The Ultimate Guide to
Fixing a Leaking Faucet
Before we dive into the topic on how to fix a leaking faucet, it is important to understand two things: What causes a faucet to drip? & the reasons why it is leaking.
1. What causes a faucet to drip?
There are few things more annoying than a leaky faucet. It’s a constant reminder that you’re wasting water, plus the drip, drip, dripping sound is beyond irritating, so without any more delays let’s look into the four kinds of faucets you may encounter:
- Ceramic disk and
- Ball type
A compression faucet relies on rubber washers to seal the valve seat, which can wear out and need to be replaced. With the other three types of faucets, either the O-ring or neoprene seal that’s causing the leak needs to be replaced. We’ll go over each of these fixes in more detail below.
2. The reasons why it is leaking
As for the reasons, There are a few that could make your faucet leak. How you decide to fix the problem depends on why the water is dripping. These are the top four reasons for a leaky faucet:
- Corrosion on the valve seat
- Build up on the valve parts and/or washers
- O-ring and seal wear and tear
- Other parts are loose
Before you start, shut off the water under the sink. This Old House suggests covering the drain with a rag to catch dropped parts, and establish a spot nearby to lay out the parts in the order of their removal. Tape the jaws of your wrench with a layer of duct tape to avoid scratching the fixture, and have some distilled white vinegar and a soft scouring pad ready for removing any mineral deposits found on the parts and don’t forget your handy tools such as: Flathead screwdriver, Allen wrench (or Hex wrench), Pliers, Channellock-Style Pliers, C wrench, O-rings and washers, Utility knife, Bucket and a plastic bin, Clean towels, dish detergent, plumber’s grease (lubricants), White vinegar, Q-tip, scouring pad, cloth rags, old toothbrush, and various cleaning implements and parts specific to your faucet type and/or faucet repair kit.
3. How To Fix a Leaky Cartridge Faucet:
- Pry off the decorative cap on the handle, remove the handle screw, tilt the handle back, and pull it off.
- If there’s a threaded retaining clip holding the cartridge in place, use needle-nose pliers to remove it, then pull the cartridge straight up.
- Remove the spout and cut off the old O-rings using a utility knife. Coat the new O-rings with nontoxic, heat-proof plumber’s grease.
- To replace the entire cartridge, match the length of the old cartridge with the length of the replacement. Also match the stem end where the handle attaches.
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