Simple DIY Faucet Repair
During the life of our home, we will learn to adjust to frequent, do-it-yourself repairs. From tile or carpet replacement to putting a new coat of paint throughout the house, you do not always need a professional – just a bit of knowledge and elbow grease. One of the most annoying home inconveniences is the dripping faucet. Not only is the sound irritating through the night, but it can also cause your water bill to skyrocket if left alone. Luckily, there is an easy fix for a dripping faucet – and you can do it yourself.
Basics of Faucet Repair
Before you get your tools together and dive into DIY faucet repair, you need to determine where the water is coming from. If you find a leak at the base of the spout, it becomes more than a simple leaky faucet repair than if the drip is coming from the end of the spout. Make sure to turn off the water supply to the dripping faucet, and the shutoff is typically found under the sink. If you have trouble finding it, a safe bet is to turn off your home’s main water valve. Once the water is turned off, open the faucet in the center position to relieve water pressure. You may have to consult your sink’s manual to remove it properly. Lastly, cover the sink drain holes with strainer baskets to avoid losing small parts.
For an easy faucet repair, you will only need a few tools lined up for the job. Gather a four-in-one screwdriver, Allen wrench, pliers, and slip joint pliers. Choose a faucet repair kit and o-ring seals if you need them. Minor plumbing leaks do not require a big tool chest. There are different types of faucets available, and you should learn how to fix plumbing leaks per the type of faucet you have.
Rotary Ball Faucets
Water flow and temperature for rotary ball faucets are controlled by a hollow ball that rotates in a socket, and a stainless steel ball (like the plastic or brass ball in your faucet) is often found in a faucet repair kid. Lift the handle and pry off the decorative cover to expose the Allen screw; turn it counterclockwise, and you can remove the cap with slip-joint pliers. Remove the rotary ball and replace if it is scratched, worn, or damaged. Lastly, lift the rubber seats and springs with a screwdriver, and install the new pieces.
Cartridge Style Faucets
To repair a leak in a cartridge-style faucet, pray off the handle cap with a knife – be sure to do it gently. Turn the Allen screw counterclockwise to remove and lift off the handle and remove the metal handle adapter, then lift off the plastic pivot stop. Remove the retainer nut by turning it counterclockwise with large slip-joint pliers before pry out the brass retainer clip with the screwdriver. Grab it with pliers and pull it the rest of the way out. Loosen the cartridge by slipping the plastic spanner cap. A new cartridge will come with the new faucet kit. Pull the cartridge stem out with pliers and replace any worn parts.
Ceramic Disc Faucets
With ceramic disc faucets, the discs inside the water flow. The type of valve in this faucet is sturdy and rarely leaks or needs a fix. Check with the manufacturer of your faucet because this piece may be under warranty. To replace it, pry off the decorative screw cover (easily done with your fingernail or a knife tip) and unscrew the handle screw by turning it counterclockwise. Remove the disc cartridge screws and lift out the cartridge; thoroughly inspect it for mineral buildup and clean carefully. Replace the rubber seals on the underside. Lastly, lift out the plastic disc (if yours has one) and replace the o-rings. Inspect and clean the holes in the faucet if necessary.
Wrapping It Up
As you are taking these parts apart, make sure you pay attention to the order in which they are replaced so you can put things back together properly after you’ve fixed the leak. When the parts are removed, inspect the interior of the value for deteriorated gaskets or mineral deposits; they can be cleaned superficially with an abrasive cloth pad soaked in vinegar. Use your screwdriver to help repair plumbing leaks by cleaning out any plugged holes. Before reassembling, hold a rag over a dripping faucet to flush out loosened debris. If your faucet or sink have any damaged parts due to a leak, take the old parts to a hardware store to get proper replacements.