The bathtub faucet on the cold water side is doing something strange. When I turn the handle, nothing happens until I turn it a little more than half of the way around, then the water comes rushing out all at once. It's not happening on the hot side. This started a few days ago and seems to be getting worse.

I replaced both hot and cold stems and handles several months ago. Not sure if it's related to that but they seemed to be working fine up until now. I took the handles off and don't see any leaks or other strange behavior.

Any ideas?

Update: I took a shower today and the cold water side started out working fine. About 5 minutes into the shower, all the cold water went away, and I had to turn the handle really far again to get any cold water. And it was really hard to get just a little cold water. It was either a lot or none at all.

Here's a pic the faucet:

enter image description here

  • Does the faucet have ceramic disks or does it use rubber washers? Also, a photo of the faucet might help someone with an answer. Jun 7, 2019 at 14:29
  • @AndrewMorton I'm not sure. I don't recall seeing any ceramic so I'm guessing rubber.
    – d512
    Jun 7, 2019 at 19:07
  • Did anything else change with the plumbing a few days ago? For example, the kitchen cold water faucet might have become a bit weaker. Also, do the faucets in the bathroom hand basin work properly all time? Jun 7, 2019 at 20:04
  • @AndrewMorton I just checked all the other fixtures. The faucets in the kitchen and other bathroom seem fine. The cold water pressure on one of the sinks in the same bathroom as the tub does seem a little low. I don't normally use that sink so I can't say if that's out of the ordinary. The cold water pressure on the sink I normally use it quite good.
    – d512
    Jun 8, 2019 at 4:13

2 Answers 2


To me it sounds like the rubber washer is failing, these are on the base of the stem held in by a brass screw, they do change shape over time and they do fail especially if turned off with force, luckily most plumbing stores or home stores have kits that have the different sizes needed for home repairs for 5-10$ and they can have 20 or more pieces in the kit, there are 2 or 3 standard sized ones they look like little volcanos a disk with a solid cone and a hole down the center, most hose bibs use the same style but the larger diameter, there are also flat ones and yours may look flat because of being crushed but the 3 valve showers I have installed and serviced have all had the cone shaped washers.

  • I'll have a look. I hope it's that easy but I'd be a bit surprised given that I replaced that part just a few months ago. Maybe I installed something wrong?
    – d512
    Jun 9, 2019 at 18:18

Well, at Ed Beal's suggestion I went ahead and removed the stem. The washer was in pretty good condition however, the screw that keeps it in place at the end of the stem had come out. Not sure how that happened but once I put it back in, it started working correctly again.

Thanks for the help!

enter image description here

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