How to fix leaking faucet

Posted on: 2022-08-16 Last updated: 2022-12-02

Before you start

Before fixing a leaking faucet, there are some important steps to take for safety and comfort reasons. First of all, clear the working area around and underneath the faucet. It will make your experience more positive. Also, the area underneath the faucet you might want to clear of any items so that you have a clean working space.

Shut off water supply for the faucet

To avoid spilling much water, make sure to shut off all water supply lines which lead to the faucet. Water shut-off valves are usually located underneath the sink where the faucet is mounted. Make sure to block all lines including hot and cold water. Especially hot water supply is important to make sure is turned off.

Release water pressure

Open both, cold and hot water at the faucet to release pressure in the pipeline immediate to the faucet. Let the water flow down the drain.

Block water drain hole

Block the water drain hole with a piece of cloth or any other handy and reliable item. This needs to be done to save screws, gaskets, and other small things from falling into the drain pipeline.

Remove the faucet handle(s)

Depending on the construction of a faucet, there could be one or two water handles. You will want to take them off. If there is a screw cover, you will have to take it off. Depending on the screw type, you will want to use the right tool to unscrew it. Typically it will be a flat screwdriver or a Phillips screwdriver. Make sure to not lose the screw because it will be needed to assemble the faucet back.

Stem or Cartridge removal

The faucet stem or faucet cartridge is the part that in most cases found in modern faucets. Its purchase is to regulate how much hot and cold water flow. You will need to use a matching wrench to loosen the packing nut of the handle assembly. The nut you need to keep for later use. Then pull the faucet stem or cartridge straight out of the housing assembly.

New Cartridge or Stem installation

First of all, make sure the removed Cartridge or Stem o-ring, or gasket is damaged. If so, they must be the reason for the leak. If damaged, you need to find a replacement for the damaged o-ring or gasket which is the cheapest option. An alternative would be to replace the whole Cartridge or Stem. Regardless of the choice, you can use the removed part as a reference in a shot while looking for the right replacement part. Once a new part is purchased, you need to install it. Before installation, make sure to clean the housing and the part well to make sure there is no dust, dirt, or other elements which could damage the new part, o-ring, or a gasket. Gently install the new part into the housing and use the packing nut to fix it in place.

Install the faucet handle

Use the screw you kept to attach the faucet handle back to the faucet. Make sure to use just enough torque for the screw to sit in place firmly without stripping it's thread. At this stage, you might want to use some thread lock if you want. But usually, it is not necessary.

Test how it works

Clean any debris and remove the drain plug you installed earlier. Turn on the water lines. Turn on both, cold and hot water on the faucet and let the water flow for some time until all the air is out of the system. Close the water with the faucet handle and make sure it is not leaking.