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How To Replace A Bathtub Faucet

faucet experiencing low water pressure

A bathtub faucet is an essential component of any bathroom. It controls the flow of water and helps regulate the temperature of your bath. Over time, faucets can become outdated, corroded, or even malfunction, making it necessary to replace them. Replacing a bathtub faucet may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools, materials, and a little know-how, it is a project that can be completed by any homeowner. 

In this guide, we will walk you through the steps on how to replace the bathtub faucet, so you can upgrade your bathroom and restore the functionality of the faucet.

Tools and Materials

Before you can replace a bathtub faucet, you will need the following tools:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Basin wrench
  • Screwdrivers (Phillips and flathead)
  • Allen wrench
  • Plumber’s putty
  • Teflon tape
  • Bucket

You will also need the following materials:

  • New bathtub faucet
  • Replacement valve
  • Replacement spout
  • Replacement handles and trim (if necessary)
plumber gathers proper tools to replace faucet

Steps on How to Replace Bathtub Faucet

Shut off the Water Supply

Once you have your materials and tools ready, and before removing the old faucet, it is essential to shut off the water supply to prevent water from spraying out and causing damage. Water supply valves are typically located under the sink, in the basement, or on an access panel behind the bathtub. Shutting off the water supply will also allow you to inspect the existing plumbing for any damage or leaks.

To locate and shut off the water supply, follow these steps:

  • Look for the water shut-off valves under the sink or in the basement.
  • Turn the valve clockwise to shut off the water supply.
  • Turn on the faucet to release any remaining water in the pipes.

Remove Old Faucet

After you have successfully shut off the water supply, you will need to remove the old faucet. To do this, you have to:

  • Remove the handles: Use a screwdriver to remove the handles. The screws are usually located under a cap or cover that can be popped off with a flathead screwdriver.
  • Remove the trim: Use a wrench to loosen the nuts that hold the trim in place. You may need to use some force, as these nuts can be tight. Once the nuts are removed, you should be able to pull the trim off the wall.

To  remove the old spout and valve follow these steps:

  • Remove the spout: The spout is usually attached to the wall with a threaded collar or set screw. Use a wrench or pliers to loosen the collar or screw, and then pull the spout away from the wall.
  • Remove the valve: The valve is the part that controls the flow of water. To remove it, use a wrench to loosen the nuts that hold it in place. Once the nuts are removed, you should be able to pull the valve out of the wall.
  • Inspect the area: With the old faucet removed, inspect the area to ensure there are no leaks, cracks, or other damage. Clean any debris or residue left behind from the old faucet.

Be sure to take your time and use the proper tools to avoid damaging any components or causing leaks. Once the old faucet is removed, you can move on to preparing for the installation of the new faucet.

Prepare for Installation

Inspect and Clean the Area

man inspects and cleans old bathtub faucet area before replacing

Before starting any installation work, it is important to inspect and clean the area where the new faucet will be installed. Remove any old caulking or sealant around the bathtub and faucet, and clean the area thoroughly using a mild cleaner or soap and water. Make sure to remove any debris or residue that may interfere with the installation process.

Check for Compatibility with New Faucet

It is important to check the compatibility of the new faucet with the existing plumbing in your bathtub. Check the specifications of the new faucet, including the size and shape of the mounting plate, the type of valves used, and the size of the water supply lines. Compare these specifications with the existing plumbing to ensure a proper fit.

If the new faucet is not compatible with the existing plumbing, you may need to make some modifications to the plumbing or purchase an adapter to ensure compatibility.

Measure for Correct Installation

Measure the distance between the mounting holes in your bathtub to ensure that the new faucet will fit properly. Use a tape measure to measure the distance between the center of each mounting hole. This measurement will help you choose a faucet that will fit properly and prevent any leaks or other installation problems.

It is also important to measure the length of the water supply lines to ensure that they will reach the new faucet. If the water supply lines are too short, you may need to purchase longer lines or have them custom-made to ensure proper installation.

Installing New Faucet

Now that you have removed the old bathtub faucet, it’s time to install the new one. Here are the steps to follow to install a new bathtub faucet:

Install New Valve and Spout

  • Install the valve: Insert the new valve into the hole in the wall and secure it in place with the nuts provided. Make sure the valve is centered and level.
  • Install the spout: Screw the new spout onto the valve, making sure it’s tight and secure.
  • Apply plumber’s tape: Wrap a few layers of plumber’s tape around the threads of the spout and valve to ensure a tight seal.

Attach New Handles and Trim

  • Attach the trim: Place the trim onto the valve and secure it in place with the nuts provided. Make sure the trim is centered and level.
  • Attach the handles: Slide the handles onto the valve and secure them in place with the screws provided. Make sure the handles are level and facing the right direction.
  • Tighten everything: Use a wrench to tighten all the nuts and screws, making sure everything is snug and secure.

Test the New Faucet

woman tests new bathtub faucet is working after installing
  • Turn on the water supply: Slowly turn on the water supply to the bathtub and check for leaks.
  • Low water pressure: If the water pressure is low, first check if there is debris clogging the aerator. Unscrew the aerator from the faucet and clean it. If this doesn’t work, check the valve that controls the water pressure. Adjust the valve until the water pressure is at the desired level.
  • Test the hot and cold water: Turn on the hot and cold water to make sure they are working properly and there is no air in the pipes.
  • Test the diverter: If your new faucet has a diverter for a showerhead, test it to make sure it’s working properly.
  • Check for leaks: After running the water for a few minutes, check for any leaks around the faucet, handles, and spout. If there are any leaks, tighten the nuts and screws as needed.
  • No water coming out of the faucet: If no water comes out of the faucet, check if the shut-off valves are open. If they are, check for any blockages in the supply lines. Clear any blockages and turn on the water supply.

When to Call a Professional

If you have tried troubleshooting the faucet but the problem persists, it may be time to call a professional plumber. Here are some signs that you need to call a professional:

  • Multiple issues: If you are experiencing multiple issues with the faucet, it may be a sign of a larger problem. A professional plumber can assess the situation and provide the necessary repairs.
  • Complicated repairs: If the repairs require specialized tools or expertise, it’s best to call a professional. Attempting to make complicated repairs without the necessary knowledge and tools can lead to further damage.
  • Lack of progress: If you have tried troubleshooting the faucet but the problem persists, it’s time to call a professional. Continuing to work on the faucet without making progress can be frustrating and time-consuming.

Overall, it’s best to call a professional plumber if you’re unsure of how to fix the problem or if you’re experiencing multiple issues with the faucet. A professional can assess the situation and provide the necessary repairs to get your faucet working properly.

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