Addressing a leaky faucet promptly is crucial, not just to reduce water waste but also to prevent the possible onset of mold and damage to your home. Even if you’ve never done a DIY plumbing project before, this guide will help you get that leak fixed in no time.
Before diving into the repair, it’s crucial to identify the type of faucet you have. There are four main types of faucets:
- Ball faucets: These are the most common type of faucets and have a single handle that controls both hot and cold water.
- Cartridge (Sleeve) faucets: These can have one or two handles.
- Disc faucets: These are a “mixer” style faucet, with a single lever over a wide cylindrical body.
- Compression washer faucets: The oldest type, these faucets have separate knobs for hot and cold water.
Tools and Materials Needed:
- Adjustable wrench or C wrench
- Phillips and flat-head screwdrivers
- Needle nose pliers
- Replacement parts (if needed)
- Plumber’s grease
- Teflon tape
Now, let’s get into the detailed step-by-step instructions.
Step 1: Shut off the Water Supply Before starting any repair, always shut off the water supply to the faucet. This is usually found under the sink.
Step 2: Remove the Handle The procedure may vary based on the type of faucet, but typically, you’ll find a decorative cap on the handle. Use a flat-head screwdriver to carefully pry this cap off, revealing a screw. Unscrew it, then gently lift off the handle.
Step 3: Identify and Repair the Issue
For Ball Faucets:
Remove the cap and collar using adjustable pliers, then loosen the faucet cam with a special tool called a faucet cam tool. Once removed, you will see the ball and seals. Check for any worn-out seals or a damaged ball.
Replace the damaged parts and reassemble the faucet. If it still leaks, consider replacing the entire faucet.
For Cartridge (Sleeve) Faucets:
Remove the retaining clip that holds the cartridge in place (if present). Gently pull the cartridge so you won’t damage the cartridge housing.
Check for any damages in the O-rings or cartridge. Replace as necessary.
For Disc Faucets:
Unscrew and remove the cylinder, revealing the neoprene seals. Check these seals for any damage.
If the seals are damaged, replace them and reassemble the faucet. If it still leaks, consider replacing the entire cylinder.
For Compression Washer Faucets:
Remove the handle and unscrew the packing nut to reveal the stem. Remove that as well and you’ll find the washer.
If the washer is damaged or worn out, replace it and reassemble the faucet.
Step 4: Reassemble the Faucet Once you have replaced the necessary parts, reassemble the faucet in the reverse order you disassembled it.
Step 5: Test the Faucet Turn the water supply back on and test the faucet. Check for any leaks. If it’s still leaking, double-check your work and make sure everything is tightened properly.
Remember, don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it right the first time. Every DIY project comes with its learning curve, and before long, you’ll be fixing leaks like a seasoned pro!
Safety note: Always ensure you’re working in a well-ventilated area, and if your home’s plumbing is old, be aware that pipes and hardware may be brittle.
This guide covers the basics of fixing a leaky faucet. If the leak persists after you’ve completed these steps, the issue may be more complex and require a professional plumber. Always consider seeking professional help if you’re unsure or uncomfortable performing any DIY repairs.