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Can you help my plumbing problem? -With pictures!
Old 03-31-2008, 09:07 AM   #1
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Can you help my plumbing problem? -With pictures!

Well, I'm too lazy/cheap to get a plumber, so I'm hoping that someone here can help me -- or at least point me to a good web site.

My shower has two separate hot/cold valves. The hot water one especially is leaking around the handle. I removed the screw from the handle, but I can't seem to get the handle itself off. I don't know if it is corroded on -- the fixtures are probably 20 years old and there is a fair amount of corrosion in general. I've tried whacking it lightly with a hammer as well as attempting to pry it off.

Any thoughts, or just get a real plumber in?

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And I thought I'd get more hits if my title was something that the dirty old men on the board couldn't resist commenting on...
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Old 03-31-2008, 09:14 AM   #2
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https://www.hardwareworld.com/Faucet...r-p38H0PM.aspx

Here's a picture of the cheap tool you need - available at any building supply store.
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Old 03-31-2008, 09:30 AM   #3
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The handle itself might not be the cause of the problem. It's more likely the valve inside or the washer that keeps the assembly sealed. Here are instructions on how to dissasemble everything and change out the washer. Just remember to shut off the water beforehand. These are the instructions I followed before calling in the plumber.

Repair a Leaky Faucet | DoItYourself.com
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Old 03-31-2008, 09:52 AM   #4
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Those handles do get corroded on. Try wiggling it up and down and side to side to flex the corrosion. You might also be able to heat it with a propane torch, if you have one to expand the faucet handle base. Don't overheat it and damage the washer, though.
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Try PB Blaster
Old 03-31-2008, 10:02 AM   #5
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Try PB Blaster

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kronk View Post
Well, I'm too lazy/cheap to get a plumber, so I'm hoping that someone here can help me -- or at least point me to a good web site.

My shower has two separate hot/cold valves. The hot water one especially is leaking around the handle. I removed the screw from the handle, but I can't seem to get the handle itself off. I don't know if it is corroded on -- the fixtures are probably 20 years old and there is a fair amount of corrosion in general. I've tried whacking it lightly with a hammer as well as attempting to pry it off.

Any thoughts, or just get a real plumber in?
----

I had a similar situation at my parents' condo...the fixtures were about 30 years old and had never been disassembled.

The guy at the plumbing store told me to get a can of PB Blaster (which I found at a local auto parts store for about $6)... and give the fixtures a good spraying of PB and let sit for several hours. (I tried to help it along, by gently tapping on the fixtures as well.) After a few hours of 'soak time', everything came apart easily.

PB Blaster works by capillary action, so it sort of 'crawls' into the corroded areas.

A friend borrowed my can of PB Blaster last week to take off a corroded aluminum rear wiper arm on his '02 Explorer. Same thing. He'd been 'wrenching' on it with no success. He soaked the joint with PB Blaster and the next day it came apart easily.

The toughest part is to have a little patience to let the stuff work.

omni
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Old 03-31-2008, 10:17 AM   #6
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Those handles do get corroded on. Try wiggling it up and down and side to side to flex the corrosion. You might also be able to heat it with a propane torch, if you have one to expand the faucet handle base. Don't overheat it and damage the washer, though.
Oh yes the propane torch trick... Then the house burns down. Boy would his wife be pi$$ed then! And to think I was messing up the laundry!
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Old 03-31-2008, 10:17 AM   #7
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I'd agree that a blast of a good penetrator like th PB suggested will likely help and the faucet handle puller should get it off if it still resists after a good long soak. Then the fun part starts. What else do you have to screw up to fix the leak?!
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Old 03-31-2008, 10:28 AM   #8
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Any thoughts, or just get a real plumber in?
What, so you can learn some new four-letter vocabulary?

You're getting good advice. You might even be able to work a WD-40 straw around the back of the handle and squirt it in the screw hole from there. Overnight might be all you need.

Once you get the handle off, if you're really really lucky you'll be able to tighten the adjusting nut and stop the leak. If you're having my kind of day you'll learn that the water has sprayed back into the wall behind the faucet and started to rot the wall of the adjoining room. If you're not lucky then spray more WD-40 onto the plumbing joints while you plan your next step.

If you can't identify the faucet manufacturer/model then try taking measurements and printing out more photos for the Home Depot/Lowe's plumbing aisle. Their repair books include a lot of pictures/samples and their returns policies are pretty liberal. If you can ID the cartridge then it's probably better to replace the whole thing.

If you're lucky enough to have a local water shutoff valve for the shower then you're golden. Otherwise you'll have to have a backup plan for what to do if you shut off the water to the entire house and the repair turns into a disaster. I don't want to get into how I learned this.

BTW, once you start a thread like this you have to update it at least every 24 hours or we may get worried enough to initate search & rescue...
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:13 AM   #9
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Otherwise you'll have to have a backup plan for what to do if you shut off the water to the entire house and the repair turns into a disaster.
Brief aside... So my FIL (94 yr old, post stroke) decided to play plumber and after a couple days at it called me to come over this past Sat. He supposedly took the shower head off to clean out sediment. I get there and he's dismantled his sink and cabinet and removed the faucet. Oddly enough, the shower head looks OK. Turns out he'd shut off the water for the whole house for 2 days. They'd been hauling buckets from the neighbor's house to cook, clean and flush for 2 days. Suprised MIL put up with it without telling us. We call every day and they never mentioned it. I got it up and running and all back into shape in a couple of hours. I mean he had saws and hammers, screwdrivers, socket wrenches, nearly every tool from the garage piled up in that bathroom. Man, we've got to keep a close eye on them.
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:18 AM   #10
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I don't want to get into how I learned this.
So happy to learn that I'm not the only one....
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:42 AM   #11
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Oh yes the propane torch trick... Then the house burns down. Boy would his wife be pi$$ed then! And to think I was messing up the laundry!
newguy, put down the torch and step away from the plumbing..............and keep your hands where I can see them.........
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:55 AM   #12
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Wow, 9 responses in a couple of hours. You guys have nothing to do are awesome!

Since I had some 3-in-1 oil around, I dribbled some of that around there. I'll look for PB Blaster next time I'm shopping (which is practically never ). That faucet handle puller thing looks like a good thing, too.

There is a local shutoff for the water. In fact, we've been using the shower and shutting it off when not in use. Good side: no drip. Bad side: easier to be lazy about fixing it.

I think the previous owners of our house put the shower in themselves. There is a shower and linen closet right next to it. The plumbing comes up right in the linen closet, covered by 1/4" plywood with a little access door. Frankly, the whole shower should be replaced. Large scale project (pay someone to do it): knock out wall to adjoining walk-in closet, put in a whirlpool tub and replace the shower. Not sure if we'll ever bother with all that, though...
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Old 03-31-2008, 12:05 PM   #13
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You're lucky to have the access. I had to knock a hole in the wall to replace my shower valve. That got me the pleasure of learning to patch dry wall.
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Old 03-31-2008, 05:05 PM   #14
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I think I'd install a trap door an access panel, to avoid that kind of thing in the future..
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Old 03-31-2008, 05:18 PM   #15
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I used to live in a Fish Camp - with a well/pump house. 1979 to 2005, I learned a lot of er 'fun stuff.'

Post Katrina - when the sump pump had a minor problem here in Missouri - I used the yellow pages and called a plumber.

And that badda bing badda boom is what being a cheap bastard early on(past tense) and time in the market can do for you.

heh heh heh - .
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Old 04-01-2008, 11:19 AM   #16
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I think I'd install a trap door an access panel, to avoid that kind of thing in the future..
Yeah, thought about that several months later. How stupid was I?
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Old 04-01-2008, 11:42 AM   #17
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Those handles do get corroded on. Try wiggling it up and down and side to side to flex the corrosion. You might also be able to heat it with a propane torch, if you have one to expand the faucet handle base. Don't overheat it and damage the washer, though.
Going to make a mess if the handle is made of plastic and make sure your water is turned off before taking the valve out.
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Old 08-08-2008, 12:12 PM   #18
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Just in case anyone was interested... Problem has been resolved. One of my TKD students is a plumber, so I hired him to do the work. Turns out that these were not actually the standard handle-comes-off type. The whole thing (the stem?) had to unscrew from the pipe. We were better off replacing the whole mechanism (fine by me; as you can see it was ugly). So we did that. Or I watched and we chatted, and I learned things about CPVC and shark bites and such. Now, no leaks!

The project was beyond my abilities, and was happy to find someone to do it. I also can't believe I posted this over four months ago...
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Old 08-08-2008, 12:34 PM   #19
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The project was beyond my abilities, and was happy to find someone to do it. I also can't believe I posted this over four months ago...

Thanks for saying that - I thought I was going nutz.
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Old 08-08-2008, 12:43 PM   #20
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Thanks for saying that - I thought I was going nutz.
Don't let me stop you from thinking you're going nuts. You could be completely off your rocker for all I know...
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