Handyman’s Guide: How to Fix a Leaky Kitchen Faucet in 7 Easy Steps

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Want to fix your leaky kitchen faucet? Here’s how you can do it in 7 easy steps.

No one likes to listen to the constant dripping sound from a leaky kitchen faucet which is why it is important to fix a leaky faucet when you first notice it. A lot of us often tend to delay this simple task either because we are too lazy or because we don’t have time to take care of it.

Whatever be the reason we need to remember that if we don’t take care of the leaky kitchen faucet soon and get it fixed then a lot of water will get wasted and your water bill will turn out to be more than what you expected and worst of all you’ll need to spend on a whole new kitchen faucet.

A dripping faucet is a real nuisance and if not fixed on time then it can turn into a big problem. It can not only keep you awake at night with its annoying dripping sound but the collected water in the sink could also lead to water clogging or could corrode the sink. Luckily, fixing a drippy faucet is quite simple and easy and one can do it themselves.

Want to fix your own leaky kitchen faucet? Then just follow the below instructions and you will be able to fix your drippy faucet in no time at all!

Tools Required:

Before you start fixing your leaky faucet, make sure you assemble all the tools together that you would need to fix the faucet.

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Flat-head Screwdriver
  • Penetrating oil (CRC)
  • Pliers
  • Plumber’s Grease
  • Replacement faucet parts

Step to Follow:

Just follow these steps to fix your leaky kitchen faucet and you will be able to repair the faucet in no time at all.

Step 1: Prepare your Kitchen Faucet

A lot of people make the mistake of removing the faucet parts without disconnecting the water supply first which often leads to a messy situation and a lot of water wastage. So make sure that you first shut off the water supply from under the sink and then run your kitchen faucet once to drain all the water from the pipes.

Once that is done you need to take a cloth and cover the sink drain so that you are able to collect all the faucet parts and don’t accidentally lose any faucet part in the drain. Once you are sure that water won’t be an issue anymore, then you can start removing the kitchen faucet parts.

Step 2: Determine your Faucet type

The first step in fixing a dripping faucet requires you to identify the faucet type because the process of repairing each faucet type is different. There are four types of faucets to look out for: compression faucet, cartridge faucet, ball faucet, and ceramic-disk faucet type.

A compression faucet will generally be easier to identify as it usually comes with two handles, one for managing hot water and one for managing cold water. The other three types of faucets have only one handle which comes with a swiveling arm and can be rotated from one hot water to cold water as required.

You might need to remove your faucet before you can determine which type of faucet is installed in your sink because they might look similar from the outside but their internal mechanisms are completely different. A ball faucet will include a ball bearing whereas a ceramic-disk faucet will come with a ceramic cylinder. Also, a cartridge faucet will include a cartridge and a decorative cap.

Step 3: Fixing a Compression Faucet

If you are finding an issue with your compression faucet then you need to first remove the decorative cap from the faucet handle and unscrew the faucet handle with the help of a wrench. With the help of the wrench, you will be able to unscrew the handle which is it in place and then pull off the handle from the sink.

After removing the handle, you will find a packing nut underneath which can be unscrewed with the help of a wrench. Once you unscrew it, you can see the stem which you will have to unscrew in order to remove it. You will find that the stem sits on the O-ring which is placed on top of a seat washer, this is what you probably need to replace.

The seat washer is usually made out of rubber and can often get worn after a while which could be the reason for your dripping faucet. Remove the brass screw which is keeping your seat washer in place and get the correct size seat washer for your faucet. Coat it with a layer of plumber’s grease before you start installing it.

If your O-ring has corroded or damaged somehow then you would need to replace it too but you need to know the correct size of your O-ring before you replace it. O-rings vary in sizes and often can be found a size range of 3/8 to 5/8 inches so make sure you get the correct size for your faucet and then put a little plumber’s grease on it.

Now, reassemble your faucet parts and tighten the nuts with the help of the wrench. If your faucet is still dripping then it might be because the seat is pitted. You will need to reassemble your faucet and remove the stem so that you can grind the valve seat smooth.

Step 4: Fixing a Cartridge Faucet

For fixing your ceramic cartridge faucet, you will need to first remove the decorative cap on your faucet handle and then unscrew your handle and remove it by tilting it slightly back.

Remove the retaining clip that is holding the cartridge in place with the help of needle-nose pliers. Once this circular threaded piece is removed you can easily pull out the cartridge in a straight position. Remove the faucet spout and then search for the O-rings.

Once you have found them, use a utility knife to cut it off and install new O-rings in place of it after you have covered it with plumber’s grease.

If you are planning to replace the entire cartridge then you would need to check the length and the match the stem end where the cartridge is attached. Once all the parts are replaced, you can reassemble the faucet parts and tighten them together with the help of a screw.

More About Faucets:

Step 5: Fixing a Ball Faucet

A ball faucet has many different parts which make it a little tricky to find the reason for the leak and fix it.

However, you can simply buy a replacement kit for your ball faucet which won’t cost a lot and will include all the parts and the tools that you would require to repair the leak. You don’t need to replace your entire faucet but getting the kit can make your job easier.

First, you will need to unscrew your faucet handle screw and then lit off your faucet handle from its place. You can also use the adjustable pliers to remove the faucet handle cap and collar. Now use your faucet-repair kit’s tool to loosen your faucet cam.

Remove the faucet cam, washer, and all the other faucet cam assembly parts. You will need to lift the cam washer and the rotating ball and then use needle-nose pliers for removing the springs and the inlet seals as well.

Next step would be to cut off the old O-rings which are probably the reason behind the leak and install the new O-rings after you cover them with plumber’s grease.

Make sure that you install new springs, cam washers, and valve seats when reassembling your faucet. You can also replace your entire faucet with the help of a basin wrench but this will be an expensive option.

Put all the nuts and screws back in their place and tighten them when you are reassembling the faucet.

Step 6: Fixing a Ceramic-Disk Faucet

To fix a leaky ceramic-disk faucet, you will first need to push the faucet handle back so that you can access the set screw and then remove the screw with the help of a wrench. Now pull of the handle and locate the escutcheon cap which sits directly beneath the handle and is made of metal.

Remove the escutcheon cap then unscrew disk cylinder mounting screw and pull out the cylinder. You will find neoprene seals under the cylinder which can be removed with the help of a blunt screwdriver.

If the seals are damaged then simply replace them else clean the cylinder by soaking it in a white vinegar solution by using distilled water. Make sure that you soak them for a few hours and then use a plastic scouring pad to clean and check if they can be reused or not. Rinse it thoroughly with clean water and then replace the seals before reassembling the faucet.

Make sure that you turn the handle on very slowly because if the force of the water is too strong then it can damage the ceramic disk. If you are planning to replace the entire cylinder then you simply need to set it in place and then secure it with the help of mounting screws.

Step 7: Test the Kitchen Faucet

Once your kitchen faucet parts are replaced and everything is assembled back, you need to check if the faucet is still dripping or not. So, turn on the water supply and slowly turn on the faucet handle. If there is no leak then congratulations, you have successfully fixed your own leaky kitchen faucet.

However, if there is still leakage then make sure all the connections are tight and if the problem persists, then call a plumber to look at your faucet.

And if you still have any questions, this video below should clear out all doubts.


Tips for Fixing your Kitchen Leaky Faucet

  • There are several new faucet designs on the market but don’t get confused by the outer design. All of the faucets will resemble one of the four faucet types from the inside and you just need to determine which one
  • If you notice some limescale build-up inside your faucet parts then clean those with a white vinegar solution before you reassemble them.
  • Make sure you first check the faucet type and then buy a replacement part for your faucet else you might end up buying the wrong faucet part.
  • Always check the faucet part size before you select one for your leaky faucet.
  • Never unhook a faucet without shutting off the water from the main pipe first else you would end up with a messy and wet surrounding.
  • If the issue still doesn’t get fixed after replacing the faulty or damaged faucet part then call a plumber to look into your faucet.