I can’t turn the HOT water off

Faiucet seat

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 28 seconds

Hot side failure

Hot side failure

OK, so you own your home and you know that there are some fairly simple systems that work together to keep you warm, safe and sound.

  1. Electrical. (If you can keep the smoke in the wires everything works out)
  2. HVAC. (Why does the AC only fail on the hot days after hours?)
  3. Plumbing. (Sewage goes downhill to a treatment plant, and fresh hot and cold water magically appear with the flip of my hand or twist of the wrist

Today we talk about what happens when the water you want to stop from coming out of a faucet, wont stop on command no matter how hard you want it too. I like to include this in the “Stump the Plumber” series.

The problem

A friend called to report this problem with his shower valve. It turns out it was the two handle type that is no longer up to code. Code requires a pressure balanced non scalding valve and they have a single handle. These type valves have cartridges to replace.

I had him send me an image. I figured that I could save a trip by knowing what sort of faucet I was getting into. I stopped by my local hardware store and picked up a faucet stem and seat combination that was the most likely replacement.

The fix

Faiucet seat

Faucet seat

I had loaded up some specialty tools and headed out.

  1. Faucet washers
  2. Seat removal tool
  3. Shower wrenches
  4. Multi tip screwdriver

Once I arrived I went to the hot water heater to shut it off. Then to the faucet. After pulling it all apart I noticed that besides the washer being chewed up, the seat had failed. I reached into my kit and found the correct one and replaced it. In this case the stem was not correct so I ended up returning it.

Naturally after turning it all on again it worked perfectly.

In the “old days”, (thirty years ago) seats were a permanent part of the faucet. Plumbers would need to grind a new flush face or replace the entire fixture. These days we have it easy.

Whenever you have to replace a faucet washer, look into the faucet with a flashlight if necessary to make sure the face of the seat is smooth and undamaged. In the event that it is galled in any way, replace the seat too.


Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about proactive home care, click here to email me directly, or call 208-639-1808

If you or someone you know could potentially use our services, or just wants to speak to a trustworthy contractor please contact me, you’ll be glad you did.

Disclaimer: Some of these images came from the WEB. If they are yours, and you object to them being used, please claim them and I will gladly remove and replace them at once.

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