How to Fix a Leaky Faucet

Knowing how to fix a leaky faucet is a pretty basic job.

Drip, Drip, Drip. Had enough of that leaky faucet? That sound you hear is your money going down the drain.  A leaky faucet can cost you more money than you think and if it is the hot water side it becomes even more expensive. You would be surprised how fast it adds up. How many faucets do you have in your house that need repairs. Of all plumbing problems, leaking faucets are the most common but, is also one of the easiest problems to repair. Most people will just let it drip and ignore the problem and hope it will stop but, it just gets worse over time.

Keeping your faucets in good working condition is very important because they give us water and we need it every day for many purposes. Because of the constant use we ask of our faucets, certain problems can develop from drips, leaks and noise to handles breaking or coming off.

Drip or leaks are caused by water which is pushed thru the seals or packing inside your faucet. The water enters your house under pressure and this is placing that same pressure on the tiny seals in your faucet when it is in the off position. So when the seals start to have some wear or a small amount of grit or sand becomes trapped in them, they cannot do their job and completely stop the water from leaking.

So what do you do? In most cases you can just replace the seals or packing inside your faucet. Most all faucets can be repaired and faucet repair kits are available at most hardware stores.  Faucet repair is just not that difficult with a few basic tools. Let’s take a quick look at the basic steps.

  •  Start by cutting off your water supply to that particular faucet. If you do not have a shutoff valve under your sink, cut off your main water supply going into your house.
  • Drain the water from the faucet by opening the faucet.
  • Faucet repair parts are very small and one can go down the drain very quick so, place a towel in the sink to catch them before you begin taking apart your faucet.
  • Some faucets have decorative caps and you will have to pop out the center to remove the screw that holds the handle to the faucet stem. It should snap right back in when you have finished your repair.
  • Take a wrench and remove the faucet stem nut. Don’t worry you will see it.
  • You now should be holding the stem in your hand so you can’t remove the seals, o rings or packing from the stem depending on your type of faucet.
  • Take the parts with you to the hardware store and match your old parts with new. If you know the brand of faucet you have it is even easier because most supply stores have picture diagrams for you to use.
  • Install your new seals on your stem and replace the seal in the faucet seat if you have that type. (it should match the one used on the stem in most cases).
  • Place the faucet stem back in and tighten.
  • Replace the handle back on the stem and tighten.
  • Pop the center cap back on the handle if you had to remove it earlier.
  • Turn your water supply back on.
  • Check for leaks.
  • If no leaks or drips. Done.

Most faucets operate on the same basic principle so whether it’s a shower faucet, kitchen faucet, bathtub faucet or outside faucet and you can find faucet repair kits pretty easy.

Sometimes you’ll need to replace a faucet altogether because you can no longer find parts or perhaps you just want a newer or different design and they even make a touch to turn on model now. Some of the most popular models now are made by:

Delta

Moen

Price Pfister

Kohler

Peerless

Pegasus

Hansgrohe

Grohe

Glacier Bay.

Most all the above also will a faucet repair kit available for each particular model they made. If you are installing a new faucet be sure to keep a record of the model you installed. Sooner or later even a new one may start to drip, drip, drip. Remember we use  them every day, sometimes several times a day. That’s a lot of wear and tear on such a small little seal or o-ring.

Now you know the basics on how to fix a leaky faucet.