If you have a leaking faucet, a replacement is a smart investment that may be less costly than waiting for the problem to worsen. Faucet repair is typically a simple matter of taking apart and reassembling the handle and internal parts, depending on your type of faucet.

Faucet Repair

Stretch a length of measuring tape between the mounting holes for your faucet and write down the measurement. This will help you determine the appropriate height and reach measurements for your sink and countertop. For professional assistance, call Joe’s Plumbing now!

Faucet leaks are a common problem and can happen to any faucet. Luckily, they’re usually easy to fix. Leaks often occur because of mineral buildup or worn seals. A few simple steps can fix most leaks, but if you’re having trouble, a professional plumber should inspect your pipes and make any necessary repairs.

Start by drying the faucet and checking for wet spots on the floor or ground around it. A wet spot indicates the faucet is leaking at its base or somewhere underneath it. If the leak is below the sink, it’s most likely a loose screw or a broken packing nut at the base of the valve stem. A screwdriver and a wrench should be enough to remove the screw or nut.

The next step is to check the cartridge or stem to see if it needs replacement. The movable part in most faucets controls the flow of water by pushing or pulling on a ball or disc inside a socket. A faulty cartridge can cause problems with hot and cold water mixing or even stop water from flowing at all. If you find a leak here, the best thing to do is replace the O-rings or washers and use plumber’s grease on them.

Once you’ve cleaned the cartridge and replaced the O-rings, reassemble the faucet. Make sure to put the adjusting ring back on, tightening it clockwise with the spanner tool provided in the repair kit. If the water is still leaking around the handle, it’s time to replace the seat and springs.

Depending on whether your faucet is a cartridge, ball or ceramic-disk type, the process will vary slightly. Cartridge faucets require you to remove the decorative handle cover and the screw beneath it. This is a good opportunity to clean the handle and its decorative cover, too. Then, use an Allen wrench to remove the handle screw and pull or pry it off. Be careful not to bang the handle free; it may stick because of corrosion. If it’s stuck, try wiggling it back and forth while trying to pry it off.

Check the Valve

There are a few places that can cause water to leak out of your faucet. Usually, it’s the result of internal parts that wear down over time like the inner seal, washer or O-ring. But sometimes it’s the result of loose fittings or a broken fitting somewhere else in your plumbing line. In either case, a simple fix is often all it takes to stop the problem.

Check the connections between the base of your faucet, the handles and the water supply lines. Periodically tighten any loose ones, but be careful not to overtighten as this can damage your faucet. Ensure the valves on your water supply are fully open and that any rubber seals around the base of your faucet are still water-tight. These can wear out over time due to age and exposure to hard water, and replacing them is an easy do-it-yourself repair job that should be done periodically.

Another common reason for leaks is corrosion, which can create small crevices that allow water to seep through. Regularly cleaning your faucet and particularly the screw threads where mineral buildup tends to collect, can help prevent this.

The valve seat is the other area that can be problematic if it’s worn out, damaged or corroded. It’s a good idea to pour white vinegar over the valve seat, let it sit and scrub it occasionally to keep this part in good working order.

In both cases, you’ll also want to make sure the O-ring is in good condition. This is a little easier to replace since you can do this while the faucet is disassembled. Once you’ve replaced the O-ring, reassemble your faucet in reverse order from when you took it apart and be sure to insert the cartridge stem up before the retaining clip (if there is one).

If you have a ceramic-disk cartridge faucet, you’ll need to reinstall the cleaned neoprene seals in the base of the disk cylinder. This is a good time to make sure the seals are in good shape, and it’s a good idea to bring the old ones with you to the hardware store when buying replacements so you can be sure to get the right type.

Check the Seals

The washers — which are small rubber or metal discs that create a watertight seal — in the faucet handle can break down over time, causing leaks. Inspect these for signs of wear or damage, and replace them as needed. Washers are often the first part to wear out, and they’re also easily damaged by exposure to hot water or chemicals.

The seat washer — located at the bottom of the stem and pressed against by the handle to close the valve — can also wear out or develop cracks, resulting in leaks. This washer is usually held in place with a screw, which you can remove with a flathead screwdriver to expose the seat washer underneath. If the seat washer is damaged, you can replace it with a new one by unscrewing the old washer and screwing the replacement in place.

You can also repair leaks caused by a worn-out cartridge by replacing the seals. This is a simple and inexpensive fix, but it’s important to know the type of faucet you have — Cartridge, ball, or ceramic-disk — because each model uses different parts.

If the faucet is a Cartridge model, you can remove the cartridge to inspect the O-rings and replace them as necessary. You can also replace the entire cartridge if it’s damaged or worn. A ceramic-disk faucet, on the other hand, has a dome-shaped cylinder that sits beneath the handle and contains neoprene seals. To get to these seals, push the faucet handle back to access a set screw and remove it. You can then unscrew the escutcheon cap and the disk cylinder mounting screws, and lift out the cylinder. Then, you can remove the neoprene seals and replace them with a fresh pair.

Before replacing the seals, make sure all the components are free of mineral deposits by cleaning them with a rag or sponge soaked in distilled white vinegar and water. You can also use penetrating oil to loosen rust or sediment stuck in the screw threads of the faucet’s handle. When reassembling the faucet, put the parts back in the order you removed them so that they’re easy to find when you need to replace them.

Replace the Seals

Whether your faucet is a rotary, ceramic disc, or cartridge style it is important to figure out where the leaks are coming from in order to make the repair. If it is from the spout, then a new valve seat or O-ring may be needed. If it is a cartridge, then the seals may be worn out and need to be replaced. If you are unsure, it is best to consult a plumber or take the faucet apart and remove the seals for inspection.

Before you begin, shut off the water supply to the faucet using the valves under the sink. If you don’t have access to these, turn off the water at the main valves in your home. Turning off the water will also allow the faucet to drain completely and prevent any leftover water from leaking or rusting any of the parts.

Next, you will need to disassemble the faucet handle and replace any faulty parts. Start by removing the decorative cap on the handle with a screwdriver and then loosening the handle screw and pulling the handle off. Use penetrating oil if the screw is corroded or stuck to help break up any rust or sediment that could be blocking it.

Once the handle is removed, you can see the stem and the large six-sided nut that holds it in place. You will need a wrench to loosen and then unscrew this nut, but it can be tricky to get the handle to come off. Be sure to keep track of the screw and nut so you can reassemble the faucet correctly.

Now you will need to remove the retaining clip and the dome assembly under the handle, as well as the metal handle adapter and plastic pivot stop. If the stem nut is tight, you can loosen it with a wrench and then lift out the entire stem assembly. Be careful not to lose the o-ring that connects the stem to the cartridge as it will need to be replaced when you reassemble the faucet. You can replace the o-ring with a sanitary o-ring from a plumbing supply store. If you need to, you can use plumber’s grease to help the o-ring seat properly.