtub faucet leaking water" with the keyword "bathtub faucet leaking single handle" included.

Testing for leaks after reassembling the faucet is a crucial step to verify the success of the repair. Turn on the water supply to the bathtub faucet and let the water flow for a few seconds. Then, turn off the faucet and inspect the faucet spout and handles for any signs of bathtub faucet leaks.

Additionally, check the water supply pipes and connections for any signs of moisture or dripping. If there are no leaks detected, congratulations! You’ve successfully repaired your leaking bathtub faucet.

If you do find leaks, double-check your work and make any necessary adjustments before testing again.

When to Seek Professional Help

Despite many leaky bathtub faucets being amendable with a DIY approach, certain instances necessitate professional help. If you notice water damage within your bathroom wall or if the hole in the bathtub or shower surround is insufficient to extract the valve cartridge, it’s time to call in a professional plumber.

The cost of repairing a leak in the bathroom varies greatly. It can range from $125 to as high as $350. While this may seem like a significant expense, addressing the issue promptly with professional help can prevent further damage and save you money in the long run.

How to Fix a Leaky Faucet

If you're dealing with a dripping faucet, you'll be pleased to know that learning how to fix a leaky faucet can be a straightforward DIY project. A leaky faucet not only wastes water but can also be quite annoying. Fortunately, with a few basic tools and some patience, you can easily address this common household issue. In the following steps, we'll guide you through the process of identifying the type of faucet you have, diagnosing the problem, and providing a step-by-step solution to stop that irritating drip. By the end of this guide, you'll be equipped with the knowledge and skills to successfully repair your leaky faucet, saving water and preventing any further annoyance.


In conclusion, fixing a leaking single handle bathtub faucet is a manageable DIY project that can save you money and prevent potential damage to your bathroom. By understanding the components and mechanisms of single handle faucets, identifying the leak source, preparing for the repair, and following the step-by-step guide to replace the faulty cartridge, you can restore your bathtub faucet to its proper function.

Remember, if you encounter any difficulties or suspect there may be more serious issues at play, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. A skilled plumber can address the problem and ensure your bathroom remains leak-free and in optimal condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most common cause of a leaky tub faucet?

The most common cause of a leaky tub faucet is a worn out washer, which can be replaced with a new one to save money on your water bill. Additionally, improper installation of the washer or the wrong-sized part could also be to blame.

Why is my single handle shower faucet leaking?

My single handle shower faucet is likely leaking due to a loose adjusting ring, a bad cartridge, or a corroded valve seat. Tightening the adjusting ring until no water leaks around the stem when it is in the full-on hot and cold mixed position, replacing the cartridge, or replacing the valve seat should solve the issue.

Why is my bathtub faucet leaking after I turn off the water?

It is likely that the rubber or plastic washer inside of your compression-style faucet has worn out, causing water to leak out even after you turn it off.

Why is my bathtub faucet leaking from the base when the shower is on?

When the shower is on, it's likely that your bathtub faucet is leaking due to a worn-out washer or O-ring, a corroded valve seat, a faulty cartridge, or a cracked washer in the stem. You can replace the damaged o-rings in a faucet to stop the leaking, but if that doesn't work, you may need a new valve cartridge or a professional plumber to replace the shower diverter.

What are the main components of a single handle bathtub faucet?

A single handle bathtub faucet is composed of a mixing valve, faucet seat, escutcheon, valve cartridge, and faucet stem – everything necessary for successful installation.

Ryan Copley

Ryan Copley

Having spent years participating in bathroom, kitchen, and home renovations, Ryan uses this experience to write informative blog posts on a wide variety of home renovation and kitchen topics.

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