Tub Faucet Leaks during Shower

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum' started by manbehindthecurtain, May 22, 2009.

  1. May 22, 2009 #1
    Hello all,

    I believe I need to either replace my tub faucet or the diverter inside of it. My tub spout leaks quite a bit during showers.

    I saw a thread on this site from someone with a similar problem from a year ago, but my problem is that I cannot identify whether I have a slip type or screw on spout. There is a small hole on the underside of the spout up against the tiled wall, but there is no sign of an allen screw- I checked visually and with my finger, and it just feels like a flush rod of metal.

    I also tried using my bare hands to turn the spout counterclockwise, and it did not budge.

    Any thoughts on how to proceed? Is there a simple enough way to just shore up the quality of the diverter instead of replacing the whole spout?
     
  2. May 23, 2009 #2

    Redwood

    Redwood

    Redwood

    Certified Lunatic

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Messages:
    887
    Likes Received:
    0
    Use a light and a mirror to see better if there is a set screw.

    If there is not be stronger... You may have to crush the thin outside shell to use a holdback wrench to avoid damege to the pipes.
     
  3. May 23, 2009 #3

    So even though there is a hole that indicates there should be a screw, is it possible that there is no screw in there? Taking a pipe wrench to the thing seems like a great way to end up with a destroyed spout that I still can't get off.

    Is it possible to have a spout that has a hole for the allen screw, but it is really just the type that screws off?
     
  4. May 23, 2009 #4

    Redwood

    Redwood

    Redwood

    Certified Lunatic

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Messages:
    887
    Likes Received:
    0
    The hole is actually a drain designed to keep water from a leaking spout from getting back inside the wall causing damage. Hopefully people notice the leak soon enough and it should never be caulked closed.

    If you have done a good enough job of looking inside and are sure there is no screw then you do indeed have a spout that unscrews. The spout is being replaced anyway so the condition of it once removed does not matter. Spouts with the pull up diverter on the end are non-repairable items.

    If the spout does not unscrew easily there is a good chance that you could break the stub out extending out from the wall. I usually break the thin outer shell of the spout with my channel lock pliers then use a holdback wrench on the stubout to prevent damage to the pipe. Who caes about the spout its garbage!
     
  5. Jun 1, 2009 #5

    Nestor_Kelebay

    Nestor_Kelebay

    Nestor_Kelebay

    Emperor Penguin

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1,844
    Likes Received:
    2
    I would take the most cautious route; you don't want to damage that copper stub-out pipe the spout probably was slipped on to.

    I would assume the worst and presume you have a set screw in there that you can't see (or maybe the screw broke so you can't see any hex). In either case, if the spout doesn't slip off, then presume the set screw is still gripping the pipe, and break the spout away around the pipe.

    If you twist on that spout with a pipe wrench, an unseen set screw could end up leaving a deep cut all around that stub out pipe, and that's not good news for you. You're a lot better off cutting away the plastic of the old spout with a hot soldering iron (or whatever) than having to fix or replace that copper pipe.

    Here's an excerpt from a post I wrote several months ago to a guy in Scotland that wanted to replace his existing tub spout with one that would accomodate a hand shower. I think it'll be of interest to you:

    "Look on the bottom of your existing bathtub spout right near the wall and see if you can find an opening. If there's an opening at the bottom of the spout, you should find a set screw inside it that's holding the spout on. If you find such a set screw, then you have a "slip on" spout, and you remove it by loosening that set screw and pulling the spout off of a short piece of copper pipe sticking out of the wall. If there is no opening, you remove the spout by unscrewing it.

    (I have never seen a spout with an opening, but no set screw. If there is an opening, I'd presume there's a set screw that's broken, and only the point is sticking into the copper pipe.)

    If you have a slip-on spout, then phone Moen customer service and ask if they sell a diverter spout identical to the Moen 3931, but with a hand held shower attachment. Alternatively, ask if they have a "screw on" spout identical to the 3926 with a hand held shower attachment.

    The Moen 3931 has three features that make it superior to every other slip on spout I know of:

    1) It has a "cup seal" (aka: "cup washer") in the diverter gate that "inflates" with water when you pull up the diverter. As the cup washer inflates, the front of it pushes against the end of the copper supply pipe so that NO water leaks out and the higher the water pressure, the tighter the seal at the end of the supply pipe. That is, it uses the water pressure itself to seal off the end of the end of the pipe the spout is mounted on. Preventing water leakage out that pipe ensures ALL of the water comes out the shower head, and that ensures you get the best shower performance. The 3926 is the same in this respect.

    2) It has a "yoke" which clamps around the copper pipe rather than a set screw that just tightens up against the copper pipe. This yoke distributes the tightening force much more uniformly around the entire circumference of the copper pipe, thereby greatly lessening the liklihood of damaging the copper pipe with the set screw.

    3) A "repair kit" for the Moen 3931 is available free of charge from Moen in case any of the moving parts on the spout ever need replacing. Just ask for Moen Part # 10644. (it also fits the 3926)
    Product detail: 10644

    The above web page says the suggested list price on the repair kit is $11.65, but if you phone Moen and tell them the cup washer on your spout is torn and leaking, they'll send you a repair kit free.

    If you see Moen diverter spouts for sale in your local hardware store, check to see that the name "Moen" is molded right into the plastic the spout is made of. If you don't see that name, then the spout is made offshore (in China) and doesn't have that patented "cup washer" in it, and won't work as well as one that does. That is, lots of water will spill out the tub spout when you're having a shower."
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2009
  6. Jun 1, 2009 #6

    Redwood

    Redwood

    Redwood

    Certified Lunatic

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Messages:
    887
    Likes Received:
    0
    And I have seen plenty!
    In fact every one I have on my truck has an opening!

    Breaking off the outer shell is the most cautious route as it will expose the slip on clamp if there is one. If the screw is not visible from the bottom it already has turned and gouged the copper tube.
     
  7. Jun 2, 2009 #7

    Nestor_Kelebay

    Nestor_Kelebay

    Nestor_Kelebay

    Emperor Penguin

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1,844
    Likes Received:
    2
    My own experience with tub spouts is that only the slip-on spouts have the openings at the bottom of the spout. And, from what I've seen with tub spouts, the only purpose in having that opening at the bottom is to provide access to the set screw.

    None of the screw on spouts I've ever had the pleasure of meeting ever had a similar opening at the bottom. Only slip-on spouts have those openings 'round here.

    If you've got companies making tub spouts in your area that screw on, but still have openings at the bottom just like slip-on spouts do to access a non-existant set screw, those companies are just creating problems. People aren't going to know what kind of spout they have, or have confidence in how to remove it without damaging anything.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2009
  8. Jun 2, 2009 #8

    Redwood

    Redwood

    Redwood

    Certified Lunatic

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Messages:
    887
    Likes Received:
    0
    The purpose of the hole is to provide a means of drainage should the faucet leak without allowing water to go back inside the wall. Water getting back inside the wall is one of the reasons why you should only caulk on the top half of the spout if you do caulk a spout at all.

    IPS Spout
    [​IMG]

    Slip on spout
    [​IMG]

    Incidently most slip on spouts use the same body as the IPS spout with a plastic slip on adapter screwed into the IPS spout body.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2009
  9. Jun 2, 2009 #9

    Nestor_Kelebay

    Nestor_Kelebay

    Nestor_Kelebay

    Emperor Penguin

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1,844
    Likes Received:
    2
    Well, life is full of surprises and that's something I haven't seen until now...a screw on spout with a hole to access a non-existant set screw at the bottom.

    I'm thinking that the real purpose of the hole in that screw-on spout is just to save the manufacturer a bit of money. Using the same part for every spout they make saves them from having to keep stock and inventory of multiple parts.

    Having that hole at the bottom of a screw-on spout like that doesn't do any harm, but if it wuz my decision, for the tiny bit of money saved, I'd use a spout without a hole. Having that hole there on a screw-on spout is just gonna create confusion on what kind of spout it is and how to remove it without harming the pipe it's mounted on. There's no visible set screw, but the homeowner isn't gonna conclude there isn't one. He'll be cautious and wonder if the set screw has moved around the pipe or whatever so that it's just no longer visible or easily accessible.

    I'm actually a little surprised that the company making these spouts is using the same part for both types of spouts. They should be aware that they're likely to create a lot of confusion for no good reason. Certainly, if some company started packaging different heart medications in similar containers with similar labels that could easily be confused, they'd realize the potential risk of ending up in court over an "accidental" death.

    Maybe they're more careful not to provide access holes at the bottom of screw-on spouts up here in Canada because they're aware that we're easily confused up here, and don't have a long enough attention span to check for a set screw after already having checked for a set screw access hole. I dunno, but:

    a) I acknowledge that I can see that the screw-on spout DOES have a set screw access hole in your photo, and

    b) I don't think it's a good idea for the manufacturer of those spouts to be using the same part for both spouts. That practice is more likely to create confusion than save them any money. It's just kinda irresponsible in my view.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2009
  10. Jun 2, 2009 #10

    Redwood

    Redwood

    Redwood

    Certified Lunatic

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Messages:
    887
    Likes Received:
    0
    I imagine you prefer having any leakage go behind the wall before there is any indication of a leak...

    To me that would be irresponsible...
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2009
  11. Jun 3, 2009 #11

    Nestor_Kelebay

    Nestor_Kelebay

    Nestor_Kelebay

    Emperor Penguin

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1,844
    Likes Received:
    2
    You'll just have to believe me, Redwood.

    Where I live, I've never seen a screw-on tub spout with a hole in the bottom to provide access to a non-existant set screw.

    What you have there is a company that's simply using the same cover on their screw-on tub spouts as they do on their slip-on tub spouts, and I don't think that's a good practice. If a home owner sees a hole to access a set screw, but doesn't find a set screw, he's going to be reluctant to conclude there isn't a set screw. Instead, he's going to wonder (as you suggested in an earlier post) if the set screw has rotated on a collar and is no longer visible from the bottom.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2009
  12. Jun 3, 2009 #12

    Redwood

    Redwood

    Redwood

    Certified Lunatic

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Messages:
    887
    Likes Received:
    0
    I believe you Nestor...

    But most of the spouts I see are the type I described.
    The fact that their production can be limited to one spout fits all with and adapter lowering product costs is attaractive as well as having the drain hole that allows any leakage to land on the wet side of the wall without causing water damage is also attractive.

    The clamp can easily be seen through the hole in the bottom even if it has been rotated by brute force.

    Sometimes people just need to look before they proceed and it saves them money...
     

Share This Page