It can be a very frustrating situation to find yourself turning off your bathtub faucet, only to find that it is still leaking. A bathtub faucet leaking after water turned off is a difficult problem to troubleshoot and stop the leak completely. However, never fear! We’re here with some great advice on how to solve the problem of a leaky bathtub faucet.
Read our guide below to get all of the information on why your bathtub might be leaking, to begin with, and advice on what you should do if it continues to happen.
Table of Contents
What is Causing a Leaky Bathtub Faucet?
There are a lot of reasons why you have a leaking bathtub faucet. In this article we are going to focus in on the main six that most people experience which are:
- Washers being worn out
- Problems in the faucet stems
- Issues with the pipe connections
- Improper installation of the bathtub faucet
- Water pressure is too high
- Corroded valve seat
- Faulty cartridges
1 – Washers Being Worn Out
Washers play an integral role in stopping a leaky faucet from happening. A tub faucet has a washer that creates a tight seal around the pipes. The same is true for sink taps. Without washers, you will easily end up facing big problems like having a leaky bathtub faucet.
The most obvious solution to a worn out washer is to replace it. There are a lot of different types of washers that you can find in a local hardware store but they all do the same thing: creating a watertight seal.
Over time washers go through wear and tear and the parts will break down and may even crack. If this happens then nothing can hold back the excess water supply which can lead to drips and leaks. It can also cause further damage like rust spots and mineral deposits forming in your tub.
Some faucets don’t have washers but instead have o-rings. These are much the same except they are a rubber like seal that stops any water from flowing once the faucet has been turned off. Because they are similar to washers they undergo the same wear and tear so can deteriorate with constant use and lead to a leaky bathtub faucet.
If the problem turns out to be a worn out or faulty washer or o-ring then this will need to be replaced as soon as possible. This involved removing the faucet and the faucet handle to replace the washers that sit inside.
2 – Problems in the Faucet Stems
The leaking bathtub faucet could in itself be the issue here. The problem that happens here is in the faucet stem which is connected to the faucet handle. If this turns out to be the cause then there are occasions it can be fixed. However, most of the time it’s just easier to replace it altogether, faucet handle and all.
3 – Issues with the Pipe Connections
If the pipe connections to your tub weren’t installed properly initially or they used faulty materials, this could be your issue with a leaking bathtub faucet. The pipes can become loose in this situation and even disconnect which could end up in a leak occurring. The most common cause of this is water hammer problems.
If you’re unsure of what the term water hammer means, it’s the noise that is made when running water hits the closed faucet valve. This valve should be open. So when the water hits the closed valve it doesn’t have anywhere else to go and produces a horrible thud whenever you turn the water supply on.
Any issues with loose pipe connections then you will need to get a professional plumber in to fix it. Without the proper knowledge of the connections you could end up doing more damage than good if you try to do it yourself.
4 – Improper Faucet Installation
A faucet that has been improperly installed or if the tub and plumbing hasn’t been done properly then further down the line you could end up dealing with leaky faucets. With a brand new bathtub the pipes could be too loose so they can’t withstand the amount of water pressure that pours through them when you run a bath.
Improper installations are much the same as having loose pipe connections in that you need to get a plumber in to address the issues. They can come in and assess how bad the problem is and then provide you with the right solutions, hopefully at an affordable rate.
5 – Water Pressure is Too High
Living in an area where the water pressure is too high can cause a lot of leaky problems in your bathroom and kitchen. High water pressure leads not only to leaks but can also make pipes explode which will cause the permanent failure of the faucet and fixtures around your home.
A small leak can be a big problem because it could potentially cost you thousands on wasted water when you come to pay your bill. High water pressure problems can be solved by installing or replacing a water pressure regulator. There could be other reasons why the water pressure is high so make sure to research your local area for other occurrences of the same problem.
6 – Corroded Valve Seat
If you’re unsure of what a valve seat is, it sits at the base of the handle and is used to control how much water flows through the tap. Over time the minerals that are found in our water can cause this seat to corrode which will create a leak around the faucet handle.
In this case you will need to take a look at the faucet and the valve seat itself. If it has corroded, you’ll have to get a valve seat wrench to remove it and replace it. A plumber is the best person for this job as they can find other corroded parts that might need replacing as well.
7 – Faulty Cartridges
There are some tubs out there that use a cartridge mechanism which acts as a valve to help control how fast the water flows and the temperature of the water supply as well. Over time the cartridges will break time because of use which is a reason why your faucet may be leaking.
If you are completely new at trying to fix faucets then the process of dismantling and replacing the cartridge can be time-consuming and incredibly frustrating. In this situation it’s best to call a plumber who can inspect the full faucet and replace the cartridge.
It’s so important that you never ignore a leaking faucet when you shut off the water, even if it is only small. A water leak can cost you money and can even cause damage such as mold. Structural damage is a big part of the problem with leaks and smaller leaks oftentimes, if ignored, can lead to much bigger ones.
Whether you need the help of a plumber to fix the tap or you can replace the faucet washer yourself, as soon as a leak is identified you ned to get the issue fixed immediately. This will put a stop to any further damage or problems happening in the long term.
Why is my faucet dripping when off?
If you notice your faucet is dripping even when the water is off then it’s more than likely that there is an issue with the seal inside the faucet head. This will allow water to run through or drip from the faucet stem and head. Before calling a plumber you may want to consider if you can fix a small problem like this yourself.
Can you change a bathtub faucet without turning the water off?
If you are only replacing the handle of the faucet which is only a few items then you don’t need to turn the water supply off at the mains. However, if you are replacing the entire faucet then you have to turn the water off, otherwise, it will flow from the pipes.
What causes bathtub faucets to drip?
A common cause of a dripping bathtub faucet is a cracked or worn out washed in the faucet stem. Every time you turn the water on it pushes the washer against the valve. The friction this produces over time causes the washer to eventually wear out. The tub faucet or the cartridge could also be the cause of a dripping faucet.