How to Repair a Leaky Faucet

That annoying drip is not only costing you precious sleep, it is costing you money. As a home owner, fixing leaky faucets, unclogging drains and other basic plumbing knowledge is essential for home maintenance. You cannot afford to call a plumber for every plumbing issue in your home, so you are going to need to learn how to handle some of the smaller issues on your own.

Repairing a leaky faucet is simple and requires no real experience in the plumbing field. Anyone can repair a simple leak by following these easy to follow steps.

Determine the Type of Faucet You Have

  • Your first step is to determine what type of faucet you have.
  • A compression faucet has two screw handles, one for cold and one for hot.
  • A ball faucet has a central swinging arm to control hot and cold temperatures. It contains a ball bearing.
  • A cartridge faucet also has one central swinging arm for temperature control, but contains a cartridge with a decorative cap.
  • A ceramic disk faucet has a central swinging arm and contains a ceramic cylinder.

You will need to take the faucets apart before determining which type you are working with in most instances.

  • Turn off the water to your faucet. Turn clockwise to shut off.
  • Plug the drain.

Compression Faucet

  • Remove each handle and pry off decorative cap if there is one. Unscrew the handles and remove them one by one.
  • Remove the nut holding the faucet in place. Underneath the nut you will find a stem that sits on top of an O-ring, which is on top of a washer. The washer is usually the culprit.
  • Pull out the stem to expose the O-ring and the washer. Replace the O-ring if the handle is leaky. Replace the washer if the faucet is leaky.
  • Bring the washer along with you to the store for replacement since they vary in size. Remember to coat the washer in plumbers grease well before replacing it back in place.

Ball Faucet

  • Remove the handles cap and collar.
  • Remove faucet cam, washer and ball.
  • Remove inlet springs and seals.
  • Replace the O-rings, making sure new ones are coated with plumbers grease.
  • Install new springs, cam washers and valve seats. (These are normally sold in a repair kit)

Cartridge Faucet

  • Remove the handle by tilting it backwards after it has been unscrewed.
  • Remove the retaining clip.
  • Pull the cartridge so that it is standing upright.
  • Remove faucet spout.
  • Replace O-rings.

Ceramic-Disk Faucet

  • Unscrew and remove the handle.
  • Remove the escutcheon cap found directly beneath the handle.
  • Pry out the seals and clean the cylinders with white vinegar.
  • Replace seals if they appear to be worn.

About Preferred Plumbing & Drain

Preferred Plumbing & Drain has been providing plumbing services to the Sacramento and surrounding areas since 2004. Preferred Plumbing & Drain is a Licensed Contractor (Contractors License #856944) and a PHCC member.

With Preferred Plumbing & Drain, the estimate is always free and there is no extra charge for nights, weekends, or holidays. There are no trip or travel charges. And you approve the estimate before any work is started.