How To Fix a Leaky Faucet

Leaky Faucet

Is one of the faucets in your home leaking? Is the dripping noise driving you crazy? There’s perhaps no sound more annoying than a leaky faucet. 

However, not only is a leaky faucet annoying, but it’s also costly. Water dripping all day long will cause a spike in your utility bills. Plus, a leaky faucet may be an indicator of a larger problem with your plumbing. 

How do you fix a leaky faucet?

Check out this guide to learn everything you need to know about fixing a leaky faucet. 

Understand Why Faucets Leak

To fix your leaky faucet, you first need to understand why it’s leaking. All faucets come with an inner stem or cartridge that helps control the flow of the water. The stem or cartridge comes with neoprene or rubber stoppers seals that open and close against the inlet ports inside the body of the faucet. 

When the seals don’t fit properly, it causes a bit of water to go up to the faucet spout, which in turn causes the faucet to drip continuously. Here are some reasons why your faucet may be leaking:

Corroded Parts: Corroded parts within the body of the faucet can cause the water inlet ports to deform to a point where the washers can no longer seal properly and stop the flow of water. If this happens, the best solution is to replace the entire faucet. 

Mineral Buildup: Mineral/scale buildup can also cause a faucet to leak. The mineral buildup can interfere with the faucet’s ability to seal the water inlets. In some cases, you can clean the scale away and restore the faucet to its original state. 

Worn O-Rings: If your faucet is leaking at the base of the spout, it’s typically due to worn O-rings. This can happen in both traditional compression faucets and cartridge faucets. 

Gather the Right Tools

To fix a leaky faucet, you need to start by gathering the right tools. The materials you need to fix a leaky faucet include:

  • Channel-lock pliers
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Allen wrench
  • Phillip’s head screwdriver
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Scouring pad
  • White vinegar
  • Spray penetrating oil
  • Replacement faucet cartridge

Once you have all of these supplies, you can begin working on your faucet. 

Steps to Fix a Leaky Faucet

Here are the steps you need to take to fix a leaky faucet:

Shut the Water Off 

If you don’t shut off your water line before fixing your faucet, there’s a chance that water will flood everywhere when you start to disassemble the parts. Typically, the shutoff valves are below the sink. All you need to do is twist the handles clockwise to shut off the water flow. 

If your faucet doesn’t have any shutoff valves, turn off the main water supply for your home. Before you begin working on your faucet, turn it on to ensure the water is completely shut off. 

Take Off the Faucet Handles 

The next step is to remove the faucet handles with a flathead screwdriver. Begin by removing the decorative caps on the top of the handle. This will reveal the handle screws, which you can remove by unscrewing and then pulling the handles. 

Some single-handle faucets come with a hex screw that’s set into the handle. To remove the handles, loosen the screw and allow the handle to come right off. If you find that the screws or handles are difficult to remove due to corrosion, use oil to lubricate them. 

When disassembling the handles, make note of where everything goes for easy reassembly. 

Remove the Cartridge or Valve Stem 

After you remove the faucet handles, the next step is to remove the cartridge or valve stem from the body of the faucet. How you remove this part will depend on the type of faucet you own. 

For example, a lot of compression faucets come with a base valve stem that can be unscrewed from the valve body. A cartridge faucet, on the other hand, can be pulled straight out from the body of the faucet. Refer to your faucet manual to figure out how to remove this part. 

Inspect and Replace 

Now that you’ve disassembled your faucet, it’s time to inspect the parts to figure out which ones need to be replaced. It’s usually best to replace all of the removable parts so you can perform a complete faucet tune-up. 

If you don’t want to spend the money on all-new faucet parts, look for pieces that show corrosion or damage and replace those. The best way to get replacement parts is to take your old parts to the hardware store and ask for duplicates. 

Clean the Valves and Reassemble 

Before putting your faucet back together, take some time to clean the valves, as build-up on the valves can cause your faucet to leak, Pour white vinegar over the valves and allow them to soak for several minutes. 

Then, clean the surfaces with a nylon scrub pad. You want to restore the brass to a shiny, smooth texture. To rinse away any dirt or debris, take the stopper out of the drain and pour water over the valves. 

After you’ve done all of this, you can reassemble your faucet. Turn the water supply back on and check the faucet again for any leaks. If your faucet is still leaking after this, contact a plumber from  

Are You Ready to Fix Your Leaky Faucet? 

Now that you’ve read this guide, it’s time for you to fix your leaky faucet. While the steps above should do the trick, you may need to call a plumber if you can’t seem to fix your leaky faucet on your home. 

And, be sure to check back in with our blog for more home DIY tips