How to Replace the Valve Seal in a Bathtub Faucet

Replace the valve seal if your bathtub faucet drips.

The valve seal is the portion of the faucet that controls the flow of water when you open and close the faucet handle. The valve seal is located at the back of the assembly called the valve stem. These seals are made out of rubber and can degrade over time. A broken or ripped seal won’t close the valve properly, leaving you with a dripping faucet. If you have a leak, you should replace the valve seal in your bathtub faucet as soon as possible. A leak in a faucet, even a slow one, can significantly increase your water bills.

Step 1 – Turn off the water supply for the bathtub faucet. In newer homes, this can be done through an access panel located somewhere near the faucet. Rotate the knobs clockwise to turn off the water. In older homes, shut off the water for the entire house at the main valve. Look for a water access panel somewhere near your street. Turn the knob with a wrench to shut off the supply.

Step 2 – Pry off the cap for the faucet screw with the flat-bladed screwdriver. On older faucets, you may need to use a pair of pliers for this. Remove the faucet screw with a Phillips screwdriver.

Step 3 – Remove the faucet handle by pulling outward.

Step 4 – Remove the flange collar, the decorative cover that hides the valve stem. This will either be screwed into the valve casing or held in place with a small screw.

Step 5 – Use the adjustable wrench to remove the packing nut, the first portion of the valve.

Step 6 – Remove the valve stem from the valve casing by unscrewing it with the wrench.

Step 7 – Locate the valve seal, the rubber washer at the end of the valve stem. Turn the valve stem over so that the valve seal end is facing upward. Remove the screw holding the valve seal in place. Remove the seal.

Step 8 – Replace the seal with a new one. Secure with the screw.

Step 9 – Insert the valve stem back into the casing. Tighten with the wrench.

Step 10 – Place a few drops of silicone grease on the valve stem shaft for lubrication. Thread the packing nut into place. Tighten with the wrench.

Step 11 – Replace the flange collar. Secure in place.

Step 12 – Replace the faucet handle. Tighten with the screw. Press the faucet screw cap back into place.

Step 13 – Restore the water supply.

Step 14 – Turn on the bathtub faucet and check for proper operation.

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