How to fix a bath tap

Written by jay p. whickson
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If you're undergoing water torture from the drip, drip, drip of the tap, fix it yourself. Depending on the type of bath tap you have, the process may be easier than you think. Sometimes it takes only a 15-cent part to repair the tap. Do something about the problem as soon as you notice it.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Instructions

    Two-Handled Faucets

  1. 1

    Turn off the water to the tub. First turn off the hot water and see if you still have a drip. If so, try the cold water only. If there's no drip, it's in the cold water. If the faucet still drips, you need to repair both hot and cold. Most of the time you'll find shut-offs close to the tub. If you don't have any, shut off the water at the main source.

  2. 2

    Remove the screw in the centre of the handle. You may have to lift the index cap that covers it. Once you unscrew it and take it out, pull off the handle.

  3. 3

    Take off the escutcheon, which is the decorative plate that covers the faucet stem. You might find a nut holding it secure or simply need to unscrew it to remove it.

  4. 4

    Use a bonnet wrench to take off the bonnet nut. A bonnet wrench is a long tube that you insert over the nut. It's a deep socket wrench designed specifically to loosen bonnet nuts recessed in the wall. Take out the stem.

  5. 5

    Insert a seat remover into the hole and unscrew the seat if you've had a bad drip for a long time. Most of the time, the continuous passage of a stream of water wore away the seat. If you notice the washer at the end of the stem is ragged, as though it were cut, the stem is also bad. You can feel inside the hole with your finger to see if it's jagged. You can smooth out the seats while the assembly is apart, but you might as well replace it. Seats are almost as inexpensive as the washers.

  6. 6

    Take the washer and the seat to a home improvement store to find replacements. Once you have them at home, slip the seat over the end of the seat remover and guide it into the hold. Tighten it. Insert the stem and then put the bonnet nut onto the stem and tighten it.

  7. 7

    Put on the escutcheon and tighten it. Slip on the handle, insert the screw holding it onto the stem and then when it's tight, put the index cap back on the handle.

    Single Handled Faucets

  1. 1

    Shut off the water before you begin the project. Remove the decorative insert from the centre of the handle. Take off the screw holding the handle and pull off the handle.

  2. 2

    See if there's a plastic cam fitting or bushing. If so, take it off.

  3. 3

    Pull away the metal sleeve that covers the faucet mechanism. It's decorative and hides the cartridge.

  4. 4

    Look for a U-shaped retaining clip that holds the cartridge in place. In this case, needle-nose pliers are best to pull the clip out of the cartridge. Don't bend it or you'll have to replace it in order to hold the new cartridge in place.

  5. 5

    Pull out the old cartridge from the faucet. Take the cartridge to the home improvement store and find an exact replacement.

  6. 6

    Replace the cartridge. Insert the U-shaped retaining clip to hold it. Put the metal sleeve, then the cam if there is one, and finally put on the handle. Insert the screw in the centre to tighten it. Replace the cap and turn on the water.

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