Leaking faucets can cost a lot in wasted water. The drip is also a source of annoyance. Fortunately, a leaking faucet is very easy to repair and you should not require the services of a plumber to accomplish it.
Whatever the tap that you plan to repair, the first step is to determine the source of the leak. Is it leaking from the spout or from the base? These leaks require different interventions. There are also different types of faucets that require different parts to repair the leak.
Types of faucet mechanism
- A cartridge faucet – there are a number of different cartridge faucets
- A ceramic disk faucet – with ceramic cylinder
- A ball faucet – has a ball bearing in the base
- A compression faucet has two faucet handles.
Before You Start
Assemble all the tools that you require. Before you start, switch the water off at the shutoff valves. These are usually located under the sink. To switch them off turn clockwise. If you sink does not have its own shutoff valves you will have to switch the water off at the main valve. Once you have shut off the water, open the faucets to release the water from the pipework. Put the plug into the sink. You don’t want to drop anything down the drain.
Some Cautionary Notes
To ensure that you put everything back in the right order, place the parts in an orderly way on a towel beside you as you remove them. You may even want to record what you are doing to ensure that you get the reassembly correct.
Take the worn parts with you to the hardware store for matching. In this way, you can make certain that you purchase the correct components
Fixing a cartridge faucet
Cartridge faucets usually have a single lever to control the flow and temperature of the water. An up and down movement regulates the flow and left to right the temperature. A leak can occur when either the cartridge or the O rings are worn. Repair kits include both.
- Pull off the screw cover, usually, a decorative cap. Use a screwdriver to take the screw out. Take the handle off.
- If it has a circlip in place, remove it with long-nosed
- Remove the O-ring, cutting it if necessary
- Clean the inside of the faucet housing
- Using pliers or a special cartridge tool lift the cartridge vertically through the top of the faucet
- Check the O-rings for damage and replace them if necessary
- Check the cartridge for damage and replace it if necessary. Make sure that it is properly aligned in the body of the faucet
- Coat the O-ring with silicone plumber’s grease and put it onto the cylinder
- Re-install all the faucet parts
- Turn on the water valves and check for leaks.
Fixing a ceramic disk faucet
A faucet using ceramic disk technology usually has a spout lever over a broad cylindrical section. It moves up and down and left to right for flow and temperature control. Ceramic disks are very hardy and they are seldom the cause of the leak. The rubber inlet seals can sometimes wear or they can become clogged with mineral deposits.
- Locate the screw. It is either hidden under a decorative cap on the top of the faucet. It may be an Allen cap located on the side, front or back of the faucet
- Some ceramic disks are secured with screws. If this is the case remove the screws
- Raise the cartridge out of the faucet using a wrench or pliers
- Once it is out of the faucet, inspect it for damage
- Very occasionally, it may be cracked in which case you’ll have to replace it
- The base of the cartridge sometimes becomes contaminated with minerals and other deposits
- Use a screwdriver to carefully remove the inlet seals
- Clean the inlet housings with a soft brush and a decalcifier
- Check the rubber seals for damage. If they are damaged or if it is not possible to clean them then you will have to replace them
- Place clean or new rubber seals back into the cartridge
- Replace the cartridge, ensuring that it is properly aligned in the faucet
- Re-attach the handle to the body
- Turn the water valves back on
- Open the water supply on the faucet. It will sputter at first. When the water flow is smooth switch it off and check for leaks
- Sometimes these faucets leak from the spout body neck. If this is the case then the O-ring in the body neck needs replacement
- Select one in the correct size. Cover it in silicone plumber’s grease and place it into the groove made for that purpose.
Fixing a ball faucet
Ball faucets have a number of parts which when worn can cause a leak. These faucets can leak at the base or from the spout. These types of faucets have a single handle that rests on a dome-shaped body.
- Take off the screw cover and then remove the screw
- Remove the handle
- If the faucet is leaking at the base of the spout, tighten the collar using a wrench to turn it clockwise. If this stops the leak, you’ve completed the repair
- An older ball faucet may have an adjusting ring. You may be able to fix the leak by making an adjustment to this with a long-nosed pair of pliers.
- If this does not work then you’ll have to replace the springs and seals
- Use slip-joint pliers to take off the domed cap. Cover the jaws with plastic tape to prevent damage to the faucet finish
- Lift the cam and cover and inspect the ball for damage
- Pull the rubber valves seats out using a screwdriver
- Replace the valve seats and the springs that are located beneath them
- If the faucet is leaking from the base, you must inspect the O-rings for damage
- If they are damaged replace them with new ones that have been coated in plumber’s silicone grease
- Reassemble the faucet
- Switch on the water supply and check for leaks.
Fixing a compression faucet
Compression faucets have two water controls, left and right of the spout.
- Check whether it is the hot or cold water tap that is leaking by switching one valve off at a time, leaving the other open.
- Remove the screw cap with a flat screwdriver and then the screw with a Philips
- Now you can remove the handle
- Take out the locknut with a crescent wrench
- Extract the stem and check the O rings for damage
- If the O rings are not damaged, check the stem assembly. Check the rubber washer on the end. If it is okay,unscrew the packing nut to see whether any of the O-rings inside are damaged. You may choose to replace the entire stem assembly rather than to replace the damaged washers and O-rings. If you decide to replace the stem assembly you should replace both hot and cold.
- If you can see no damage to any of the washers or O-rings you should feel inside the faucet for rough spots in the seat area. If they are damaged remove them with a seat wrench and replace them.
- Take all the suspect parts to the hardware store so that you ensure that you purchase the correct replacement components.
- Put the faucet back together again
- Open the valves and check whether the problem is resolved.
A quick and easy repair
Failing to repair a leaking faucet is a waste of money and environmental resources. No matter what type of faucet you can fix it in less than an hour at little cost. No need for a plumber. Just assemble the correct tools and components and that irritating leak could soon be history.