Repairing a Leaky Faucet

Instructions on how to Repair a Leaky Faucet

By Mark J. Donovan

Most homeowners can repair a leaky faucet on their own. The basic tools required for repairing a leaky faucet include a Philips screwdriver, a small common screwdriver, common pliers, needle nose pliers and a wrench.

Repairing a Two Handle Leaky Faucet

The first thing you want to do in repairing a leaky two handle faucet is to turn off the water supply lines at the valves located under the sink. Make sure you turn off both supply lines.

Note that if you have a two handle faucet and want to isolate what faucet handle is causing the leak turn off one supply line and check if the faucet leak stops.

If it does not stop leaking turn off the other supply line and see if the faucet leak stops (it better). Knowing which faucet handle leaks will save you some work.

Next, turn the hot and cold faucet handles to the ON position to make sure that the supply lines are indeed off.

Remove the cap cover from the top of the faucet handle that is causing the leak. The small common screwdriver may come in handy here to remove the cap.

Next, using a Philips screwdriver remove the screw that holds the handle to the faucet valve stem.

Once the screw has been removed, use a wrench to unscrew the nut that secures the faucet valve stem to the faucet.

How to Fix a Leaky Faucet

Now, using pliers, pull the valve stem out of the faucet. This may require a little tugging.

Once your have removed the valve stem, you should see a rubber washer sitting on top of a small spring in the valve stem housing located in the faucet. Pull this out with a pair of needle nose pliers. Usually it is this rubber washer/spring assemble that gets worn out and is the cause of the leak.

If there is no rubber washer assembly as part of the valve assembly the entire valve assembly will have to be replaced.

Take the washer/spring assembly, along with the valve stem to the hardware store and find a replacement for either the washer/spring assembly, or the entire valve assembly if there was no washer/spring assembly in the faucet.

To re-assemble the faucet, simply place the rubber washer on top of the narrow end of the spring and using your screwdriver as a guide slide it into place into the valve stem housing area. The wide end of the spring should rest at the base of the valve assembly housing.

Next install the valve stem (use the new valve stem if a washer/spring assembly was not used in the original valve assembly) in the valve stem housing and secure with the nut you had earlier removed.

How to Install a New Faucet Ebook

Now slide the faucet handle back on top of the valve stem and secure it with the screw.

Push the plastic or metal cap back into place on top of the faucet handle.

Finally turn the supply lines back on and check to see that the faucet leak has been repaired.

Repairing a Single Handle Mixing Leaky Faucet

The steps for repairing a leaky single handle mixing faucet are very similar to what were explained above, however the culprit is usually a worn out O-ring.

Using similar steps mention above, after turning off the water remove the handle assembly. Typically there is a small screw located in the back of the faucet handle or underneath a plastic or metal cover.

Next remove the nut that holds the valve assembly to the faucet-housing unit.

Take the valve assembly to the hardware store and find either an entire valve assembly, or the O-rings that are associated with the particular faucet manufacturer and model.

Install the new valve assembly into the faucet housing, or replace the O-rings on the existing faucet valve assembly prior to reinstalling it.

Secure the valve assembly with the nut and reinstall the handle.

Turn the supply lines back on and test to see if you have successfully repaired the leaky faucet. With a little luck your leaky faucet is a thing of the past.

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