Instructions for Fixing a Leaky Faucet

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Home Improvement

How to Repair a Compression-Type Stem Faucet


If you have a compression-type stem faucet, a faulty washer is usually the cause of a leak.
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The first step to fixing a faucet drip is to turn off the water supply. If you don’t have shutoffs for individual fixtures, you’ll need to turn off the main water supply. The following steps explain how to repair a drip in a compression-type faucet.

Regardless of the faucet’s appearance, the basic principles of a compression-type faucet are the same. Here’s how to disassemble the faucet and stop the drip:

Step 1: Turn off the water supply and remove the handle by unscrewing the tiny screw on top or at the back of the handle. Some screws may be hidden by a metal or plastic button or disc that snaps out or threads off. Use penetrating oil if necessary.

Step 2: Remove the handle and examine the faucet assembly. Use a large pair of slip-joint pliers or an adjustable wrench to remove the packing nut, being careful not to damage the metal. Turn the stern or spindle in the same direction as you would to turn on the faucet to remove it.

Step 3: Remove the screw that holds the washer and use penetrating oil if needed. Inspect the screw and stem, and replace them if damaged.

Step 4: Replace the old washer with an exact replacement. A washer that almost fits will not stop the drip. Note whether the old washer is flat or beveled and replace it with an identical one. Washers made only for cold water will expand significantly when heated, closing the opening and slowing the flow of hot water. Some washers can be used for either, but ensure that the ones you purchase are exact replacements.

Step 5: Attach the new washer to the stem and reinstall the assembly into the faucet. Turn the stem clockwise and put the packing nut back on. Be careful not to damage the metal with the wrench.

Step 6: Reinstall the handle and replace the button or disc. Turn the water supply back on and check for leaks.

Find out what to do if the faucet valve seat is causing your leak on the next page.

If you’re not satisfied, consider these options:

  • Handling Plumbing Problems: Dealing with plumbing issues in your house can be overwhelming, but don’t worry – the plumbing tips outlined in this article are sure to assist you, even if that means advising you on when to contact a plumber.
  • Repairing Sinks, Tubs, and Drains: Plumbing problems related to sinks, tubs, and drains can be resolved by the average homeowner…as long as you have some tips to assist you in identifying and resolving the issue. Discover such advice in this article.
  • Identifying Plumbing Problems: Occasionally, determining what’s wrong with your toilet, drain, or other plumbing-related area is half the battle. Find reliable troubleshooting tips here.
  • Essential Plumbing Tools: You may already possess many of the tools required for most plumbing jobs since they are the same tools used for other do-it-yourself tasks. Learn about unique plumbing tools, such as pipe wrenches, in this article.

What You’ll Need

Here are the tools you’ll require for a compression-type faucet:

  • Screwdriver
  • Penetrating oil
  • Slip-joint pliers or adjustable wrench
  • Replacement washers

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FAQ

1. What are the most common problems with faucets?

The most common problems with faucets include leaks, low water pressure, and damaged parts. Leaks can be caused by worn out washers, O-rings, or gaskets. Low water pressure can be caused by clogged aerators or valves. Damaged parts can include cracked cartridges, spouts, or handles.

2. Can I fix a leaky faucet myself?

Yes, you can fix a leaky faucet yourself. The first step is to turn off the water supply to the faucet. Then, disassemble the faucet and identify the damaged parts. Replace the damaged parts with new ones and reassemble the faucet. Turn on the water supply and test the faucet for leaks.

3. What tools do I need to repair a faucet?

The tools you need to repair a faucet include a set of screwdrivers, pliers, an adjustable wrench, a basin wrench, and a cartridge puller. You may also need a flashlight, a towel, and some plumber’s tape.

4. How do I remove a faucet handle?

To remove a faucet handle, you need to locate the set screw that attaches the handle to the faucet body. Use a screwdriver to loosen and remove the set screw. Then, gently pull the handle off the faucet body. If the handle is stuck, you can use a handle puller to remove it.

5. What is a cartridge faucet?

A cartridge faucet is a type of faucet that uses a cartridge to control the flow of water. The cartridge contains a ceramic disc that rotates to open and close the water flow. Cartridge faucets are easy to repair and replace, as the cartridge can be easily removed and replaced.

6. How do I replace a cartridge in a faucet?

To replace a cartridge in a faucet, you need to turn off the water supply to the faucet. Then, remove the handle and the retaining clip that holds the cartridge in place. Gently pull the cartridge out of the faucet body and replace it with a new one. Reassemble the faucet and turn on the water supply.

7. What is a compression faucet?

A compression faucet is a type of faucet that uses a washer to control the flow of water. When the handle is turned, the washer is pressed against a valve seat to stop the water flow. Compression faucets are prone to leaks, as the washer can become worn or damaged over time.

8. How do I replace a washer in a compression faucet?

To replace a washer in a compression faucet, you need to turn off the water supply to the faucet. Then, remove the handle and the packing nut that holds the stem in place. Remove the stem and the washer from the faucet body. Replace the washer with a new one and reassemble the faucet.

9. When should I call a plumber to repair my faucet?

You should call a plumber to repair your faucet if you are not comfortable with DIY repairs, if the faucet is old or damaged beyond repair, or if you notice a major water leak. A plumber can also help you choose a new faucet that fits your needs and budget.

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