How to Fix a Leaking Faucet

A leaking faucet can be annoying, but it also wastes water and money. Even worse, a leaky faucet can lead to mold growth and other problems in your home. Luckily, most faucet leaks are easy to fix if you know where to look. The first step is to shut off the water supply lines at the main valve under the sink. After that, you can begin to disassemble the faucet. Before you start, it’s a good idea to have some penetrating oil on hand to break up any rust or sediment that may be stuck in the handle screw or other fasteners.

Depending on the type of faucet, there are a few ways to get inside: Cartridge-style: Gently pry off the decorative cap on the handle and remove the screw underneath an Allen wrench will work. Pull off the handle. Remove the metal handle adapter and the dome assembly under it. Now you can see the cartridge retaining nut; loosen this with a pipe wrench or tongue-and-groove pliers, then remove the handle and replace the washer.

The adjusting ring may need to be tightened, which can be done by hand or with the spanner tool included in many¬†Faucet repair Fayetteville kits. Now the cartridge can be removed and replaced. If there’s a screw at the top of the cartridge, note its orientation so you can reinstall it in the same way. You may need to replace the inlet seal and springs, too, if they are old or damaged.

If you have a two-handle faucet, determine whether it is leaking from the hot or cold side. If only one is leaking, then you can probably replace just the cartridge on that side. If both sides are leaking, it’s probably time to replace the entire faucet.

In most cases, a leaky faucet stem is caused by a broken ceramic disk inside the disc cartridge. You can try to reseal the cartridge by grinding away the outer edge with an emery board, but it’s usually best to just replace it with a new one.

If the spout is leaking, you likely need to replace the rubber O-rings inside the spout. You can buy these O-rings at most hardware stores, but if the spout itself is corroded or cracked, you’ll need to replace that as well. This is a job that’s better done with a pair of pliers than with your fingers. Just take it slow and be careful not to damage the spout or the tubing connections. Once you’ve got all the parts out on the table, it’s a good idea to sort them in order of removal so they will be ready to go back together when you get them. This will make reassembling the faucet much easier. Finally, be sure to test the faucet by turning on the water and making sure there are no more leaks. Also, make sure you connect the proper water supply tubes to your new faucet assembly.