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Rick, Construction Supervisor
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 22002
Experience:  Licensed Master plumber with 40+ yrs. experience.
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I had a leaking faucet in my shower stall, and after some researching

Customer Question

I had a leaking faucet in my shower stall, and after some researching I found out it was a bad shower stem and was led to believe it was a relatively simple project. I followed the instructions online - shut off the water, removed bad stem and took to the local Ace hardware store. The stem was in horrible condition, corroded, gasket shot. The woman seemed knowledgable and after much consideration, found what she thought was the proper replacement. I brought it home, installed and found it still leaking, though not as bad and now the hand held shower head was leaking as well. I returned to the store and explained this to her and she suggested I change the cold water stem as well. I did and now BOTH faucets leak and the shower head has been leaking all night. The woman did say that if I knew the manufacturer of the old stem, she'd be more sure of the proper replacement parts. This is a shower stall in a rental property. I have no way of discerning the "make" without removing the entire shower stall - which doesn't seem feasible to me. In your opinion, would it be the stem is wrong, or maybe I was just over zealous in my installing the seat for the stem. I don't understand how the shower head is now leaking with both faucets in the full off position.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Plumbing
Expert:  Rick replied 6 years ago.
Welcome to Just Answer,

Remove the stems and check for any brass fragments that may have become embedded in the washer. If you have also replaced the seats as well as the stems also check to see if there is any impression in the washer which would indicate the stem is seating properly. Really crank on the handles (by hand) to try and leave an impression on the washer. If you have done all this and the valve still leaks then it's time for a new valve.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

I'm sorry, I thought the stem WAS the valve and that is what I replaced along with the seat.

Expert:  Rick replied 6 years ago.
The valve is the entire device. The stem is the part that is attached to the handle (it's what turns) and it has a washer on the end that compresses against a seat (sometimes replaceable) that is mounted in the valve body.