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How to Fix a Leaky Sink Faucet

Over time the internal parts of a faucet wear out and allow small amounts of water to pass through. This results in an annoying drip when the faucet is supposed to be off. If you ignore this, the drip will worsen and eventually become a steady dribble. Gallons of water will be wasted and drive up your water bill. Knowing how to fix a leaky sink faucet could extend its usefulness for years. You can normally complete faucet repairs for pennies on the dollar compared to replacing the entire faucet.

ToolsHow to Fix a Leaky Sink Faucet

  • Towel
  • Various screwdrivers
  • Toothless wrench
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Channel-lock pliers
  • Pocket knife

Know Your Faucet

Faucets are divided into compression faucets and washerless faucets. A compression faucet relies on washers to create a tight seal when the faucet is closed. You will be replacing the washers in a dripping compression faucet and maybe its O-rings.

Washerless faucets seal off the flow of water with:

  • Cartridge
  • Ball
  • Ceramic disk

In washerless faucets, you’ll be replacing O-rings on the internal units to restore proper sealing. You also have the option of replacing the entire cartridge.

Regardless of the type of faucet, you must use replacement parts that fit the exact faucet model. In addition to recording the faucet brand, take the old parts to the hardware store. You will need them for reference when buying new parts. If you cannot find the correct parts, call Oliver for assistance with the faucet repair.

How to Fix a Leaky Sink Faucet Step by Step

  1. Turn the valves off on the water supply lines under the sink. Shut off both the hot and cold water lines.
  2. Open the faucet to expel remaining water.
  3. Close the drain cover or put a towel over it to prevent small parts from going down the drain.
  4. Pry off the caps on the faucet handles with a flathead screwdriver.
  5. Taking off the caps exposes internal screws that hold together the faucet assembly.
  6. Select the appropriate screwdriver and remove the screws.
  7. Place your parts in a secure spot as you take them out. Preserve their order of removal for easier reassembly.
  8. With the screws out, you should be able to lift off the handles.
  9. If handles are stuck, spray penetrating oil into them and try again.
  10. With the handles off, use a wrench to take off the stem nut.
  11. The stem of the faucet handle should now pull out.
  12. Proceed to the steps for your type of faucet.

If you have a compression faucet:

  1. Look at its O-ring. If water was leaking around the handles, replace the O-ring. Otherwise, you can leave the original in place unless it looks damaged.
  2. At the bottom of the stem, you’ll find the seat washer. A screw may be holding it in place.
  3. If present, unscrew the screw.
  4. Take off the seat washer.
  5. Insert the new seat washer and put the screw back on it if one was present.
  6. Place the stem back inside the faucet.
  7. Put on the stem nut.
  8. Reattach the handles and decorative caps.

If you have a cartridge faucet:

  1. Using needle-nose pliers, pull free the retaining clip holding the cartridge.
  2. The cartridge can now be removed.
  3. Cut free the O-rings on the cartridge.
  4. Put new O-rings on the cartridge.
  5. Alternatively, replace the whole cartridge.
  6. Reassemble the faucet.

If you have a ball faucet:

  1. With channel-lock pliers, twist off the faucet’s cap and collar.
  2. Take out the faucet cam, cam washer, and ball.
  3. Working with needle-nose pliers, remove the inlet seal and springs.
  4. Inspect these small components for damage and replace as necessary.
  5. Reassemble the faucet.

If you have a ceramic disk faucet:

  1. Take off the metal cover over the disk cylinder.
  2. Inspect the neoprene seals.
  3. Depending on their condition, you can either clean them or replace them.
  4. Reassemble the faucet.

Testing all faucet types:

  1. Turn both water supply lines back on.
  2. Turn on the faucet and let it expel air in the lines.
  3. Once water starts to flow, shut it off and confirm that dripping has ceased.

Professional Faucet Replacement

Sometimes you just can’t find the right replacement parts to fix a leaky sink faucet. When that happens, a new faucet becomes necessary. The licensed plumbers at Oliver can quickly install a new faucet. Don’t let the dripping water rob you of money needlessly. Call us for a plumbing estimate today.

Need help with this project?

If you do not have the time, tools, or experience necessary to complete the project, please contact the professionals at Oliver for help.

Contact us today at 1-888-810-2681 Get a Free Estimate
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