How to get into a faucet?
May 8, 2019 9:49 AM   Subscribe

We're trying to fix a leak and unscrewed the faucet handle, but don't see another screw to remove the handle? Do we need a puller tool? (picture inside)

We have an old shower faucet that is leaking, so we wanted to try to fix it ourselves. It's older plumbing, probably at least from the 80s, so we think it's a compression valve. We watched a video and turned off the water and removed the screw from the cold faucet handle. But we can't figure out how to remove the handle (it still turns on and off, seems strongly seated, don't see any other screws), and wonder if we need a puller tool. Here's a picture, hopefully. Any thoughts?
posted by ldthomps to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You will need to pull the handle off. It's probably gunked on the stem of the valve. Underneath you'll find a packing gland surrounding the stem.
posted by notsnot at 10:01 AM on May 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

You could use a flat wooden (to avoid marring the fixture) piece inserted between the handle and the base to gently pry up the handle.

If you have a tongue depressor or two, or popsicle sticks even better, you could open the valve fully, insert as many thicknesses of wood between handle and base as possible on two sides of the screw hole, then gently close the valve and that should lift the handle off the valve stem.
posted by jamjam at 10:25 AM on May 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

IME you're going to need the actual tool, helpfully called a faucet handle puller.

The black part you stick into the hole, and the silver tongs go behind the handle. You then screw it down, pulling the handle off.
posted by aspersioncast at 11:37 AM on May 8, 2019

I'd try a good spray of WD40 and a hard pull.
posted by howfar at 11:43 AM on May 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Those usually just pull right off. A faucet pulled would make easy work of it but I’ve never needed one. A big, flat screwdriver with the tip wrapped in duct tape (to prevent scratches) would probably work.

Also try the other handle first. It might come off easier and give you a better idea of how it should work.
posted by The Deej at 3:27 PM on May 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

jamjam's method above works. Open the valve all the way. Jam something tight under the handle. When you close the valve, the stem pulls away from the handle. You are using the valve itself as a puller.
posted by JackFlash at 4:00 PM on May 8, 2019

On the other hand, a puller is cheap, lasts forever, and will allow you to be a hero to younger friends and coworkers on rare occasions. Though, come to think of it, I have never used the one I bought back in the early 90's a second time... Anyway, if the trick fails, the puller will not fail (though you may have to fiddle a bit with it).
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 6:05 PM on May 8, 2019

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