Do It Yourself: How To Fix Or Repair A Leaky Faucet

Instead of calling a plumber when your faucet starts leaking, read on to learn a few steps to help you fix it yourself.

A leaking faucet can drive anyone crazy with the sound of its continual drip. Many people don't realize a little leak can run up the monthly water bill. But with a few minutes of effort, you can stop the leak, control your water bill, and preserve your sanity.

There are several different kinds of faucets, with the one discussed here being disc faucets. Here is how to stop them from leaking. The first thing to do is shut off the water. Some sinks have shut-off valves right under the sink below the trap. If not, you will have to shut off the main valve down in the basement. If you're not sure how to do this, contact the pipe department of a home supply dealership.

Next, make sure you cover the sink drain with a cloth or paper towel so you don't lose any small parts. You will need the Allen wrench set, both a flathead and Phillips screwdrivers, slip joint pliers, a plastic baggie, a scouring pad, white vinegar, and some masking tape. Take your Allen wrench and find the setscrew on the handle. Turn it clockwise until it is loose. Tape the head of your slip joint pliers so you don't scratch the finish. Put your pliers on the escutcheon cap or dome housing, turning it counter-clock wise until loose, and remove the cap. Use the Phillip screwdriver to remove three screws located in the disc assembly, and pull out the assembly, making sure you note the position it came out.



Now remove the three rubber seals on the bottom of the cylinder by using the flat head screwdriver. Look and see if the seals are worn; if not, use a non-metallic scouring pad or small brush to clean them. Then soak the cylinder in vinegar to eliminate deposit build up in the inlet holes that house the seals. But if the seals are worn, put them and the cylinder in a bag and take them to the hardware store to be replaced.

To install the new seals into the inlet holes, take the disc assembly and put in the faucet body, aligning the holes on the bottom of the disc assembly with the holes in the faucet body. Use your Philip head screwdriver to tighten the three screws. Next, replace the escutcheon cap and handle, and fasten the setscrews into the handle with your Allen wrench set. After you have everything back together, turn your handle to the "on" position before turning your water back on. Because a surge of air can crack the ceramic discs, turn your water on slowly.

If it still leaks, you will have to replace the disc assembly. Take the old one to the hardware; the new one will come with its own seals. Sometimes it is quicker to go ahead and buy a new disc first instead of trying to replace the seals. It might cost you a few more dollars, but you could end up saving a lot more of your free time. Find out first which type of faucet you have before dismantling the unit for repair or replacement.

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