Detect and Fix Faucet Leaks

Detect and Fix Faucet Leaks
Faucet Leaks
DETECT & FIX LEAKS
Detect and Fix Faucet Leaks
HOW TO DETECT A FAUCET LEAK:
A leaky faucet is a common household water waster. A steady drip at the rate of one
drop per second wastes 192 gallons of water in a month! The first step in fixing a leaky faucet
is to identify the faucet type. Faucets are divided into two basic types: compression faucets
and washerless faucets.
Compression faucets, sometimes called stem faucets, always have two handles, one for
hot water and one for cold water. When the handle is turned on, the stem rotates. The
threads cause the stem to rise, moving a rubber washer away from the faucet seat and allowing
water to flow. Then turning the faucet off, you can sometimes feel the rubber washer being
squeezed against the faucet seat to stop the flow of water.
Washerless faucets typically have just one handle that controls both the hot and the cold
water. They are known for providing years of trouble-free service because their design
minimizes friction and wear. There are three main types of washerless faucets:
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A ball faucet has a single handle over a dome-shaped cap.
A cartridge faucet has a narrow plastic or metal cartridge inside the faucet body. Most
cartridge faucets are single-handle model, but some two-handled faucets use cartridge
designs.
A disk faucet has a single handle and a wide cylinder inside the faucet body.
Helpful Tips:
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Turn off the water before you start any faucet repair. The shutoff valves for indoor
faucets are underneath the sink. Turn the left knob clockwise to shut off the hot water;
turn the right knob clockwise to shut off the cold water.
Before disassembling a faucet, cover the sink with a towel to protect it from dropped
tools and to prevent small parts from going down the drain.
When dismantling parts, line them up in the order and orientation in which they were
removed to make it easier to properly reassemble the pieces.
When using metal tools on a polished surface, protect the polished surface with a rag or
several layers of masking tape.
Take the old parts with you when you go to a plumbing or hardware store to buy
replacement parts. This will help ensure that you get the right parts for the job.
Most faucet repair kits come with good instructions. Follow them!
Revised September 2015
City of Rio Rancho ● 3200 Civic Center Circle NE ● Suite 200 ● Rio Rancho, NM 87144
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HOW TO FIX A FAUCET LEAK:
Fixing a Compression Faucet:
To fix a leaking compression faucet, first determine whether it is a hot water leak or a cold
water leak. If you cannot tell from the temperature of the dripping water, turn off the hot
water supply valve under the sink. If the drip stops, it is the hot water stem that is leaking. If
the drip continues, the culprit is the cold water faucet.
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Remove the handle screw. (It may be hidden under a decorative cap or behind the
handle). Remove the handle.
Unscrew the retaining (packing) nut.
Remove the stem by either jiggling it from the valve seat of unscrewing it
counterclockwise with a wrench.
To replace the washer on a standard stem, remove the seat screw at the bottom of the
stem and pry out the old washer with a screwdriver. Install a new washer.
For some compression faucets, you will also need to replace the packing washer or
packing string, which prevents water from leaking at the faucet handle.
Check the valve seat (the metal that the washer seals on) for damage by running your
finger along the rim of the sear. If is it pitted and not completely smooth, remove the
valve seat using a seat wrench and install a new valve sear.
Reassemble the parts.
Fixing a Ball Faucet:
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With an Allen wrench, loosen the setscrew at the base of the handle. Remove the
handle.
Underneath the handle you’ll find a protective cap with an adjusting ring. Sometimes a
dripping ball faucet can be fixed by tightening this ring. Turn it clockwise gently.
If tightening the ring doesn’t stop the leak, close both shutoff valves beneath the sink.
Unscrew and lift off the cap, plastic cam, cam gasket, and rotating ball.
Rubber faucet seats are held against the bottom of the ball by small springs. Using the
point of the screwdriver or a pair of needle-nose pliers, gently remove the two seats and
springs. Remove any loose debris.
Install new seats and springs from a repair kit. (Follow the instructions provided in the
repair kit). Also, lift the spout and replace the two O-rings. (Apply a light coating of
petroleum jelly or valve grease to the new O-rings before installing them).
Reassemble the faucet and tighten the adjusting ring enough to prevent leaks without
making the handle difficult to operate.
Revised September 2015
City of Rio Rancho ● 3200 Civic Center Circle NE ● Suite 200 ● Rio Rancho, NM 87144
Page 2
Fixing a Cartridge Faucet:
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Shut off both water supply valves underneath the sink.
Remove the decorative cap (if any) and remove the handle screw. Remove the handle.
Unscrew the retainer nut.
Some models have a U-shaped clip that holds in the cartridge. Use needle-nose pliers
or the tip of a screwdriver to remove the clip.
The cartridge fits tightly in the faucet body. Remove the cartridge by pulling up on it
firmly with a pair of pliers.
Replaced damaged O-rings and lubricate the new ones with petroleum jelly or valve
grease. If the cartridge is worn or damaged, replace it with an identical part. (Cartridge
repair kits typically contain a new cartridge, new O-rings and grease).
Install the new cartridge, making sure that the notch in the stem faces the sink.
Reattach the U-clip, retainer nut, handle, and handle screw and decorative cap.
Fixing a disk Faucet:
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Shut off both water supply valves underneath the sink.
Remove the setscrew from the handle. Lift off the handle and remove the body cover
(escutcheon cap).
Remove the disk assembly as a unit by unscrewing the mounting screws. Pull the disk
out.
Turn the disk over and remove any dirt lodged between the ceramic disks.
Remove the rubber seals from the cylinder openings. Clean the cylinder openings and
flush out an.
Remove the disk assembly as a unit by unscrewing the mounting screws. Pull the disk
out.
Turn the disk over and remove any dirt lodged between the ceramic disks.
Remove the rubber seals from the cylinder openings. Clean the cylinder openings and
flush out any debris.
Install new rubber seals and reassemble the faucet.
If the faucet still leaks, replace the entire disk assembly with a new one.
If your faucet still leaks call a professional plumber.
Revised September 2015
City of Rio Rancho ● 3200 Civic Center Circle NE ● Suite 200 ● Rio Rancho, NM 87144
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