Our bathtub spout leaked. Today I decided to fix it. Our eight-year-old son assisted; I paid him minimum wage and, because these things never go as smoothly as expected, he earned a cool $21.75 for three hours of work. That’s a lot of cash for an eight-year-old, but he skipped three hours of after-school playtime, stayed focused, and learned how to fix some plumbing. He earned it.
The leak stopped: success. But now the diverter doesn’t work right. The diverter is, in our three-handle shower/bath, the knob that directs the water either to the spout or to the showerhead. The trouble now is that the showerhead constantly dribbles no matter what the diverter’s set to, and since I’ve already replaced the old washers I’m going to have to replace the entire diverter. Which is doable but requires another trip to Lowes.
Below is a series of photos showing how the rest of the job progressed.
First I killed the water downstairs and drains the faucets.
Then I removed the face-cap of the handles and unscrewed the screws hidden within, allowing me to pull the handles off.
But the handles were stuck. I used a blow drier, hot as it would go, to expand and contract the inner parts and loosen the handles.
It worked on one handle but the other two were jammed tight, so I bought a $10 faucet puller that worked great. Once the handles were off, I removed a nut on each so the escutcheons would come free. Escutcheon is a fancypant word for the protective plate under the handles.
Next I unscrewed the entire stem assemblies from the pipes in the wall.
The stems were good so all I did was clean them up, lubricate them with a little plumber’s grease, and replace the washers on the end.
Like I said, once I had it all reassembled, the leak was 100% fixed. But somewhere along the way the diverter got goofed and I think it must be the part itself, or possibly a piece called the “seat” inside the wall pipe. I’ll inquire at Lowes and see what the plumbing guy thinks. Update tomorrow…