How to Repair a Leaking Faucet

Fixing a leaking faucet is easier than you may think. In most cases you’ll only need a slotted screwdriver, adjustable wrench, hex key and Philips-head screwdriver. Once you have your tools and faucet repair kit on hand, jump into step number one and your leaky faucet will be repaired in no time.

Step 1: Shut off water valve

The valve is probably located under your sink. Turn it to the “off” position to stop the water supply while you make the repair. If you can’t locate the water valve for your specific sink, turn off the valve that supplies water to the house. Turn the faucet on and let the remaining water release.

Step 2: Remove the fixture handle

Depending on the type of fixture, you may need the hex key or the two screwdrivers to remove the handle. If a screw is positioned behind the handle, use the hex key to loosen and remove the handle. If a top screw cover is shielding the screw, remove it with a flat screwdriver and use the Philips-head screwdriver to loosen the screw and remove the handle.

Step 3: Remove the cartridge

A crescent wrench will allow you to loosen the packing nut that holds the handle assembly together. Once the nut is removed, gently tug on the cartridge, pulling it straight up and out of position. You may need a specialized tool to remove the cartridge, depending on the type of fixture. If so, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for this process.

Step 4: Install replacement cartridge

Dry the working area and clean away any dirt or debris, and replace o-rings that appear damaged or torn. Using the manufacturer name, along with the faucet model number, you should be able to easily find a replacement cartridge. If you’re unable to locate that information, take the old cartridge to your local hardware store and match it up for a replacement. Align the cartridge correctly and insert it into place.

Step 5: Replace faucet handle

Once the cartridge is firmly set, reattach the packing nut. Secure the nut with a crescent wrench, careful to not twist too tightly. Place the handle back on the housing and connect the handle with the set screw. If needed, replace the screw cover.

Once the fixture is assembled, turn the water valve back on. Clean any debris from your sink and test the faucet. Run hot and cold water to ensure both work properly and neither handle is leaking. If the faucet continues to leak, it may be time to call in a professional plumber.

Don’t ignore your leaking faucet. The average family can waste 180 gallons per week, or 9,400 gallons of water annually from household leaks. Fixing the issue as soon as you notice it will not only save you money each month on your water bill, butcan also prevent further damage or mold growth inside and around the faucet.

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