Are you a homeowner asking yourself, “How do I fix a leaky faucet?” It’s actually quite simple to stop bathroom or kitchen faucets from leaking, but doing it yourself is usually only a temporary fix that involves replacing the cartridge or stem.
Here’s a simple guide to fixing a leaky faucet on your own.
Step 1: Turn off the water
Whether the leaky fixture is a single-handle, double-handle or even a wand or twisting-ball faucet, you need to shut off the water supply to start your leaky faucet temporary fix. Simply twist the valve under your sink, or, if you don’t have individual shutoff valves below the sink, you can shut off the entire water supply to your home. After you’ve shut off the water, turn the faucet on to empty any remaining water that may be in the line.
Step 2: Remove the fixture handle
The next step in fixing a leaky faucet involves removing the handle, and the method you use will depend on your faucet type. Faucets with set screws behind the handle are easiest to remove: Simply insert a hex key or Allen wrench in the screw, and turn to remove. For handles with top-screw covers, pry off the cover; then use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the screw, and you should be able to pull the handle free.
If you’re dealing with a leaky shower or bathtub faucet, removing the handle takes a bit more effort. Use a flat head screwdriver to remove the handle cap; then use a Phillips screwdriver to unscrew the handle. Remove the faceplate, and, if it has threads, completely unscrew it from the wall and remove it. You’ll also need to remove the metal sleeve over the shower valve, which may require you to take off a locking clip with needle-nose pliers.
Step 3: Remove the cartridge or stem
Most two-handled bathroom and kitchen faucet styles feature a cartridge or stem to regulate the flow of hot and cold water. The next step in performing a leaky faucet temporary fix involves removing these components with a wrench. Simply loosen the packing nut in the assembly; then remove it. You should be able to take out the cartridge or stem by pulling it straight up and out of the assembly.
Step 4: Install a new cartridge or stem
Usually, replacing the cartridge or stem can solve the problem of a leaky faucet. When you’re ready to replace this component, clean and dry the area around the handle; then inspect the O-rings around the housing, and replace them if they look damaged or worn.
The new cartridge or stem should easily lock into place; then you can replace the handle, reversing the steps described above. Turn your water valve back on, and run both hot and cold water through the faucet to check for proper water flow. If your faucet is sputtering, remove the faucet, and clean the aerator.
While learning how to fix a leaky faucet isn’t difficult, if you’re not a professional plumber, anything you can do on your own is merely a temporary fix. Reach out to Orchard Plumbing to get leaky faucets fixed once and for all.