3 Ways to Fix a Bathtub Faucet That Won’t Turn Off

Bathtub Faucet Won’t Turn Off

A bathtub is one of the most relaxing and peaceful places that we have always loved. We not only bathe in the bathtub but also relax and make the important decisions of our life. However, when you fail to turn off the bathtub faucet after a relaxing bath, things can get scary, but it won’t stop.

You might stand still and see how water starts pouring in and floods the entire bathtub and bathroom floor, only to ruin your whole day. And when the bathtub faucet won’t turn off, you need to identify the cause and fix it ASAP.

Otherwise, the water dripping could soon turn into a nightmare, and this is the last thing you would want after a bath. Luckily, at most times, tightening the bathtub faucet should stop the water from dripping in continuously.

If it does not work, you need to investigate the real issue quickly and act accordingly.

What Are the Causes When Bathtub Water Won’t Turn Off

When you see the bathtub water is constantly running, even after your 10th times try of turning off the faucet, you need to fix the problem immediately. For this, you need to realize the problem of stopping the bathtub faucet from turning off properly.

The main two reasons for water on bathtub not stopping include the following:

A Damaged Faucet Handle

Although not the primary reason, a damaged handle may prevent you from stopping the water faucet on your bathtub. Inside the handle, you will see a stem. The water flows through it and finally pours into the bathtub for your relaxing bath.

Nonetheless, at times the handle may get cracked. Also, the stem may get damaged. The stem won’t have the proper grip in both cases, so the water will continuously flow through it. When it happens, you must replace the handle.

The bathtub faucet comes with single or double handles. The double-handed faucets are the standard ones and are also easy to replace. However, you might find removing and replacing the modern-day bathtub handles a bit trickier.

A Damaged or Worn Out Valve

The valve inside the faucet is responsible for controlling the water flow through the stem. When the valve wears out entirely or partially, it loses the ability to control the water flow of the sprout. When the valve is damaged due to its long-time usability, you need to replace it.

You can, of course, try it with a DIY project. However, it might not be possible to DIY replace a damaged valve for everyone. Thus, you may consult a professional plumber.

What to Do When Bathtub Faucet Won’t Turn Off? – Three Easy Methods

We now know the main reasons for a bathtub faucet not turning off properly. So, it’s time to fix the problems and eliminate your worry.

Method One: Tightening The Faucet Handle:

A bathtub faucet may not turn off if the handle gets loose, the stem is damaged, or due to a damaged valve of the sprout. However, the easiest solution is to tighten the loose handle, and it work’s almost 80%.

  • Take a flathead screwdriver. Use it to pry off the faucet cover plate with the screwdriver.
  • When you pry off the cover, you will find the screw. Start tightening it using the screwdriver or an adjustable wrench.
  • After that, try to turn off the water faucet and check the result. In most cases, you should be able to switch off the bathtub faucet.

Nonetheless, at times tightening the water faucet handle may not still work. It means the problem is something serious, and you need to work extensively.

Method Two: Try Fixing The Bathtub Faucet Stem:

If tightening the faucet handle fails to turn off the water, you need to try fixing or replacing the damaged stem inside the handle. It is a bit difficult task, and so, you need to prepare properly.

Nonetheless, you must remember that fixing the stem inside the bathtub faucet handle is a temporary solution when bathtub water won’t turn off properly. It will last only for a couple of months, and after that, you have to replace the stem entirely.

Step 1: Prying Off The Stem

Firstly, turn off the main water source for the bathtub faucet. It will stop any unwanted spillage and flooding of the bathroom. Also, it helps you work without creating any mess. Next, turn the faucet handle on its right and move it until it comes off to reveal the stem.

If you don’t want to risk hurting your hand, pry off the stem with a wrench. Attach the wrench with the handle and move it until the stem comes off properly.

Step 2: Examining the Stem

Now, check the stem close to find if it has any damage or faults. The tip of the stem will have ridges or rims. It connects with the ridge inside the handle. Due to long-time uses, the ridge will wear out and won’t be able to tighten through the stem when you turn off the water faucet.

As a result, the faucet will fail to turn off, and the water will drip through it into the bathtub. Hence, it would be best to replace the ridge or the entire stem of the faucet handle.

Step 3: Clean the Stem

At times the stem may catch debris and waste deposits. It will loosen or damage the stem. So, you need to clean off these deposits to help the stem work properly again.

For this, you can easily use any toothbrush. Carefully brush off the entire stem and remove all the debris properly. You may need to repeat the cleaning job multiple times.

Step 4: Wrapping the Stem with Thread Tape

For the temporary fixing of the damaged stem, you have to cover it with thread-seal tape. Wrap the valve stem tip two times, at least using the thread tape. Then, you should press the handle of the faucet right through the thread-tape wrapped stem.

Make sure the handle goes over the threaded stem properly without sliding off the thread tape. For safety, you can cautiously rotate the handle over the stem until it reaches the end and locks accurately. Also, it needs less pressure and can be done with a wrench with ease.

Step 5: Finishing Off the Job

Now, remount the handle on the bathtub faucet and check if it stops the water. In most cases, it should work. However, it is a temporary solution, and thus, you need to prepare to replace it with a new faucet handle ASAP, preferably within a few months.

Method 3: Fix the Bathtub Faucet

If all the two methods we mentioned above fail to stop the water dripping from the bathtub faucet, you must fix the faucet itself. Luckily, fixing the damaged or problematic bathtub faucet can be done at home without any plumber’s help.

Before you start fixing the bathtub faucet, we suggest you wear gloves and goggles. It will protect you from any potential hazards.

  • Turn off the main water line to avoid any flooding in the bathroom.  For this, turn off the valve and start working. The main supply line valve should be in your garage or basement.
  • At this stage, your smartphone camera would come in handy. Use the camera to take a few snaps of the faucet. Also, take a few photos of the handle. These pictures would help you buy the essential parts quickly. Also, you can describe the problem better to the plumber with the photos, if need be.
  • When you are ready with all the parts to fix the faucet, start working. Firstly, pry off the faucet handle using a flathead screwdriver. Then, you should access the screw underneath the decorative cover of the faucet.
  • Find the packing nut and loosen it with the adjustable wrench; then, you should remove the faucet stem. If you can’t pry off the stem using your hands, remove it with the wrench. If the stem is in proper condition, you won’t have to replace it. (If it needs fixation, follow our Method Two).
  • In most cases, the washer of the faucet gets damaged and leaves the bathtub faucet in continuous mode. So, you must replace the washer and O-ring of the valve with a new one. Ensure that both the O-ring and washer match the fitting of your faucet to work properly. Or your investment will be fruitless.

After you have replaced the O-ring and washer, reassemble the water faucet. During this process, be careful not to damage the stem or the handle. Also, while prying off the decorative cap, make sure you don’t ruin its look or look ugly.

Finally, turn on your main water supply and check if you can turn off the bathtub water faucet or not. If it still fills the bathtub with water, we suggest you call for a plumber and let him take over the charge and fix or replace the entire faucet.

Final Words

We all love to relax and bathe in the bathtub. However, if the bathtub faucet won’t turn off after batting, the experience can be horrific and annoying. Luckily, there’re three easy methods to deal with the problem.

Firstly, try tightening the handle and see if it works or not. If it fails, check the stem inside the handle and fix it with the thread-seal tape. Finally, fix or replace the entire faucet system to turn off the bathtub water.  When you fail to stop the water flow even after applying these three methods, consult the plumber.

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