How to Repair a Leaky Faucet

Repair a leaky faucetIt may be the most cliché home issue in existence but just about everyone has had to suffer through the pains of a leaky faucet. It’s amazing how such an innocent issue can drive homeowner’s crazy and many find themselves paying a plumber to fix an issue when almost anyone can repair a leaky faucet themselves.

Note: There are several types of faucets on the market. The following steps apply to traditional compression faucets that contain two hot and cold water handles. If you start working on your faucet and the steps don’t make sense, you likely have a different style of faucet.

Steps to Repair a Leaky Faucet

  1. Shut off the main water supply to the faucet. To be extra careful, shut off the main water supply to the house and your hot water heater as well.
  2. Disassemble the faucet. There should be a screw on the top or side of the faucet but they can be hidden by a decorative cap on some models. Loosening these screws with a Philips-head screwdriver should allow for easy disassembly of the faucet.
  3. Use a padded pair of plyers (pad with electrical tape) to remove the stem of the faucet. Make sure you pad your pliers or you could scratch the finish on your faucet. Unscrew any nuts to lift or unscrew the stem from its base.
  4. Take this time to clean the opening for the stem with white distilled vinegar.
  5. Examine any threads on the stem. If they are stripped, bent or missing you can carry it to a hardware store to have it matched and replaced.
  6. Loosen the nut of screw at the bottom of the stem to gain access to the washer seat and O-ring.
  7. Locate the washer seat and O-ring inside of the faucet. You can likely tell if it is torn or otherwise worn out.
  8. Remove the damaged washer seat or O-ring and replace it with a new one. Lubricate the washer seat with plumber’s grease.
  9. Carefully reassembly the faucet in reverse order.
  10. Turn the water back on and test out your fix. If the leak has stopped, you’ve fixed it.

There are several online tutorials and videos for other types of faucet repair. If you ever feel uncomfortable repairing your compression faucet, ask a plumber or expert for help.

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