Did you ever consider that a dripping faucet may waste up to $100 worth of water? A major faucet leak can waste up to 30 gallons of water per day, causing you to unfortunately leak funds.
Fixing a leaky faucet is simple and inexpensive. It’s a straightforward task, and there is no need to call a professional. The usual suspects of a leaking faucet are a worn washer or gasket, a loose o ring, or rust in the valve seat. Most faucet repair kits can quickly detect and repair the issue. Leaks in bathroom, shower and kitchen faucets are most commonly caused by damaged or worn-out parts, especially if your property uses an older model.
This article will explain how to fix a leaky faucet on your own.
How to fix a leaky faucet single handle?
Repairing a leaking bath or kitchen faucet is typically a quick fix, even though there are many various faucet designs. Each comes with different components, and requiring unique repair procedures can make it harder.
Most single-handle faucets include an inner ball or cartridge; in most circumstances, changing the faucet cartridge, the ball, or its components is all that is required for repair.
A disk faucet has a unique design that calls for a distinct repair technique.
- Turn off the water
The first step in faucet repair is to locate and turn off the hot and cold fixture cutoff valves. The shutoffs are often located under the sink, where the water supply pipes link to the main water system that flows up to the faucet tailpieces. Some valves have knurled knobs that must be turned clockwise to shut off the water, while others have lever-type valves with handles that require a quarter turn to switch off the water.
If your faucet lacks fixture shutoff valves, you'll have to turn off the water supply to the entire home via a branch valve or the main shutoff valve.
Once the water has been switched off, open the faucet to relieve pressure and drain the water.
- Disassemble a single-handle cartridge faucet
Carefully pry off the handle's decorative cover, detach the handle screw, tilt back, and remove it. If the cartridge is held in place by a threaded retaining clip, remove it with needle-nose pliers and lift it straight up. Take the spout and cut off the old O-rings with a utility knife if the O-rings are worn out. Reassemble the unit after covering the replacement O-rings with nontoxic, heat-resistant plumber's grease.
- Remove the handle
Remove the faucet handle from the body and cartridge of the faucet. A plastic or metal cap that wraps the top of the faucet body hides the mounting screw.
- Remove the disc cartridge
When the disk cartridge is uncovered, you can remove it. Check the cartridge for damage. You will need to replace it if it is broken or otherwise ruined. If you need to change a cartridge, bring the old one with you to the hardware shop to take the hassle out of finding the correct replacement.
- Remove the seals and clean the ports
The rubber seals on the bottom of the ceramic disk are usually broken or covered with grit or solid build-up, causing disk faucets to leak. Using a tiny screwdriver, inspect the bottom of the cartridge and remove the rubber seals from the water entry holes. Be careful not to damage the seals. Clean the rubber seals gently with a soft scrubbing brush (an old toothbrush works nicely).
Also, clean the ports on the bottom of the cartridge.
- Replace the spout o-ring
- Reassemble the faucet
Replace the rubber seals in their appropriate places once they are clean.
- Restore the water supply
Make sure that the faucet isn't dripping.
How to fix a leaky faucet with two handles?
Cartridge-style faucets are the most common two-handle bathroom faucets. Each hot and cold faucet handle has its own cartridge, a valve that rotates with the handle to control water flow into the faucet spout. The two-handle faucet may be a compression-type rather than a cartridge if it's an older model. When you remove the faucet handle, you'll notice that cartridges are normally plastic and are kept in place with a metal retaining nut, whereas compression faucets have a metal valve on the bottom with a flat rubber washer.
- Turn off the water
Follow the instructions above.
- Remove the handle from the faucet
Look at the faucet’s handle to see how it's attached. You can find set screws on the side or back of individual handles. Others feature a decorative cover (typically plastic) that hides the handle's securing screw. A detachable lever that unscrews from the handle base to give simple access to the handle set screw may be included with your faucet.
- Taking off the retaining nut
Using a pipe wrench or tongue-and-groove pliers, loosen the cartridge holding nut. Remove the nut from the faucet body by unscrewing it completely.
- Remove the old cartridge
Make a note of the faucet cartridge's placement. Install the new cartridge in the same way as the old one. One or two tabs on most cartridges slot into notches on the faucet body.
To remove the cartridge from the faucet body, pull it straight up. If required, use pliers to hold the shaft at the top of the cartridge and pull it out.
- Install the replacement cartridge
If required, replace the brass screw at the top of the cartridge shaft. Apply a little bit of plumber's grease to the cartridge's O-rings with your finger if you have some.
Replace the old cartridge in the faucet body in the same orientation as the old one, matching any tabs on the new cartridge with the faucet body's notches. Push the cartridge into the housing all the way.
- Complete the installation
Tighten the retaining nut gently with pliers or another suitable tool to secure the cartridge. Do not overtighten the screws. Reinstall the faucet handle and, if necessary, the ornamental cap.
To turn the water supply back on the tap, turn the shutdown valve counterclockwise. Check to see if the faucet is working correctly.
When should you change a leaky faucet instead of repairing it?
Faucets are small but vital components of your property. You probably don't think about them that often while they're working correctly. Kitchen and bathroom faucets may usually last ten years at least (some can even last 15 to 20 years), but this is dependent on several factors. A faucet's lifespan might be shortened by hard water or regular use.
The most common faucet problems requiring repairs include:
- Irregular Water Flow
- Squeaking Noises
- Low Water Pressure
It is not a big deal even for a beginner to handle these issues. But here are the warning signs for you to consider replacing the faucet:
- The faucet is repaired regularly
- You want a more efficient faucet
- A ruined sink
- The age of your faucet
Though some DIY projects are easy to complete, for others, there are repairs that require professional skills and specific equipment. If you’re unsure whether or not you can handle a maintenance request in your rental property, find a service professional in your area by posting a bid request.
Please note that the option is available for maintenance requests in a “new” status only.
Check out the Help Center article to get step by step instructions:
How can I find a service professional within the system?