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How to Fix a Leaky Faucet

Nov 1 2022
A person fixing a leaky faucet

A leaky faucet can easily become a nightmare that haunts you in a myriad of ways.

First off, let’s talk about the large amount of water that pools under the sink. No one enjoys cleaning that up.

Second, that sizable pool of water that accumulates over time has a high cost per drop that will surely make your bills skyrocket in no time. Even a tiny leak that’s left unfixed could lead to larger damage.

Third, tons of water get wasted, which negatively impacts the environment. It may not seem like much, but when you look at the bigger picture, a drop can easily turn into an ocean.

And finally, no one can fall asleep to the cacophony of dripping sounds all day and all night long.

Luckily, learning how to fix a leaky faucet is much easier and more cost-effective than you might think. Put your tool belt on, everyone, because this is the ultimate DIY guide to fixing leaky faucets and restoring peace to your kitchen.

The Ultimate DIY Guide to Fixing Leaky Faucets

Tools for Mending a Leaky Faucet

  • Flathead screwdriver
  • WD-40 penetrating oil
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Replacement washers and O-rings

 A close up of a leaky faucet

5 Steps to Repairing a Leaky Faucet

Step 1: Switch the water supply off. This applies to both the handles over the sink and the knobs below it. These knobs control the water supply that comes from the main line.

Step 2: Next, if your faucet has any decorative components on the handles, you will need to remove those for the time being.

Underneath the knobs, you should be able to locate the screw that connects the handles directly to the stem. Once you find it, carefully unscrew them with the flat-head screwdriver.

💡 Pro-tip: For a more seamless process, apply a bit of penetrating oil to help loosen up the screw. Doing so should allow you to easily remove the faucet handle off the stem.

Step 3: Use your wrench to loosen the packing nut. From this point, the stem should become visible, and then take that one off too.

Depending on what kind of faucet you have, some stems tend to detach instantly, whereas others need to be twisted off from the valve. Once you have successfully removed all the said parts, make sure to inspect them for any damage.

Step 4: Now it’s time to inspect the O-ring and washer inside the valve seat. This is usually the culprit behind leaks. Unfasten the washer and replace a new one inside the seat.

It is very important to keep in mind that the replacement O-rings and washers should be a perfect fit. In case you’re unsure of the sizes, we suggest that you take the current O-ring to your local hardware store for further assistance.

Step 5: You are officially only one step away from successfully fixing your leaking sink. All you have to do now is cautiously reassemble all the necessary parts (in reverse order): start with the washer/O-ring, then the stem, packing nut, screw, and finally, the handles.

Lightly turn the knob to test the running water and to see if you have defeated that bothersome and costly leak.

A plumber fixing a leaky faucet

When All Else Fails, Call the Pros

If this five-step guide on how to fix a leaky faucet did not solve the problem, it’s time to call in the cavalry.

Usually, a stubborn leaky faucet could be an indication of corrosion in the seat valve, worn-out seals, or faulty plumbing. If not taken care of immediately, it could trigger leaks around the spout area.

For all your faucet installation and repair needs, 1st Rooter has you covered! Give us a call to get a quote today.

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