How to Fix a Leaky Faucet in 7 Easy Steps by Step Guide

These days, everyone seems to follow the DIY trends on how to make the “perfect home.” From how to organize your pantry to hand-building your own custom bed-frame. There are many step-by-step guides out there to make it easy for even beginners; however, when it comes to home-related inconveniences, such as how to unclog your own sink or how to install your washing machine or how to fix a leaky faucet.

Many people tend to forget the little things about their house’s maintenance. One of the most home-related inconveniences is fixing that leaky faucet.

Whether you're saving money from calling a plumber to do your dirty work, or hearing the same dripping noise every night is annoying, it may seem difficult to learn how to fix your leak. In addition, it can be quite expensive to have a plumber.

If you think fixing that leak by yourself is tough, think again! Drop your wrench and hold on to your pliers, here are a couple of ways to solve your leaky problems through this guide.

Tools You Need Fix a Leaky Faucet

First things first, you need to find out what are the best tools to use for your faucet. Here are some tools that you can buy at an affordable price:

  • Washer and seal
  • Faucet
  • O-ring
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Plumber grease

Here are some additional items that can help supplement fixing a leaky faucet:

  • Tape measurement
  • White vinegar
  • Drain plug
  • Rag
  • Basin wrench
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Reasons Why Your Faucet May Be Leaking

When taking things into your own hands and fixing your leaky faucet, you first need to identify the problem. There are various reasons why your faucet is leaking and these are some of the most common causes.

Wrong Size

People make mistakes when they learn how to do something new. It’s normal, I get it, but along-the-way, when getting your faucet installed, you might have got the wrong size of washer or cartilage, etc. Make sure you understand the proportions you need before going to Home-Depot and buying the wrong washer size.

Worn Out Parts

You’ve been using your faucet for a while and it may have worn out parts. The parts that usually wear out first are the washers, seals, or o-rings and they may be going bad due to being under constant friction for a long period of time. In this case, it’s good to have spare parts around so that you can replace them.

Corrosion

Probably the main reason to why your faucet is leaking. Corrosion is when some minerals, such as stones, metal and etc. starts to build up in your faucet. This can cause it to rust out all the important materials like your washers/seals, water inlet ports, or faucet stem. As a result, it will cause your faucet to not work properly, so get that check!

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Before You Start Fix Leaky Faucet 

Understand your faucet’s components

A faucet has many different components: ball, cartridge, disk, compression washer, etc. Each part plays a different role, so it may help to understand each parts’ roles.

Know Your Sizes

In addition to knowing the different components of a faucet, it’s also good to know what the sizes are for components like the o-ring and cartridge so you know exactly which spare parts you need at the hardware store.

It would also be helpful to have a set of wrenches, pliers, and screwdrivers in different sizes so you have tools ready for any situation.

Keep Your Water Supply Shut

A leaky faucet will constantly waste water, so turn off your water supply when you’re not using the sink. The valve is usually located under your sink. If somehow, you cannot find the knob, you may have a penny valve (flat screw look). 

In that case, use your flat screwdriver to shut down the water supply. If there is no handle to be seen at all, another option is to find your house’s water supply and shut it down. From there, all of your water should be temporarily off.

How to Fix a Leaky Faucet

Step 1: Identify Where the Leak is

The best way to identify where the leak is coming from is by shutting one valve at a time. While you do that, look around your pipes where the leak is routing at. Once you know where, turn off the water supply completely.

Step 2: Lay a Rag to Catch Leaks

This is a step that most people tend to forget. When you’re fixing your sink, there will be some parts that leak and get messy. It’s convenient to have a rag placed underneath the sink to catch any water drops or small parts that may fall.

Step 3: Remove the Handle

Once you’ve laid the foundation, start the process by unscrewing your handles. Now, the best way to unscrew your handle(s) would be a flat-screwdriver. These faucets come in all shapes and sizes and having a wrench/screwdriver set with different sizes can be convenient.

Step 4: Remove the Inner Components

Once you remove the top of the handle, use a screwdriver to take out the screws in the cap. Then you can use a plier to remove the nut and take out the handle. Once you can see the inside, take out the cartridge/stem by using a wrench or pliers.

Step 5: Replace Worn Out Parts

Observe the interior part of the valve and see if there's anything damaged or unusual. A couple of things to look at are the o-ring and the cartridge. If any of these parts are damaged, replace them with spare parts. Make sure that you have the right size before installing it into your faucet.

Step 6: Apply Grease for Longevity

After replacing the worn out parts, apply some grease to the o-ring before fitting it back into the faucet. This helps it last longer and prevent any leaks in the future.

Step 7: Put Everything Back Together and Test

Once the leak has been fixed, screw the components back into the faucet and test the water flow. Check to see if there's any unnecessary leaks again. If not, congratulations, you just fixed your own faucet!

Conclusion

Congratulations! You now know how to fix a leaky faucet on your own! Fixing your own faucet can be tough, and even if you were unable to successfully fix it, at least you came out of this experience with a better understanding of your faucet. It can be a very cost-effective alternative and we always recommend trying it out before calling a professional plumber.

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