How to Replace a Three-Handled Tub Faucet


Replacing your old, worn-out three-handle tub shower faucet, with a new model will improve the bath's appearance. Gaining access to the faucet is sometimes the most difficult part of the replacement process. You may have to cut an access opening in the wall behind the faucet. If the access is in a closet, installing an access panel will not be an issue.Cutting a hole in the hallway or dining area may necessitate a wall reconstruction project. You will have no problem if you are remodeling the entire bathroom. With the walls removed, you will have open access to all the pipes and fittings.

Things You'll Need

  • Pipe wrench
  • Tubing cutters
  • Copper fittings
  • Soldering tools
  • Pipe sealant
  • 2 pipe caps
  • 6-inch pipe nipple
  • Shut off the water supply to the house and the water heater. Open the outside spigot to drain the water lines below the faucet’s level. Open all three handles of the faucet to allow air into system so that it will drain.

  • Remove the faucet’s handles, trim, stems and tub spout. Getting everything out of the way will make removing the old three-handle tub faucet easier.

  • Disconnect the hot and cold supply line unions from the faucet with a pipe wrench.

  • Cut the shower raiser pipe with close-quarter copper tubing cutters. Make the cut 4 to 6 inches above the faucet manifold. The faucet will be loose now; pull the faucet out of the wall.

  • Install the new three-handle faucet unions onto the copper pipe. Depending on your faucet, you may have to solder on new copper adapters.

  • Remove the old tub spout and shower raiser pipes from the old faucet and install them on the new faucet manifold.

  • Install the new three-handle tub faucet in place of the old one. Connect the raiser pipe pieces by sweating a copper slip coupling between them.

  • Remove the shower head and shower arm from the shower raiser pipe and screw in a capped steel nipple. Screw a cap on the tub spout mounting pipe. These caps will help test all the concealed joints behind the wall.

  • Shut of the outside spigots, open the supply valve to the water heater, and turn the water back on to the house. Turn the all three of the faucet handles on. Check all your pipe joints for signs of water leakage.

  • Turn the faucet handles to their off positions; slowly remove the cap from the tub spout connection and let the water drain out. Remove the cap and nipple from the shower raiser, install the new shower arm and shower head. Install the new tub spout, faucet trim and handles. Caulk around the faucet trim and tub spout.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you do not how to solder, you can use Sharkbite slip fittings to make your pipe connections.
  • Remove the caps slowly, allowing the water pressure to drain out.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images
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