What Is A Faucet Stem?

person turning on cold water and filling glassFewer sounds can be as distracting (or soothing depending on your point of view) as hearing water drip-drop down the sink, especially when you’re in the middle of a meditation pose! You mentally schedule a call to a plumber near you to have it checked out.

However, if you know how to do some essential plumbing work, you might not need to call one after all. Some plumbing repair works are simple to do yourself. Fixing a leaking faucet stem falls under this category of “easy-to-do” plumbing repairs.

But first, what is a faucet stem?

In layman’s terms, a faucet stem refers to the connectors attaching the faucet to the water pipes embedded in the walls. You can quickly identify the faucet stem by counting the number of splines on the broach and comparing the count against a particular chart designed solely for this purpose.

Stem faucets are known as “washer-type faucets’’ or “compression faucets.” They typically have two handles – one for cold water and the other for hot water.

Faucet stem repairs or replacements are some of the more common plumbing repairs homeowners would have to make periodically.

So how do you replace a faucet stem?

Steps In Replacing Faucet Stems

If you are dexterous and can follow instructions, then these tips would be beneficial to you in replacing a faulty shower stem

Turn off the water supply to the faucet. Do this by shutting the supply valve controlling the water supply to that particular faucet. Or shut off the main valves that supply water to the house.

After shutting off the water supply, open the faucets so trapped water can drain out from the lines.

Remove the faucet handle. To do this, begin by removing both the screw and the cap covering the faucet handle with a screwdriver or a pair of pliers.

After removing the faucet handle, your next step will be to loosen the packing nut (or lock nut) with an adaptable crescent wrench.

Now, after removing the packing nut, remove the stem from the faucet by threading it out.

The stem usually has a washer fastened to its underside with a screw. These washers are susceptible to wear and tear as time goes by. There will need to be periodic replacements.

Install the replacement faucet stem by threading it back into the faucet.

Fix the packing nut (lock nut) next. Ensure the lock nut fits just right. Too tight, and it won’t be easy to turn the faucet. Too loose, and water would end up leaking from the faucet stem.

Turn the water back on and check if there are any leaks around the faucet stem. If there are none, you can fix any decorative caps or bonnets previously removed.

If any of the above steps prove too challenging for you to follow, do not fret! Sometimes all you have to do is get expert help.

If you need a qualified plumber near you, call us today at Captain Plumber.