Plumbing Question

Just this morning, I was turning off the cold water at my upstairs sink, and turned the faucet handle a little too far. The water surged back to life, so I brought the handle around for another turn - the water lost some flow, but would not shut off.

Water continued to pour from the faucet until I had time to limp downstairs (my month-old ankle sprain still causing some occasional tenderness) and grab the Robogrip and return to shut off the cutoff valve.

Haven’t had time to really look at it, had to get to work - but what kind of problems might I expect to have caused this? Stuff I can fix all by my lonsome, or will I have to recruit a plumber?

Best case that I’ve encountered, IANAP: have to change the rubber ring.

Worst case, have to change the faucet, yay!

Neither actually requires a plumber, but if you’re as bad of a handyman as my Dad was get one.

To me, it sounds like you stripped the faucet handle. The good news is that new handles are fairly cheap. The bad news is that there are a gazillion types of valve stems, all with different patterns. So bring the old one with you on your pilgrimage to the hardware store/plumbing supply outlet.

You may be able to get way with just tightening the screw holding down the faucet. At least for a while.

Thanks for the input - also talked to some folks at work. This may be something I can handle myself… I’ll have to take a look this evening.

Sounds like it’s not stripped per se, but you managed to turn it past the “full on” stop and the threads disengaged. If you’re not aware of what’s happened, you won’t know to push downward while turning - the water pressure has pushed the stem out of the faucet body as far as possible. Fortunately “as far as possible” is usually only a 16th of an inch or so as it’s all contained by the “bonnet” - the large nut that you’d have to unscrew to get the stem out in order to replace the washer.

With the water off, it should be simple enough to fiddle the threads back together and get the thing shut off again.

Even if you are successful at getting it back together, you might want to consider saving up to have the faucet replaced. If it’s worn to the point that you can go past the stops, it’s pretty much worn out.

Good news is that faucets are usually very simple to replace. The difficulties to expect are:

Everything’s all grotty and corroded and bonded for life.
You’ve got antique plumbing that doesn’t easily match up to modern stuff.
It’s freaking awkward to lay on your back under the sink and reach up to the thing.

Hmm… I dunno, I’d say I turned it past the “full off” stop, based on what I observed, if there is such a thing.