|repairing leaky faucets by faucet type |
New faucets may have the hot & cold water flow controlled by a single handle or lever. Repairs for four types of single-handle faucets are described here.
Before you start
1) Turn off the water supply. Look for a shutoff valve under the sink. If there is not one for the fixture, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve. It may be located near the water meter, in the basement or crawl space.
2) Have on hand an assortment of replacement parts, like washers & o-rings.
3) Close or block off the sink drain, so that small parts aren't lost if dropped.
4) Protect the sink basin against chipping from tools by lining it w/ a towel.
5) When working on the faucet, don't try to force parts that are corroded or won't move. Apply a few drops of penetrating oil to the parts, wait a while & try again.
6) As you work, remember to line up the parts in order as you take the faucet apart. This will help you reassemble it correctly. Tools & materials you will need include: adjustable wrench, channel lock smooth-jawed pliers, screwdrivers, washer assortment, penetrating oil, & packing.
A disc faucet has two discs to mix the hot & cold water & control the amount of flow. The disc assembly itself will rarely need replacing. Leaking usually means that the inlet seals are worn & should be replaced. Replacement kits are available at plumbing supply firms. To get the right kit, write down the brand of faucet you have, or take the disc along w/ you.
1) First, turn off the water supply & drain the water by lifting the lever to its highest position.
2) Under the lever is a set screw that holds the lever to the lever post. Use a screwdriver to turn the set screw counterclockwise until you can lift off the lever.
3) Lift off or unscrew the cap that covers the cartridge. Loosen the screws on top of the cartridge & lift it out of the faucet.
4) At the bottom of the cartridge is the set of seals. Pull out the worn seals & replace w/ new ones from the kit. Remove any mineral sediment that has built up in this area.
5) When reinserting the cartridge, align the holes w/ those in the base of the faucet body. Reassemble the faucet reversing the order it was taken apart.
sleeve cartridge faucet
When you raise the handle of this faucet, the stem also raises, controlling the flow of water. Rotating the handle to the right or left controls the water temperature. Leaks usually mean replacing the o-rings or the entire cartridge. Take the old cartridge w/ you to a plumbing supply store to ensure that you get the correct replacement part.
1) First, turn off the water supply & lift the handle to drain the water.
2) Carefully pry off the decorative handle cover or housing & remove the handle screw.
3) Lift off the handle assembly. On some faucets you may see a "keeper" or retainer clip at the base of the handle assembly. w/ others, like a swivel-spout faucet, you must first remove the handle & then the spout. If this is the case, unscrew the retainer nut, then lift off the spout.
4) Under the handle, you may find a tube or cylindrical sleeve that slides off to expose the "keeper" or retainer clip. This clip is what holds the cartridge in place. Use long-nose pliers or a screwdriver to remove the clip from its slot.
5) Lift the cartridge out of the faucet body w/ pliers. If the 0 rings are worn, install new ones.
6) If the cartridge is to be replaced, note the position of the cartridge ears, or a flat spot, arrow, or marking on the cartridge stem. When the cartridge is replaced, they should be in exactly the same position as when removed.
7) Replace the cartridge & the retainer clip. On swivel-spout faucets, lubricate the 0 rings around the outside of the body & then push the spout down over the rings, into position.
8) Tighten the retaining nut w/ taped or cloth-covered pliers & reinstall the handle.
rotating ball faucet
The single handle sits on a ball assembly. When the faucet is raised, this ball rotates to control the flow of water. Moving the handle to the left or right allows hot or cold water into the mixing chamber. Leaks from the spout can occur when the seals & springs give out.
Leaks at the handle may mean that the adjusting ring is loose or that the seal above the ball is worn.
Leaks under the spout may require replacing the o-rings. While the faucet is apart, check for a worn or corroded ball & replace if necessary. Repair kits are available at plumbing supply stores. You'll need the make & model number or the old parts to get the correct replacement kit.
1) First, turn off the water supply & lift straight up on the handle to drain the water.
2) Loosen, but don't remove, the handle's set screw w/ an allen wrench & remove the handle.
3) Loosen the adjusting ring. A special wrench for this comes w/ most repair kits. Unscrew the cap, using cloth or tape- covered adjustable pliers if needed.
4) Lift out the cam assembly & ball. If you have a swivel-spout faucet, lift off the spout as well. You may have to carefully pry the spout loose at the base or exert some pressure to lift it off, since it is friction-fitted around the body.
5) Remove worn seals & springs from the body w/ long-nose pliers or a pencil inserted into each seat. Scrape away any mineral deposits & replace the new springs & seals.
6) If yours is a swivel-spout faucet, pry away the o-rings from the body, & roll the new ones down until they're in the appropriate grooves. If the faucet has a spray diverter, replace the diverter o-ring in the same way.
7) Reassemble the parts in reverse order from which they were taken out. When you replace the ball, align the slot in its side w/ the pin inside the faucet body. The key on the cam assembly also fits into a matching notch on the faucet body.
8) w/ a swivel-spout faucet, push the spout straight down until it clicks against a slip ring at the base of the body. The tension from the o-rings may mean that you'll have to push hard.
9) Hand-tighten the cap & tighten the adjusting ring to get a good seal between the cam & the ball. If you notice a leak around the handle after testing the faucet, tighten the adjusting ring a bit more.