About the Post

Jerry Hardy

Author Information

I was a Building Contractor along with owning rental properties where I did most of the repairs myself. Its my pleasure to pass on to you some of the methods I had used in the past. Hopefully, this will save you the expense of hiring a professional to do the work.

Fixing Leaking Faucet





Fixing a leaking faucet is relatively easy if the following procedures are followed.

 Older Two Handle Faucets

Procedure as shown:    The parts in the older faucets that occasionally need to be replaced are the washer, seat and o-rings.  The stem very seldom needs replacement.

Shut off water valve

The water valve only on the side of the faucet your working on needs to be turned off when working on a leaking faucet.  However, make sure that you don’t turn on the tap on the opposite side while your working, unless you don’t mind getting wet.  You may find that as you turn the shutoff valve there may be some leakage around the stem which will stop when the valve is completely off.   Also, when the valve is opened completely after the repair, the dripping will usually stop.  If not, tighten  the hex packing nut just behind the handle on the stem until the leak stops.  It usually only takes a slight turn to stop the leak. If the leak continues, that indicates the valve stem needs a new seal or packing.

Remove faucet handle

The next step in fixing a leaking faucet is to open the faucet to relieve water pressure.  Then remove the cap on top of the faucet handle. Most of the time you can remove the cap just with your finger nail. If not, using a sharp knife blade inserted under the edge of the cap, pry it up. Now remove the screw which is under the cap. After the screw has been removed, take hold of the handle and pull up on it as you jiggle it back and forth.

Remove stem

Now with a pair of channel locks or crescent wrench, remove the retaining nut and lift out the valve stem as you rotate it counter-clockwise.

Replace the washer

In most cases, a leaking faucet is due to a worn faucet washer. The washer is located on the bottom of the stem. Using a screwdriver, remove the screw holding the washer and replace it with a new one.

Check the washer seat

Check the surface of the seat by placing your  finger in the opening and feel for any roughage. If the seat feels smooth and you do not have any leakage after replacing the washer, the seat will not have to be replaced.

Stopping leakage under handle

If you had leakage from under the faucet handle, the stem o-ring needs replacing.

Lubricate stem

Before re-installing the stem, lubricate it with plumbers grease. petroleum jelly or auto grease.  Take care not to get grease on the o-ring or washer.

Re-install stem

Insert the stem back into the faucet housing, rotating it clockwise until it bottoms on the washer seat, then back it off slightly so the washer will not hit the seat while securing the hex nut.

Turn water on at the valve

Check for leaks




Single Handle Faucet Repair

 .    Procedure as shown:   To repair a leaking faucet, you will first need necessary parts. You can either disassemble the faucet and take the parts to your local home improvement store or you can buy a faucet repair kit. You can also check the manufacturer’s directions or the manufacturer’s website for the exact parts for your faucet.

Turn off water

First, turn off the water at the valve on the water supply line. Then turn on the faucet to relieve any pressure. To prevent any parts from falling into the drain opening, place a rag or towel over the opening.

Remove handle

Remove the plastic cover off the handle. With a Phillips screwdriver, remove the screw fastening the handle. If your model has one, remove the escutcheon. On some models you may have to remove the spout.

Rotating Ball Valve

To repair a leaking faucet that has a rotating ball valve, disassemble by removing the cam, the washer and the ball. Carefully remove the seats and springs. If you took off the spout, replace the o-rings and add a little plumbers grease. Then replace the spout. Place the new seats on new springs and set them back in place. Replace the ball, washer and cam; reassemble the handle.


When fixing a leaking faucet having a cartridge, first remove the handle. Then remove the escutcheon.  Remove the retainer clip or nut. Pull out the cartridge body. If the cartridge is worn or damaged, just replace it. On some cartridges you can just replace the o-rings and add some plumbers grease. Reassemble the faucet.

Ceramic Disc

In fixing a leaking faucet that has a ceramic disc, start by unscrewing the retainer nut and puling it out. Use a screwdriver to lift out the seals. Before replacing the seals, clean any buildup on the cylinder near the openings. Put the new seals in place. Then reassemble the faucet. When you turn on the water supply, make sure the faucet is in the on position and turn on the water slowly. Too much initial pressure can damage the ceramic discs in the cylinder

 Newer Two Handle Faucet Repair


Procedure as shown:

First, turn off your water supply. Then turn on of the faucet to relieve any  pressure. Close or cover the drain. Place a towel in the drain to keep the parts in order and protect the sink. On some faucets, you can remove the handle or knob by prying off the cap, removing a screw, and pulling off the handle. Others can be removed by unscrewing a set screw.


To repair a leaking faucet having a cartridge, you will first have to remove the retaining clip or retaining nut. Then pull out the cartridge. If your cartridge is damaged or worn, just replace it with a new one. Then reassemble the faucet.

Compression and Reverse-Compression

To repair a compression or reverse-compression faucet, start by taking out the valve stem. On the bottom of the stem, remove the screw and washer and the old o-ring. Apply a little plumber’s grease on the stem and add the new o-ring. Then reassemble your faucet and test it for leaks. If it still leaks, that means you valve seat might be damaged. Remove it and replace it.

 Ceramic Disc

To repair a leaking faucet with a ceramic disc, start by unscrewing the mounting screws or retaining nut on the cylinder and pulling it out. Use a screwdriver to pry out the seals. Before replacing the seals, clean any buildup on the cylinder near the openings. Put the new seals in place, and then reassemble the faucet. When you turn on the water supply, make sure the faucet is in the on position and turn on the water slowly. Too much initial pressure can damage the ceramic discs in the cylinder.
If you have followed the above steps, you would have succeeded in fixing a leaking faucet.

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Fixing Leaking Faucet

15 Responses to “Fixing Leaking Faucet”


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